Scary Castle Ruin

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Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour...

In this sequel to Next, After Lucifer, the Satanic Templar Guilhem de Courdeval—now in human form and going by the name Guy-Luc Valcourt—emerges in San Francisco. The city is a perfect place for him to pose as a New Age teacher. The philosophy he espouses sounds benign and sensible, and he asks nothing for himself—yet he offers tangible, immediate help to those with unsolvable problems and unfulfilled desires.

Valcourt quickly lures four young disciples: single mom and lawyer Nicole Partrick, who's in love with her kindly but standoffish neighbor, an emotionally deadened combat veteran; Spencer Epps, a bar owner desperate for a high-roller lifestyle, who feels trapped in a hated marriage with his wife holding the purse-strings; Charity Haverill, a jilted lover out for revenge; and easygoing Robbie Kinsella, a young man fascinated by the occult who yearns for secret knowledge and power.

The story blends black magic and mystery within a tight plot. One of the real delights, though, is Mr. McMahon's talent for describing people and places in few words but rich detail.

— Norwich Evening News, 1989

Valcourt uses his black magic to make the wishes of his new acolytes come true. But there is always a hidden price. As the four fall deeper in his debt, his true aim surfaces—to force them to become agents of evil themselves, viruses who will infect others and spread an ever-increasing epidemic of bloodshed, oppression, treachery, suffering of all kinds, the tribute demanded by the demonic entities that Valcourt serves.

There is a glimmer of hope. Valcourt's formidable enemies—French priest Étien Boudrie and clairvoyant Mélusine Devarre—are determined to track down and destroy the evil Templar. The confrontation unfolds as Nicole realizes what payment Valcourt demands in return for his gifts to her—an action that will seal both her damnation and her fate as a traitor to mankind. She must sacrifice what she loves most.

Her eleven-year old son.

Read a sample passage . . .