A mythical book holds the key to terrifying events.
In a London suburb, an altar boy hears troubling noises coming from a coffin, but fellow altar boy Peter Jackson hears nothing. Back home, Peter mentions the phenomenon to his clever sister, Dawn, who calls it the Auguries, a manifestation of the unrestful dead described in an ancient book they’ve discovered among their grandfather’s possessions. The two lived with their grandfather, but when he died, Dawn refused to call the authorities. So they’re living off his debit card while an unconcerned Dawn uses the information in the book. Her first experiment involves cutting off the head of their pet fish, who continues to swim around. Her next is killing Peter and raising him from the dead. Suddenly odd and alarming things start to happen. An excursion boats sinks in the Thames with no survivors. Statues all over London begin to bleed. Professor Juliet Harrington, an expert on the Almanac of Forbidden Wisdom, a lost volume thought to have been written in the 16th century, is called to a meeting with the Home Secretary, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, who ask about the Auguries, which, she explains, occur whenever someone uses the book. Juliet believes the volume was compiled in 1530 by a group of occult practitioners led by the German alchemist Gunter Keller. When the calamities continue with an outbreak of the plague and a plane crash, Juliet is commissioned to track down the book and find whomever is using it. The pressure mounts as London undergoes disaster after disaster and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.
Cottam (The Lucifer Chord, 2018, etc.) is a masterly maven of the deeply disturbing occult. His latest may well leave you with nightmares.