We think good ‘occult fiction’ is hard to find. Quite why that is is open to debate and probably worthy of deeper discussion another time. Generally speaking, the issue is often one of balance: ensuring the mundane aspects such as plot and narrative are not just a vehicle for the higher visionary insights, and vice versa. This in itself is challenging. Quality and authenticity are also problematic: practitioners of the Arte do not always make good writers; nor are good writers necessarily adept at articulating genuine magickal revelations!
But our next release is, we think, a very, very good example of this hard-to-pin-down genre. It’s a full-length occult novel (136,000 words to be exact), authored by the enigmatic Fr Ætos.
Initially the book appears to be an historical novel (set in the period of the Fall of Acre in 1291) in the traditional vein. But slowly and surely the magickal tendrils begin to reach out and draw you into an uncanny, parallel or alternate history. The book’s denoument makes the magickal elements explicit via a series of vivid set-pieces and shocking plot-twists.
So on one level it succeeds simply as an intricately plotted, meticulously researched, compulsively readable adventure. It is atmospheric and cinematic, epic in scope, full of believable characters, jeopardies and moments of joy and horror. Yet the occult subtext is not bolted on; it is fundamental to the overall narrative thrust. What makes this book special is the way the esoteric strands are carefully woven into the whole. They provide moments of true insight; they crystallise in prose aspects of occult lore that might otherwise seem quite abstract. Magickal currents and traditions, and otherworldly forces, are given shape and purpose in a way that is quite revelatory.
Its themes will be familiar to many practitioners: mastery and servitude; personal sacrifice; the desire for freedom and control through power; the generational legacy of pacts; the gnostic impulse; the web of fate; the tides of creation and destruction, and the exchange of influences between the worlds.
Topics range from the Fallen Angel tradition and anticosmic gnosticism to Kabbalah and Islamic occultism. At a deeper level, the book can be understood as a rite of initiation and a journey through the Tarot. In fact, the book is littered with occult lore, subtle references and ‘Easter eggs’ for the attentive reader.
So, what’s it about? Well, why don’t you read the the prologue and first couple of chapters, and find out. Epic historical dark occult horror doesn’t even begin to describe it. I hope I’m not being too hubristic when I say that this book could become a future classic of occult fiction.
Shalat will be released in August 2020, in very limited numbers.