The Claw of Craving (Lost Carcosa #1), by Joseph Sale

18 Aug 2023

The Book

The Claw of Craving
Series: Lost Carcosa
Pages: 150
Age Group: Adult
Published on 18 Jun 2023
Publisher: Blood Bound Books
HorrorDark Fantasy
Available on:


What is Carcosa? For Alan Chambers, a jobless loner, it’s the answer to his problems. Or so he thinks… Rejected by family and friends, and soon-to-be homeless, Alan makes his last desperate bid to discover the truth of this miserable reality by journeying to an occult brothel where it’s said the worthy might obtain passage to this fabled land of Carcosa. Proving one’s worth is more dangerous than Alan could have imagined. Prepare for an erotic and horrifying journey into the universe of the Yellow King…
The Claw of Craving is the first in the Books of Lost Carcosa series, an epic fantasy-horror that reimagines the astonishing mythos of Robert W. Chambers. Combining Clive Barker’s eroticism and fantasy with Stephen King’s pulse-pounding narrative, The Claw of Craving will please fans of Imajica, Weaveworld, The Dark Tower, H. P. Lovecraft, Eric LaRocca, and Alistair Rennie.

My Review

The Claw of Craving is the first book in the Lost Carcosa series, a dark fantasy horror proposal by Joseph Sale, reimagining the land of Carcosa as it was used in the Robert W. Chambers story The King in Yellow; published by Blood Bound Books. A highly imaginative and evocative novel, which blends horror and fantasy.

For Alan Chambers, Carcosa is the answer; he has given up everything. His life is broken, just in an attempt to gain access to the mythical world, and his last bid is an occult brothel; but passing to Carcosa is extremely dangerous, a ritual which combines eroticism and horror in equal parts.
Getting the yellow mark is only the start of an adventure that will send Alan in the search of a mythical object, the Claw of Craving, in the company of some memorable characters, such as Petruccio and Cali; a perfect excuse that Sale uses to explore and show Carcosa, a mythical land that defies the limits of the human mind.

Despite being a short piece, Sale manages to fit an insane amount of worldbuilding, which mixes part of horror elements with more fantastic ones; without losing the focus on Chambers and his companions: and especially Cali takes the spotlight many times, in her paper as the daughter of the Yellow King.

I found quite interesting the tone change once the book reaches Carcosa, reaching the dark fantasy status over horror; from contemporary fiction to the fantasy. While Chambers remain the focus of the storyline, he's just a drop on the big pond of this dimension; his past will be useful during the adventure.

The Claw of Craving is a little taste (I expect) of a bigger universe, a place where Clive Barker and Robert Chamber fans will be delighted. With the ending, I cannot wait to know more about the Yellow King, and in general, to see what more Sale has ready for Carcosa.

The Author/s

Joseph Sale

Joseph Sale

Joseph Sale writes dark fantasy and epic poetry. His first novel, The Darkest Touch, was published by Dark Hall Press in 2014. He currently writes and is published with The Writing Collective. He has authored more than ten novels, including his epic series The Book of Thrice Dead and his dark fantasy trilogy The Illuminad He grew up in the Lovecraftian seaside town of Bournemouth.

He edits non-fiction and fiction, helping fledgling authors to realise their potential. He has edited some of the best new voices in speculative fiction including Ross Jeffery, Emily Harrison, Christa Wojciechowski, and more. His short fiction has appeared in Tales from the Shadow Booth, edited by Dan Coxon, as well as in Idle Ink, Silver Blade, Fiction Vortex, Nonbinary Review, Edgar Allan Poet and Storgy Magazine. His stories have also appeared in anthologies such as Lost Voices (The Writing Collective), Technological Horror (Dark Hall Press), Burnt Fur (Blood Bound Books) and Exit Earth (Storgy). In 2017 he was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ prize.

He is obsessed with Attack on Titan and Community.