The Face in the Abyss

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The Face in the Abyss
Face in the abyss.jpg
Dust-jacket from the first edition
AuthorA. Merritt
CountryUnited States
Series"The Face in the Abyss"
September 8, 1923
"The Snake Mother"
Weekly: October 25-December 6, 1930
PublisherArgosy All-Story Weekly
Horace Liveright
Publication date
Media typePrint (Serial, Hardback, and Paperback)

The Face in the Abyss is a fantasy novel by American writer A. Merritt. It is composed of a novelette with the same title and its sequel, "The Snake Mother". It was first published in its complete form in 1931 by Horace Liveright. The novelette "The Face in the Abyss" originally appeared in the magazine Argosy All-Story Weekly in the September 8, 1923 issue. "The Snake Mother" was originally serialized in seven parts in Argosy beginning with the October 25, 1930 issue.

Plot introduction[edit]

The novel concerns American mining engineer Nicholas Graydon. While searching for lost Inca treasure in South America, he encounters Suarra, handmaiden to the Snake Mother of Yu-Atlanchi. She leads Graydon to an abyss where Nimir, the Lord of Evil is imprisoned in a face of gold. While Graydon's companions are transformed by the face into globules of gold on account of their greed, he is saved by Suarra and the Snake Mother whom he joins in their struggle against Nimir.


Peter Levi has noted parallels between The Face in the Abyss and a story H.P. Lovecraft created as a ghostwriter, "The Mound."[1]


  1. ^ Levi, Peter (2007) "They Have Conquered Dream": A. Merritt’s "The Face in the Abyss" and H. P. Lovecraft’s "The Mound", in Joshi, S. T. (ed.) Lovecraft Annual No. 1, Hippocampus Press


  • Chalker, Jack L.; Mark Owings (1998). The Science-Fantasy Publishers: A Bibliographic History, 1923-1998. Westminster, MD and Baltimore: Mirage Press, Ltd. p. 334.
  • Crawford, Jr., Joseph H.; James J. Donahue; Donald M. Grant (1953). 333: A Bibliography of the Science-Fantasy Novel. Providence, RI: The Grandon Company. p. 45. OCLC 3924496.
  • Tuck, Donald H. (1978). The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy. Chicago: Advent. p. 309. ISBN 0-911682-22-8.

External links[edit]