A protracted, argument-starting debate between the Devil and an advocate for humanity.

The Devil's Way


A dramatized dialogue on the nature of good and evil, conducted between a young man and the devil himself.

In A.’s (The Power of Listening, 2015) latest work, Harvard graduate Malcolm Murray is a tourist in Florence when he encounters a charismatic stranger—an Italian priest with an oddly commanding demeanor. The narrative refers to this stranger simply as “the Enchanter,” and Malcolm immediately accepts his friendly offer to show him the sights of the city, starting with the famous Duomo. Malcolm studied law and is an open-minded, progress-oriented man on a quest to understand the meaning of life. The Enchanter seems to have many intriguing opinions on the subject, but it quickly becomes apparent that there’s much more to him than meets the eye. He is in fact the devil, as he soon admits to Malcolm, and he confesses that he covets the young man’s soul. He won’t simply take what he wants, however; his goal is to convince Malcolm to surrender his soul voluntarily—perhaps in exchange for untold wealth, fame, and power. The bulk of the book is devoted to the devil’s taking Malcolm on a virtual tour of the iniquities of mankind, including—fittingly enough for the Florentine setting—an exposition of evil as found in great works of art and poetry. The devil maintains that humans are made in his image, not God’s, and that evil is their true nature; Malcolm steadfastly, intelligently argues otherwise. The author sets up this modern-day Faustian scenario in quick, economical strokes. The intriguing debate ranges from the dawn of time to the dawn of the Taliban and encompasses everything from the sins of entire nations to, disarmingly, the sins of Malcolm’s own mother. However, in a move that many readers may find off-puttingly controversial, the debate frequently devolves into an assessment of U.S. foreign policy; however, this discussion is the most energetic thread running throughout Malcolm’s defense of the mortal world. Fans of G.I. Gurdjieff’s Beelzebub’s Tales to His Grandson (1950) or C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters (1942) will find this story to be a fascinating contemporary update.

A protracted, argument-starting debate between the Devil and an advocate for humanity.

Pub Date: May 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-62287-850-5

Page Count: 178

Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2015

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A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.


Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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