The Demonologist: A Novel

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The Demonologist: A Novel

by Andrew Pyper

Simon & Schuster | December 30, 2014 | Mass Market Paperbound

The Demonologist: A Novel is rated 4 out of 5 by 3.
A stolen child.

An ancient evil.

A father’s descent.

And the literary masterpiece that holds the key to his daughter’s salvation.

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.

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 384 pages, 6.75 × 4.12 × 1.75 in

Published: December 30, 2014

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1476790361

ISBN - 13: 9781476790367

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well-Written Suspenseful Adventure! I can think of no higher compliment to give Andrew Pyper and his masterful work than this: I was much too entranced by his story to be scared by it. Pyper, himself calls his story “an unapologetic, full-fledged horror novel”, and early reviews had billed it as a book that would cause readers sleepless, terror-filled nights, so I prepared myself to crawl out of my skin, keeping the lights on and the doors locked as I traversed Pyper’s landscape. As it turns out, I was kept awake for two consecutive nights—but not because I was too frightened to sleep lest I awoke to a stealthily moving shadow in the corner of the room. I stayed up because I was much too impatient to find out how the story ends. The Demonologist is an intelligently written novel about David, a professor who makes a living lecturing about John Milton’s Paradise Lost but who doesn’t personally believe in the biblical events that inspired it. David is forced to re-examine his beliefs when his precious daughter, Tess, disappears during their trip to Italy. Identifying clues from Milton’s poem and memories of his childhood, David must race against time to save her. Pyper’s novel encompasses suspense, adventure, heartache, and humour, and I cannot recommend it highly enough. His incredible narrative skills will take you alongside David’s journey: You’ll feel everything he feels, including his paralyzing fear over who or what is lurking in the dark corners of every room he enters and his pessimism that he will ever shake off whatever has had a grip on his soul his whole life. Plot & Pacing It took me two nights to read The Demonologist, and that’s only because pesky work got into the way. This story successfully injects a new plot with elements of a (centuries-) old story. In fact, as someone who only read Milton’s Paradise Lost to pass a university exam (and then promptly forgot everything afterwards), I would say that in shedding light on some of the poem’s more obfuscating—and arguably beautiful—passages, Pyper has managed to make me interested in re-reading Milton. David’s life interests me, and I really enjoyed Pyper’s decision to have his protagonist’s profession inform the course of the story. A mysterious and very tempting offer, a trip to a city teeming with history, an enviable father-daughter relationship, and anyone’s greatest nightmare of losing the one you love … What more could I have asked for in a plot? Characters There’s nothing formulaic about any of Pyper’s characters. David is a good person whose reticence and inability to connect deeply with his wife, Diane, is both and understandable and pitiable. He really loves his daughter, Tess, and for me, that almost redeems his less-than-admirable bond with Diane. Tess and David are so similar to one another, and it’s no surprise the lengths he goes to find her when she disappears. Although we don’t see much of Tess in the novel, her presence permeates the pages through David’s thoughts and feelings. One can’t help but admire the strength and awareness that this 11-year-old girl exudes. Finally, there is O’Brien, another professor whose wit and sarcasm match David’s own, and whose intelligence complements his rather than rivals it. A strong, female character who functions as David’s champion and conscience, her feisty ways contribute much to the story. Setting Pyper paints perfect scenes. From depicting the unbearable heat of New York in late spring to describing the streets of Venice for those of us who may never see it in person, Pyper eloquently takes his readers along with his characters as they travel from place to place. That one scene in Venice, for example, in the room with the video camera … Yeah, I didn’t really want to be there, but there I was anyway. I also loved Pyper’s scattered references to Toronto, the Muskoka Lakes, and the Leafs. As a proud Canadian, references to his home and native land made me smile, like we were sharing a secret about this great corner of the world. Style & Writing Sometimes, a writer shows his/her skills in the characters’ elegant turns of phrases and archaic or sesquipedalian words. The strength of Pyper’s writing stems from the seamless way that his words meld with the reader’s own thoughts. His liberal use of em-dashes for asides in his narration, and the realistic dialogue between two professors who, in the hands (pens?) of another author may have spouted speeches rather than spoken like normal people combine to demonstrate his prowess at the written word. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t have elegant turns of phrases. Rather, he places more value on authentic dialogue and unique voices than on making his characters “sound smart”. Anyone who’s looking for a story that demands its readers to ask themselves questions like, “How do we come about believing what we believe?” and “How do we know that what we believe is the right thing to believe in?” will definitely enjoy Pyper’s crisp, clean writing and thought-provoking plot.
Date published: 2013-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting, Intelligent, and Intriguing! A haunting and desperate search for his daughter brings David Ullman face to face with his demons. But are they real or imagined? A true scholar and avid non-believer, David is repeatedly tested and everything he's ever believed comes into question. Andrew Pyper masterfully weaves a tale that keeps the reader wondering whether or not David's fantastical journey to rescue his daughter from the clutches of one of Satan's minions is real, a product of his imagination, or the beginnings of a breakdown caused by his lifetime struggle with melancholy. David, a University professor who has dedicated his career to interpreting John Milton's "Paradise Lost", has just lost his wife to another man and is given the opportunity from a strange woman to get away from it all with his twelve year-old daughter, Tess. All he has to do is visit the address given to him and report back. An all-expense paid, whirlwind trip to the magical city of Venice, "Italy, not California", soon has David wondering why he ever agreed to this in the first place. Venice is the beginning of his worst nightmare as he is met by an evil demon and his daughter disappears into the murky depths of the Grand Canal. Andrew Pyper writes so amazingly well that I could not put this book down. In fact, I read the first half in one sitting and finished it the following day. This book was intelligent, intriguing, and interesting and had me dying to know what each upcoming page had in store for me. A beautifully written and wonderfully crafted story that no one should miss. I am only sad that it's over.
Date published: 2013-03-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Over-hyped! Here is a much-hyped book that simply did not meet expectations. Some of the scenes were disturbing and frightening, but far too often I felt the main character, Professor David Ullman, rambled on about nothing or was able to miraculously figure out the next step in his adversary's plan by coincidence if not sheer luck. For instance, and without trying to ruin it for anyone, Professor Ullman is able to figure out where the book's antagonist is by using a line from "Paradise Lost" that reads "Smiled with superior love, as Jupiter on Juno smiles." Now, it just so happens that the line comes to Ullman when his friend, dying of cancer, coughs up a spit of blood that lands near the word "Jupiter" after having just previously dropped the book onto the floor where it opened up to a random page; the page where the word "Jupiter" was. So obviously, they had to go to Jupiter, Florida to confront the "demon". Just a bit too far fetched, even for one of Satan's middling underlings. While the book's pages flew by, I would say it was more due to the fact that I skipped some of the more "introspective" moments by the Professor than the crackling good plot.
Date published: 2013-03-24

– More About This Product –

The Demonologist: A Novel

The Demonologist: A Novel

by Andrew Pyper

Format: Mass Market Paperbound

Dimensions: 384 pages, 6.75 × 4.12 × 1.75 in

Published: December 30, 2014

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1476790361

ISBN - 13: 9781476790367

From the Publisher

A stolen child.

An ancient evil.

A father’s descent.

And the literary masterpiece that holds the key to his daughter’s salvation.

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.

Editorial Reviews

"Part horror, part thriller, all page-turner . . . The Demonologist has all the twisting excitement of a Dan Brown novel, and all the lurid, gory violence of a Stieg Larsson."