The Demonologist - Andrew Pyper Last night I had the dream again. Except it’s not a dream. I know because when it comes for me, I’m still awake.

Professor David Ullman teaches religious literature and is a scholar of Milton’s Paradise Lost and also of demons, but the irony about his studies is that David does not believe in demons or anything else. Outside the classroom David’s life is in turmoil. His wife wants a divorce and at the same time he receives a strange visitor at his office- a very thin woman with an unrecognizable accent. The woman represents a client with an invitation for David to come to Venice and witness a “phenomenon.” With the impending divorce David decides to accept the invitation and leaves with his daughter, Tess.

Venice was meant to be a break from the troubles at home and for some quality time between a father and daughter, but David was unprepared for the evil that awaited them, and then he lost Tess in the canals of Venice. Frantic to get his daughter back, David embarks on a quest to save his daughter and in the process must become a believer or lose his daughter forever in The Demonologist by Andrew Pyper. This is a literary horror novel about a father’s love, and the struggle between good and evil.


Has been described as “A fast-paced Exorcist-meets-Da Vinci Code.” which does the book no favours at all. This book's creeping, sly horror is much more subtle and insidious that the Exorcist and the Demonologist is far too frighteningly well written to be compared to a Dan Brown novel.

Pyper writes almost too well and the novel is a sophisticated horror stuffed with literary references and some fantastic writing. The story slowly draws you in exploiting that instinctive common collective fear humanity has regarding Satan and all his works.

The book has much strength but two factors stand out to make the novel worth reading.

The first is Ullman and his inner ponderings; whether he is thinking about the demonic clues left for him or Paradise Lost (literally) gives the book real emotional depth
The second is the inclusion of Paradise Lost itself and I thought the author showed great understanding of the text and used it to good effect rather than just as pretentious padding.

However … I had some difficulty suspending disbelief therefore was not as fully engaged as I probably should have been and subsequently not as ‘frit'.I was constantly deliberating what the Unnamed actually wanted with this depressed, melancholy Milton scholar chasing his demonic clues all across America and the ambiguous ending didn’t help.

However I there was much to enjoy and think this quote sums it up “The Demonologist holds a mirror to the reader and reveals the places where our deepest darkness lurks. Like Milton’s Paradise Lost, this is the story of the human condition, the fall, and the way back.”