The Omnibus of Psyonimus Brox, presented by Mason Jameson
with a foreword by Septembere Renoir
The reason for this review is to shed light on the remarkable story of eight literary works considered fiction for over one hundred years, and how after their recent acceptance as non-fiction, the late author’s great-great-great grandson has released eight more previously unknown stories, throwing the first eight, and treasure hunters’ interpretations of them, into an altogether different light. All now-sixteen Brox tales are believed to have been written consecutively as the author traversed the globe centuries ago, a fantastic (but true) 19th Century travelogue.
With new stories come new destinations, new ports of call. Gaps in the first batch’s narrative can be filled in, timelines established. Artifacts and maps previously mentioned might prove useless without items found in the new batch, like keys to clues not even known to be missing.
Septembere Renoir’s foreword speaks to the accumulated evidence that shows Brox really did exist and wasn’t just a character in some old tall tales. Brox’s proof of life, including letters, sketches of unusual devices and what could be maps drawn in the adventurer’s own hand have been collected by Renoir over the years, so his endorsement of this omnibus is appreciated.
Without question Psyonimus Brox was a real person. While for many years his fantastic tales of globetrotting perils and exotic locales filled with ancient tombs and bizarre mysteries were quite popular, over time his name has been largely forgotten except by a few eccentrics and archeology scholars. Students and experts alike in the fields of Egyptology, geography and obscure literature knew of his tales and the possible clues they offered about assorted dusty riddles but by the twentieth century the line between author and hero, between autobiographer and main character began to be blurred in the eyes of the public. Most people associated his tales with the legendary places and objects and not so much with the man who supposedly lived (and wrote) them. Brox became part of his own mystique, swallowed by his own mythos.
Mason Jameson, historical scholar and a fellow with the Oxbridge Institute in Whales led a consortium to purchase the publication rights to all eight of the most famous of Brox’s tales, those thought to have been written between roughly 1888-1894, never before presented in a single volume. While original 19th Century copies contained maps unique to their specific printings, Jameson could only include those illustrations which were known to exist, and only those whose owners allowed their reproduction. The popularity of those eight tales no doubt due to allusions Brox made to a “great horde” and literal “mountains of gold,” but, like so much surrounding this trove, no precise location, time or even clear starting points are given. Did Brox witness this horde or accumulate it himself?
Then a curious thing happened. Not long after the omnibus and the newer stories were published earlier this year, both the literary and archeology circles began buzzing about apparent similarities between some of the artifacts described in Brox’s tales and real objects discovered after Brox wrote of them. Objects residing in museums and, more tantalizingly, in private collections; objects that are being stolen.
Some antiquity shops are also reporting thefts of various items like early batteries, lanterns, and looking glasses, items that, until recently, seemed unrelated to the omnibus of stories. That these pilfered items are all from the time period of Brox’s stories leads one to suspect they may be integral to either reading existing maps in a new way or perhaps creating new ones.
The following is a list of all 16 known Psyonimus Brox stories accepted as relating to his so called treasure, with the newer additions last:
Incident on Mountain Road
The Case of the Seasick Priest
Miss Linda and the Mummy’s Head
River of Darkness
The One-Eyed Monkey
Draught of Shadows
Mystery At Sunset Cave
The Glass King’s Curse
Mr. Hook’s Hidden Hand
Pretty Girl In Peril
Moon Over Pirate Island
The House of Hidden Doors
League of Devils
Ghost of the Snow Leopard
The Professor and the Locked Room
It will be interesting to see, as the reports of antiquity thefts mount around the world, if in the coming years any evidence of the fabled horde’s existence comes to light, or will its contents and location remain undisclosed even if it is found? Perhaps there are another set of clues waiting to be discovered that will bring the tantalizing treasure further out of the shadows.