Tag Archives: action adventure

Seven Demons

Hermetic Library Fellow T Polyphilus reviews Seven Demons [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Aidan Truhen.

Truhen Seven Demons

Seven Demons is a second smoking stream-of-psychopathy tale in the comma-abstemious voice of criminal entrepreneur Jack Price. The book thinks it wants to be a heist thriller, but it is programmatically ambiguous about that intention. Price takes his team to Switzerland where he learns much about Swissness, foes and friends die, and Nazis get satisfyingly obliterated.

The story offers a lot of entertaining dialogue, often featuring the distinctive exchange of double-quoted ellipses as a conversation reaches an absurd impasse. Jack has some awesome pillow talk with the global science felon who is his not-girlfriend (87-9) and delivers a not-unrelated monologue on the art of cunnilingus (180-1).

The prior book The Price You Pay was so amusing and sui generis that I was prepared for a certain level of disappointment here. Nevertheless, Seven Demons made me LOL all the way down to my crime testes on a regular basis. I will not be surprised to see another book after this one of Jack Price just trying to get along in the world, and I will gladly read it.

but I see, at a great distance, a new world stirring in the ruins, stirring clumsily but in hopefulness, seeking its lost and legendary treasures. And they will all be here, my son, hidden behind the mountains in the valley of Blue Moon, preserved as by miracle for a new Renaissance

James Hilton, Lost Horizon [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Hilton Lost Horizon great distance new world stirring ruins clumsily hopefulness seeking lost legendary treasures hidden preserves miracle new renaissance

After the War people said he was different. I, myself, think he was. But I can’t help feeling that with all his gifts he ought to have been doing bigger work. All that Britannic Majesty stuff isn’t my idea of a great man’s career. And Conway was—or should have been—great.

James Hilton, Lost Horizon [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote  Hilton Lost Horizon after war different doing bigger work britannic majesty great man career

“Why did we go and perform that ritual around that other oak tree? How does that help us become better human beings?” “Precisely because most people don’t perform rituals around oak trees anymore, and because by performing apparently absurd rituals, you get in touch with something deep in your soul, in the oldest part of yourself, the part closest to the origin of everything.”

Paulo Coelho, Aleph [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Coelho Aleph perform ritual become better human beings performing absurd deep soul yourself origin everything


Hermetic Library fellow T Polyphilus reviews Nova by Samuel R Delany:

Samuel R Delany's Nova from Vintage


Delany’s Nova is nearly exactly as old as me (written in 1966-7, first published in August 1968), and I am stunned at how well it has aged. Although it is a short novel, it is a sprawling space opera set in the 32nd century, and its optimistic forecast for a technologically accomplished galactic humanity is still one that seems believable today (as long as one can imagine our civilization surviving its several impending comeuppances). This is a book that’s been on my radar as a vague “to be read someday” for many, many years. In a way, I’m glad I didn’t read it any earlier, because it’s all the more impressive for its sustained integrity.

There’s no way that anyone would have considered making this a movie when it was published in the 1960s. But in the 21st century we have both the effects technology and the audience sophistication to make it worthwhile. The Wachowskis could totally pull it off. Still, Delany is resolutely literary in this book, with the character Katin serving as a metafictionally reflexive anchor: he aspires to write a novel, an anachronistic impossibility in his star-spanning culture.

The story has a fine central ensemble of characters in the crew of the starship Roc: gypsy musician, moonish intellectual, soft-spoken cartomancer, scarred quester, and so on. The villains are detestable enough, although they have their justifications, and the heroes are interestingly flawed. There are exotic and inspiring landscapes, architecture, and space vistas. It’s got grittiness and high sentiment, social philosophy and action-adventure. There’s even a metafictional brag that it contains some sort of “mystical symbolism.” In any case, it’s a worthwhile read. [via]



The Hermetic Library Reading Room is an imaginary and speculative future reification of the library in the physical world, a place to experience a cabinet of curiosities offering a confabulation of curation, context and community that engages, archives and encourages a living Western Esoteric Tradition. If you would like to contribute to the Hermetic Library Reading Room, consider supporting the library or contact the librarian.