Abraham Merritt (1884–1943), who published under the byline A. Merritt, was an American editor and author of works of fantastic fiction.
His reputation has not stood well over the years among speculative fiction fans and critics (with the singular exception of The Ship of Ishtar, a universally hailed classic of the fantasy genre). At one time he was a major influence on H. P. Lovecraft, and highly esteemed by his friend and frequent collaborator Hannes Bok, a noted SF illustrator.
His novels Burn, Witch, Burn! and Seven Footprints to Satan have been adapted into movies.
His fiction was only a sideline to his journalism career, which might explain his relatively low output. One of the best-paid journalists of his era, Merritt made $25,000 per year by 1919, and at the end of his life was earning $100,000 yearly—exceptional sums for the period. His financial success allowed him to pursue world travel—he invested in real estate in Jamaica, Ecuador—and exotic hobbies, like cultivating orchids and plants linked to witchcraft, and magic.
From Archive.Org, LibriVox.Org, Huffduffer:
Fantasy and horror in the South Seas! This 1919 classic has influenced many writers and filmmakers, including the creators of the tv show Lost and the roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons. It originally appeared as 2 short stories in Argosy: "The Moon Pool" (1918) and its sequel, "Conquest of the Moon Pool" (1919). They were later reworked in the novel in 1919.
Dr. Goodwin would later appear in Merrit's The Metal Monster.
Although Merritt did not invent the lost world novel, following in the footsteps of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, E R Burroughs and others, he greatly elaborated upon that tradition.
Dr. Goodwin is on a botanical expedition in the Himalayas. There he meets Dick Drake, the son of one of his old science acquaintances. They are witnesses of a strange aurora-like effect, but seemingly a deliberate one. As they go out to investigate, they meet Goodwin’s old friends Martin and Ruth Ventnor, brother and sister scientists. The two are besieged by Persians as Darius III led when Alexander of Macedon conquered them more than two thousand years ago.
A classic of fantasy that transports the reader across worlds to mystery and romance beyond compare. John Kenton receives a ship, carved from a weird gem, unearthed in the ruins of ancient Babylon. Soon the ship has transported him to a mystic realm created by the Gods for a special vengeance.
The tale begins in the wilds of the Andean Mountains, where hero Nicholas Graydon is searching for the lost ransom of the Incan king Atahualpa.
Two men in one body! That's how Lief Langdon had always felt. One part of him was a modern day adventurer, the other was a strange half-memory of another life where he was a High Priest sacrificing living people to Khalk'ru, a demon god from another time and space.
"Footprints to Satan" takes place, for the most part, in New York City and its suburbs, and tells an almost realistic tale of kidnapping and crime in direct, almost blunt prose. "Footprints" first appeared in "Argosy" magazine in 1927, and in book form the following year
Mafia Versus Witchcraft! "With such consummate skill," wrote the New York Times, "has Mr. Merritt told his story in Burn Witch Burn that one is almost ready to believe that such things can be, even in this twentieth century of ours."
8. The Pool of the Stone God - A group of five men escape a sinking ship on a lifeboat that shores on a strange island. They find a perfect square of open space, free of trees. In its center is a large stone pool and some old stone huts. The pool has a statue of a man with his arms outstretched that stands at least twenty feet tall beside it. The statue has a cruel look to it and carved bat-like wings wrapped about it. Touching the wings fills the men with nausea. When they camp that night, they soon discover they would have been better off taking their chances with the open sea..
9. Moon Pool - Dr. David Throckmartin’s scientific expedition to the South Sea Islands discovers among ancient ruins a portal into Muria, an unknown underground world. After the disappearance of Throckmartin, his wife and two companions, his old friend Dr. Walter Goodwin enters Muria with a rescue party, only to confront an fantastic world filled with incredible beings, astounding scientific advances, and the worship of the most evil of all creatures, The Dweller. [from Librivox.Org]
10. The People of the Pit (15th story from Ghost Collection # 10)