The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

This novel concerns a struggle between the forces of God and Satan for the souls of a pair of young lovers. It has a political cast, with God on the side of British democracy and Satan helping the communists. The novel is one of a number by this author that involve Satanism and communism, along with brainwashing, hypnotism, and extrasensory perception (ESP).

Toby Jugg, soon to turn twenty-one and inherit the largest industrial fortune in Great Britain, lies paralyzed from the waist down in a bed in the library of an old mansion near the village of Llanferdrack in rural Wales. He was injured when his fighter plane crashed during the Battle of Britain. He is in the care of Dr. Helmuth Lisicky, who had been one of his teachers when Toby attended Weylands Abbey, a co-ed boarding school with Nietzschean principles embodied in its slogan: Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law. At Weylands Abbey, Toby was educated to become atheistic and amoral as part of Helmuths plans for him later in life.

Narration of the novel occurs through a secret journal Toby keeps in an attempt to rescue his sanity. He undergoes a series of hauntings by a maleficent force that finds embodiment as a giant spider that manifests when the moon is full. Toby assumes that this evil presence has some connection to the old, ruined castle onto which the mansion backs, or to the nearby lake. Toby slowly discovers that Helmuth is his mortal...

(The entire section is 523 words.)