Tag Archives: Martin Cosgrove

Kara meets the Librarian from Martin Cosgrove’s KARA

This is the first public extract from Martin Cosgrove‘s upcoming second esoteric novel, KARA (named changed from The Legacy of Kara Reyne). This is a scene in which Kara meets the mysterious character known only as The Librarian which is, you must admit, perfectly and amusingly appropriate. You may recall Martin as the author of The Destiny of Ethan King which has been featured before and is part of the collection at the Reading Room. KARA should be available as an ebook in August and paperback shortly thereafter.

Martin Cosgrove KARA cover


Excerpt from the upcoming esoteric novel KARA

by Martin Cosgrove

Her mind numb, Kara found herself standing in the middle of the library. She didn’t remember climbing the stairs to get there. Her feet began to move again; one in front of the other. They stopped outside the secret entrance to the Perception Section and then it was her hand’s turn to take on a life of its own as it twisted the handle and pulled open the door.

The warping effect of the portal was still disorientating, as blobs of reality bulged out at her as if squeezed in the middle by a giant hand. Seconds later, Kara again stepped out into the small white room of what was officially named the Life Purpose Section.

“Oh, it’s you again.” The glum voice of the Librarian echoed in the sparsely furnished room.

“It’s great to see you too,” said Kara, not quick enough to catch her sarcasm before it left her mouth.

The Librarian humphed and proceeded to polish his spectacles whilst muttering something about young people these days.

A pang of guilt prompted Kara to add: “I’m sorry. I’m going through a lot and I shouldn’t take it out on you.”

The Librarian stopped what he was doing, still holding one lens of his glasses between folds of his baggy cardigan, and squinted at Kara.

“It’s quite all right,” he muttered. “I’m actually rather used to it. People don’t usually come here unless they have something on their minds. Folks who are already happy don’t go seeking out potentially life-altering information as a rule.”

She hadn’t thought of it like that, but it made sense. Why upturn the applecart if you are enjoying munching on apples all day long?

Kara stepped a little closer to the Librarian.

“I don’t think I introduced myself last time. I’m Kara.” She held out her hand, but the

Librarian just glanced at it then proceeded to perch his glasses on the end of his sharp nose.

“I know who you are,” he said with a wave of his hand. Kara pulled back her hand awkwardly.

“Everyone seems to be saying that to me lately,” she mumbled. “How do you know who I am?”

A look of utter incredulity crossed the man’s face. “Because I’m the Librarian. Knowing things is my job.” Kara pursed her lips to speak, but the Librarian continued. “I’ve seen references to your various incarnations in many volumes from countless cultures throughout the ages. If I remember correctly…” He tapped the back of his long hand on his lap. “Yes. I first saw mention of you in an inscription on a stone tablet inscribed by the Harappan civilisation of modern day Pakistan over four and a half thousand years ago.”

Kara’s eyes narrowed. “Exactly how old are you?”

The Librarian took off his spectacles and waved them casually as he spoke. “As old as words. Not as old as you.”

“What does that mean?”

The old man craned his neck to look around the room. “I’ve probably said too much already. Do you wish to look at your books?”

Kara took a deep breath. “Yes. I suppose that’s why I’m here. For answers.”

The man nodded knowingly and extended one arm towards the bookcases. “Be my guest.”

“Thank you.” Kara turned towards the books and then something occurred to her and she turned back to face the Librarian. “How rude of me. I didn’t ask you your name.”

The Librarian shuffled a little in his chair. “I’ve had many throughout the ages, but I tend to stick with Librarian these days. Keeps things simple and neat.”

“Pleased to meet you, Librarian,” she said with an apprehensive smile. “How do I know which one to look at first? Am I supposed to read them all?”

The Librarian smiled, making his loose cheeks wobble at little. It was the first time Kara had seen his otherwise sullen expression brighten.

“The books will show you what you need to see, don’t you worry about that.”

Kara just nodded and sloped off towards the middle bookcase, her stomach doing somersaults.

