The Demonologist: A Novel
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
**WINNER OF THE 2014 THRILLER AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL**
Fans of The Historian won’t be able to put down this spellbinding literary horror story in which a Columbia professor must use his knowledge of demonic mythology to rescue his daughter from the Underworld.
Professor David Ullman is among the world’s leading authorities on demonic literature, with special expertise in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Not that David is a believer—he sees what he teaches as a branch of the imagination and nothing more. So when the mysterious Thin Woman arrives at his office and invites him to travel to Venice and witness a “phenomenon,” he turns her down. She leaves plane tickets and an address on his desk, advising David that her employer is not often disappointed.
That evening, David’s wife announces she is leaving him. With his life suddenly in shambles, he impulsively whisks his beloved twelve-year-old daughter, Tess, off to Venice after all. The girl has recently been stricken by the same melancholy moods David knows so well, and he hopes to cheer her up and distract them both from the troubles at home.
But what happens in Venice will change everything.
First, in a tiny attic room at the address provided by the Thin Woman, David sees a man restrained in a chair, muttering, clearly insane… but could he truly be possessed? Then the man speaks clearly, in the voice of David’s dead father, repeating the last words he ever spoke to his son. Words that have left scars—and a mystery—behind.
When David rushes back to the hotel, he discovers Tess perched on the roof’s edge, high above the waters of the Grand Canal. Before she falls, she manages to utter a final plea: Find me.
What follows is an unimaginable journey for David Ullman from skeptic to true believer. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David must track the demon that has captured his daughter and discover its name. If he fails, he will lose Tess forever.
outside on 43rd Street moments ago. “You get disconnected?” I turn to find a slightly grizzled man in his midfifties. Rumpled suit, hair in need of all manner of attention. A businessman—or former businessman—belonging to the drunken class, would be my guess. “Sorry?” “Your prayer line. To the Big Guy. He put you on hold? Does it to me all the time. Then damned if you don’t get disconnected.” “I never even dialed the number.” “You’re better off. If you’d gotten through, it would have been
“Okay,” she says. “Did you know those kids who beat up on that classmate of theirs?” “Yeah.” “Could you remind me of the name of the injured child?” “Remind you?” “Yes,” I say, slapping at my pockets in a pantomime of a misplaced notepad. “My memory’s not what it used to be.” “Kevin.” “Kevin what, sweetheart?” “Lilley.” “Right! Now, do you remember those kids in your class who hurt Kevin? Do you recall them talking about a boy named Toby?” The girl links her hands together and holds
merely signed his name to them.” “Your arrogance has made you blind.” “Blind! John was blind when he wrote his poem! Have you forgotten? That’s when he asked for help. He begged the darkness enclosing upon him for inspiration. And I came! Yes! I came and whispered my sweet nothings in his ear.” The Devil lies, David. “Bullshit.” “Don’t be crude, Professor. Profanity is one contest you will not win with me.” At the edge of the swing set’s square of sand, a pair of seagulls fight over what
surface, straining his neck to keep his mouth from breathing the cold current into his chest. A moment that, at the time of its first happening would have taken a second or less. Yet now in its return engagement has been slowed. Revealing a truth that passed too swiftly at the time, and I too young to read them. A pair of truths. Lawrence meets my eyes from the far side of the river. The Other Place we never crossed to. The side we feared and where Tess had stood in her real dream. The second
the mortgage on our roomy three-bedroom apartment in a “prestige building” on 84th Street. I’m often troubled by the fact that we can’t really afford the place, though Diane likes to point out that “nobody affords things, David. It’s not 1954 anymore.” Things are bad between us, perhaps irreparably bad. But as I rattle upward in the old elevator to our floor I’m readying the news of this strange day, deciding what to lead with, what to bury. I want to tell Diane about O’Brien, my chat with Will