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 12-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.
©2013 Andrew Pyper (P)2013 Simon & Schuster, Inc.
I am an entertainer...so I spend a lot of time on the road. I take my audio seriously. I appreciate great writing and outstanding narration.
...and not in a good way.
How can a story that features a depressive professor who is summoned to a mysterious house in Venice and then gets led on a supernatural road trip POSSIBLY be so lame?
The idea is better than the novel. It just sounds so good. In truth, despite occasional points of very high interest, I found myself sitting and thinking "Ummmm...what?" at some of the things that happened.
The ending of the book is completely unsatisfying and is the logical conclusion to a book that started out with great promise and then slowly flops to the floor with an "audible" thump.
I expect that, if you're like me, you're going to get this one anyway. Great title. Great synopsis.
Just keep in mind: I TRIED to warn you.
Author Andrew Pyper needs a new marketing manager. He has two books on Audible.com and both have bad reviews because the description of the book doesn't match the actual book. The comparison to the great book "The Historian" is absurd as this book is nothing like it. However, this is a great story when put in proper context.
I chose this book because of the reference to "The Historian," so was surprised when it got really scary fairly quickly. I often listen to books as I fall asleep and I couldn't do that with this one. There are a lot of scary moments in this book.
The story is good. It's multi-dimensional so you care about the main character. The addition of both "good" and "evil" possible super-natural encounters made me ride along with, and cheer for, the main character as he continued to leap into new freaky situations.
If you stumble across this book and can manage to ignore the comparison to the gorgeous work-of-art that is "The Historian" and begin listening with the expectation of a fun, guilty-pleasure of a horror story, you'll enjoy it.
While David may seem to have a fairly good life- he is a professor at Columbia and well-respected in his field, he has a close relationship with his pre-teen daughter, he is good friends with a female colleague- his already rocky marriage suddenly hits a new low. He then is susceptible to an intriguing offer from a mysterious source, an unknown woman who shows up at his office. In exchange for a few hours work, he and his family get a free trip to Venice and deluxe accommodations. Even though the woman provides only cryptic details and states that he was chosen for his expertise as a "demonologist"- a categorization David disputes (he is a scholar of John Milton's Paradise Lost), he hops on a plane with his daughter to Venice. Unfortunately, his few hours of time turns out to be much worse than a timeshare presentation (I've heard the "free deluxe accommodations in exchange for a few hours of your time" pitch before). No one that he cares about will remain unaffected. David initially comes across as an everyman- dealing with both success and failure, balancing home and work. Unbeknownst to him, his daughter has been enduring repeated disturbing dreams, dreams connected to this mysterious errand. Who really is the expert? He may possess facts and scholarly interpretation, but she seems to have a more intrinsic connection. Based on the phenomenon he witnessed, this connection to his daughter is terrifying. His own secrets are not spared. Tragedy in his family while he was growing up also is unearthed. Nothing and no one is safe as the story ends up being a race against time. Make no mistake, this is a thriller and horror novel so read at your own risk. It kept me engrossed until the end.
Say something about yourself!
[*I didn't finish and this is not a full review of the book.*]
"Fans of The Historian won't be able to put down this spellbinding horror story..."
I listened an hour 1/2 and put it down with no problemo. There will be an appreciative audience for this book, no doubt. I might have devoured it in high school. But, if you purchase this (as I did) based only on the hype that if you *liked Kostova's The Historian you will like this* - you will be sorely disappointed. The book does not have the atmosphere, sophistication, or the grace of sentence of The Historian. So often, I am lured by summaries and reviews that bear no resemblance to what I end up reading that I just felt compelled to give this heads up. You may love this; I hope you do, and that you review the whole book--maybe I'll go back and give it a try with a different attitude. I suggest listening to the sample, and only buying because you are interested in the content - NOT because you are led to believe it has any resemblance to The Historian.
Living in Northern NJ. Addicted to that spine-tingling rush of fear.
A bit predictable...but, not a bad story. I listen a lot while driving to and from work, so this book was a good listen; but I wasn't tempted to listen outside of my ride. Simply put, It was a good listen - but not good enough to keep me in the car!
I love fiction (horror especially) and I love historical non-fiction. I deeply love metaphysics and theologically challenging works.
Narrator was fantastic.
I did not want the story to end.
Creepy moments at times that HAUNT you!
Believe I'll listen to this one more than once.
Life long compulsive reader & lover of recorded books
This book was entertaining and well written. If it disappoints it is because it has the potential to be better than it is. Some characters are well developed while others remain incomplete and the plot could have been tighter. Somehow the end is not fulfilling. I would recommended to someone looking to be entertained and mildly scared.
The overall concept of the book was interesting. The role of Venice and the description of the city by the writer were not as interesting as they could have been
The narration was very adequate
I enjoyed listening and was certainly entertained
The book lacked attention to detail. It was very casual and swept over the sub plot.
I would have liked a bit more history into the life of David. Good books make you feel and know the characters, I didn't feel connected to David on his search, or any other character for that matter.
Perhaps if the author did a bit more character building, I would have felt more emotional for his girlfriend at the end.
If you really got to know the characters, I think the book would have been that much better.
The book was suspenseful and I liked the scary elements.
This is a good book to read on the side, doesn't require much thought to follow and is simple with a good narration.
What's the book about?
David Ullman is a professor from Columbia University. Although he teaches about Milton’s Paradise Lost, he considers himself an atheist and could not care less for about the supernatural world. As everything seems to be falling apart in his personal life, his believes will be put to a test when he loses his daughter to what seem to be a Demon.
What about the main character?
David is a very depressive person. As he calls it, melancholy has been a constant in his life. An atheist, an unbeliever ever since young age when he lost his brother. Everything in his personal life seems to be falling apart as we begin the book; his wife is leaving him for another professor, his best friend is sick and depression seems to be getting stronger, even though he fights it for his daughter. One amazing characteristic about him is that he loves Tess (the daughter) so much that he will risk his life, his psyche and anything necessary to recover her.
When I saw that this book was compared to The Historian I was afraid since I was VERY disappointed at that book. However, I really enjoyed The Demonologist. It was a perfect read (eh, audio) for October. The audio has a very good narrator, John Bedford Lloyd, who adds to the story. He really committed to the voices, specially the demon. At certain point I was walking back home, at night…at actually got scared while listening to it.
I think the book is very entertaining and has a good pace, enough background (history, mythology) to teach you a bit, without feeling like a lecture, which is one of the problems I had with The Historian.
If you are into biblical/angels and demons/devil walks the earth type of things, this is for you.Otherwise, maybe best to stay clear.
I didn't quite get where the author was going with this story, and it never really went where I think he wanted to take it. Maybe it's just me.
Not at all. Looking forward to Dan Browns' upcoming offering.
Yes, and this one is outstanding. He is one of my favourite performers, and this offering is no less than excellent.
Yes, surprisingly. Maybe a screenwriter could tighten this up.
An odd book. Not sure whether I liked it or not. Scary at times, and the performance was excellent, but the story itself stumbled around. Buyer be wary, but there is something there.
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