She picked a slim leather-bound volume off a shelf. Embossed on the front in gold leaf lettering was the title: Tao Te Ching. Kara had never heard of it. The words looked like a romanised version of Chinese and most Chinese books (along with books on spirituality, philosophy and so-called ‘radical’ politics) were outlawed by the Council.

As Kara opened the book, the brittle yellow pages exuded the distinctive musty smell of knowledge blended with history. The pages were a little tattered and well-thumbed and the spine had been cracked in such a way that it opened on one specific page of its own accord.

The Universe has a beginning;
That is the mother of creation.
He who quests after the mother
will know the sons;
he who knows the sons
and returns to the mother:
he will be safe his whole life long.

Kara read it three times, attempting to decipher its meaning and how it applied to her situation. The phrase quest after the mother rang through her head as she flicked back a few pages and read:

The soul of the vale never dies.
It is named the feminine.
The portal of the dark mother
is the source of Heaven and Earth.
Unceasing in its persistence
it is powerful without effort.

This one made even less sense to her. She closed the book carefully and was about to give up when another book farther along the same shelf caught her eye. The cover along the spine had fallen off, leaving the glue and string binding exposed. Something about it fascinated Kara — it was like looking inside a wound: tattered flesh and exposed blood vessels.

She placed her index finger on top of the sad-looking volume and eased it off the shelf to discover that the front cover was also missing. The title page read: Words from the Void: An Anthology of Poetry.

Again, the book wanted to open at one specific page and Kara didn’t stop it. She sat cross-legged on the floor, her back resting against the shelves and read a poem whose author was listed simply as anon.


Her boundless blackness swallows me whole;
an endless ocean engulfing my soul.
She stands strong, her sceptre poised with power,
ready to strike out and to devour
the impure, the degenerate, the soulless,
stripping them bare with her maternal prowess.
She laps at the shadowy shores of Malkuth;
‘ever ready to enter and to transmute
the lifeless into Life; the lead into gold;
begetting her daughter for us to enfold.
By men’s eyes she is unimpassioned and distant.
yet she moves with a Higher Love much more persistent.

Oh, Dark Mother: tear us down to make us stronger!
Sift the chaff from the corn so we are poor no longer.
In your feminine hands we entrust our souls,
so we may strive onwards to achieve sacred goals.
And in your expansive stillness and silence
lies hope for an end to this earthly violence.


Something greater than the words themselves struck Kara as she finished reading the poem. The mother, the female mentioned in the pages she had read was referring to a universal energy, a divine essence. Some of the words, however, were unfamiliar to her. The title of the poem, Binah, for example. And also Malkuth. She made a mental note to ask Abra about those terms and then a thought occurred to her. She placed her finger inside the book and closed it over, then wandered back over to the Librarian.

“Excuse me. Is it possible to take a book out of here?” she asked.

The Librarian’s brows knitted closer together. “Why ever would you need to do that?”

His reply caught Kara off guard. “Well, so I can study the texts in more detail.”

He chuckled — a phlegmy rasp which caught in his throat. “My dear, you will not forget the essence of anything that you read in here for the rest of your life. Or lives. But books may not be removed. Those are the rules.”

“I see.”

“Besides, these books do not exist out there. They only exist in here.”

It was Kara’s turn to frown. “And where is here, precisely?”

“Aha!” he exclaimed, sitting up a little straighter in his chair. “Now you’ve hit on an interesting question. This realm is a little below the one through that portal,” he said, indicating the door through which she had come, “and twice that distance above the world you’ve left behind.”

“What on earth is that supposed to mean?” Kara flicked her hair out of her face. “Your answers are even worse than Abra’s.”

“Taught her everything she knows,” replied the old man, not missing a beat.
Kara couldn’t tell if he was joking or not, but decided it wasn’t worth pressing the issue.
The man, seemingly picking up on Kara’s frustration, leant forward in his chair.

“Listen. Things will be revealed when the time is right. Stop fretting and just continue on your journey. One foot in front of the other — that’s all that is required. And don’t hurry to your destination either, you may end up wishing you’d savoured the journey a little more once you finally get there.”

