Frightful Friday: The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper

Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book.

This week’s featured title is the audiobook production of The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper:

  • Listening Length: 9 hours and 15 minutes
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (March 5, 2013)
  • Source: Publisher

David Ullman is a professor at Columbia, known for his expertise in literature, particularly John Milton’s Paradise Lost. One day, he is approached by woman who offers him the opportunity to travel to Venice, Italy to give his professional opinion on a phenomenon. Indicating that his knowledge of demons makes him the perfect candidate for this request, she offers him a large sum of money to perform this task. David needs a change of pace; his wife has been having an affair with one of his peers and this opportunity would give David and his twelve-year-old daughter, Tess, an opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time together.

Upon arriving in Venice, however, David realizes he is in over his head. The “phenomenon” he is asked to witness forces him to re-evaluate his skepticism regarding the existence of heaven and hell. Not even in the city more than a day, he informs Tess that they are leaving…immediately.  Before they are able to leave tragedy strikes, sending David on a dark battle with demons, both literal and figurative,  that have haunted him since childhood.

The Demonologist is a truly intense, intellectual examination of good versus evil. Centered around Milton’s Paradise Lost, Pyper takes readers on a journey using clues from this literary work that examines the very root of evil and how it manifests.  The journey David is forced to embark upon is long, dark and deadly, spanning continents and countries. The evil that taunts him has lain dormant for years, first manifesting when David was a child, patiently planning and plotting for the appropriate time to strike.

The reader (or in my case, the listener) follows David on this journey.  He starts out as a man who has withdrawn from his marriage, shadowed by an overwhelming sense of melancholy and despair.  Eventually, armed with a sheer determination to face this evil adversity head-on, David embarks upon a journey of self-awareness and self-actualization, truly transforming into a completely new, more optimistic individual.

I listened to the audiobook production of this novel. The narration of John Bedfrod Lloyd most definitely added to the dark and chilling tone. His deep voice had a cadence to it that sent chills down my spine. I’m not certain I would have had the same experience had I read the print version, for having such a terrifying book read aloud to you adds a completely new dimension to the horror.

A must-read (or listen!) for any fan of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, as well as fans of literary horror. Highly, highly recommended.

 

 

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