Old-fashioned pulp horror from King (Starkadder, 1987) in this first book of a projected trilogy about an ancient and evil entity savaging modem-day England. King lends an epic veneer to his tale by first tracking in short vignettes the entity's trail through history: globes of light seed a goddess-cult within a Stone Age tribe; a Roman encounters a barbarian sorceress with ""sun-white flesh""; the body of a medieval English king is fed upon by strange, furry creatures; in 1939, a mycologist feeds a minister a mushroom that induces a vision of a malevolent albino-like beauty. Then jump to the present, as two mysteries evolve: patrons of an musty London library die violently; dead sheep are found in the countryside, their blood drained. Policeman Bob Ferrow investigates the deaths, soon tying them together as he quizzes a forbidding foreigner, Pythonius Meeres, found near human remains. Meeres tells Ferrow of Thule, a mythic land from which comes ""something which we might call gods"" that control human destiny. Someone--Meeres is trying to find out who--is seeking to invoke one of these beings, the one who appears as an ungodly blonde to those who eat a certain deadly mushroom. But that's not all: whoever is trying to call down the Thulian has also awakened a bizarre, rodent-like species--the witches' familiars of old--that feeds on blood. Visitations by these critters (the leader of whom is called the Venerable Pyewacket and speaks perfect English) and intrigue between a scholar and a witch's descendant lead Ferrow--and Meeres, unveiled as the centuries-old ""Keeper""--to the fingering of the human devil behind all the mayhem and to the cataclysmic entrance upon the earth of Thule's biggest brute, the Destroying Angel. Energetic, and diverting in patches, with some frights and an inventive use of arcane lore and documents; but--as a whole--overstuffed, scattered, and silly.