The Demonologist

A Novel

The Demonologist

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’s expertise in the literature of the demonic—notably Milton’s Paradise Lost—has won him wide acclaim. But David is not a believer.

One afternoon he receives a visitor at his campus office, a strikingly thin woman who offers him an invitation: travel to Venice, Italy, witness a “phenomenon,” and offer his professional opinion, in return for an extravagant sum of money. Needing a fresh start, David accepts and heads to Italy with his beloved twelve-year-old daughter Tess.

What happens in Venice will send David on an unimaginable journey from skeptic to true believer, as he opens himself up to the possibility that demons really do exist. In a terrifying quest guided by symbols and riddles from the pages of Paradise Lost, David attempts to rescue his daughter from the Unnamed—a demonic entity that has chosen him as its messenger.

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A Conversation with Andrew Pyper 

Q: Your main character, David Ullman, is a literature professor who specializes in Milton’s Paradise Lost. How familiar were you with that text before you started writing The Demonologist? How did you use that poem to help shape the plot and events in your novel?  

I'd read Paradise Lost as an undergrad at university, but remembered little about it. No, not true: I remembered few details, but carried with me with the persuasive arguments and pitiable dilemma of its arguable protagonist, Satan. For the stretches when he is its speaker, I found the poem electrifying, almost dangerous in its charms. But when the devil is off-stage, I remember feeling it was a bit of a slog. At the time, I would have agreed with Dr. Johnson's assessment that "None ever wished it longer."  

Jump ahead twenty years, and I'm a novelist. (I'm also a father – this will become significant in a moment). For some time, I'd been pondering a way to create a new kind of demonic mythology in a work of fiction, one without priests or exorcisms or scalding holy water or the usual trappings of a "possession" story. I wanted to imagine a narrative that made demons seem grounded and real – a plausible explanation for why some people, some of the time, act in the irrational ways they do. To achieve this, the relationship between the human and demonic actor see more

More Books from this Author

The Only Child
The Damned
The Dark Side

About the Author

Andrew Pyper
Photograph by Heidi Pyper

Andrew Pyper

Andrew Pyper is the author of eight novels, including The Only Child and The Demonologist, which won the International Thriller Writers award for Best Hardcover Novel and was selected for the Globe and Mail’s Best 100 Books of 2013 and Amazon’s 20 Best Books of 2013. Among his previous books, Lost Girls won the Arthur Ellis Award and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and The Killing Circle was a New York Times Best Crime Novel of the Year. Three of Pyper’s novels, including The Demonologist and The Damned, are in active development for feature film. He lives in Toronto. Visit AndrewPyper.com.

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