He winked and gestured towards the door.

“Now get out of here. It’s closing time. A man’s got to nap, you know. This job isn’t as easy as it may look.”

More questions than answers. Again, thought Kara as she headed for the door.

“Ah, ah, ah,” the Librarian called after her. “Haven’t you forgotten something?” he asked, looking pointedly at the book in her hand.

“Oh!” Kara slapped her head with her palm. “I’m sorry. Silly me.”

“Silly, indeed,” mumbled the man as Kara returned the book to its home on the shelf and left the Perception Section for a second time.

Martin Cosgrove KARA

The Legacy of Kara Reyne Trailer


A promotional video for the upcoming book The Legacy of Kara Reyne by Martin Cosgrove, a sequel to The Destiny of Ethan King.

“Set a century after the events depicted in The Destiny of Ethan King (available from Amazon now), The Legacy of Kara Reyne tells the story of a woman living in society oppressed by a totalitarian world government and battered by severe environmental issues. Kara continues the journey begun by Ethan so many years ago and decides to see it through to the end. Whatever that may mean.” [via]

I believe I recall the author mentioning via email this book includes a mystical library inspired by Hod on the Kabbalistic Tree of Life. As you might guess, I’ve got a soft spot for stories with mystical libraries …

Excerpt from The Destiny of Ethan King

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 3 from The Destiny of Ethan King by Martin Cosgrove which is offered at the Reading Room with permission from the author.

Martin Cosgrove's The Destiny of Ethan King


Elroy Stark shuffled up the steps to the Eternal Flame Christian Spiritualist Church one wet Monday afternoon. He was late again. His manager always managed to persuade him to stay for ‘just a few minutes’ to finish off some important document or other.

He shook his umbrella several times in quick succession when he reached the top step, folded it down and smoothed back his wet, greasy hair into an overly-slick Dracula style before entering the hall.

The meeting, as usual, was already under way and the spirit medium, Frederick Wallas, was sitting perfectly still and upright in a wooden chair at the front. His monotone voice bounced off the stone walls of the former Freemasons’ building.

Elroy’s scuffed leather shoes squeaked on the highly polished floorboards as he approached the back row of seats. He tried to shift his weight to prevent the squeaking, but ended up making it worse. A few heads spun around to look at him as he squelched his way towards them. One woman in her sixties saw it was Elroy, shook her head and turned back to face the medium. A red-headed, pale man sitting in the front row narrowed his eyes and glared at Elroy as if trying to kill him with his thoughts. That was ‘Bonny’ Benny, the Church’s founder.

Elroy sat on a chair right at the end of the back row, next to a lady he’d noticed at the last three meetings but had not spoken to. Her greying auburn hair was wavy and although it was fixed up tightly in a bun, a couple of wild strands frizzed out in a rebellious act totally at odds with her perfect posture. She sat with her hands folded neatly in her lap and looked to be in her early forties; at least ten years older than Elroy, but there was something about her lips and her flawless Snow White skin.

He wriggled in his seat, attempting to remove his arms from the sleeves of his sodden raincoat. He should have taken it off before he sat down, but the glaring had been too much. As he managed to extract his left arm, he elbowed Posture Lady, who shot him a sharp sideways look and cleared her throat before returning her attention to the medium.

“Damnit,” he muttered. “Sorry.” The other arm flew out as if controlled by some external force and he shoved the coat in a ball under his chair.

As he settled down to listen to Fred, he made a mental note to catch the earlier bus next week. He’d made that same mental note each week for the past six months, but this time he really meant it.

“The time is approaching when mankind will achieve its full potential.” Fred paused. He always paused for an uncomfortably long time between sentences when he was channelling the Vegans (or whoever it was this week), “When all will be made aware of Spirit,” he continued, his voice wheezy and slightly wrong – almost robotic. “But we are afraid that humanity must first pass through a terrible era of war, starvation and disease.”

Sounds great, Elroy thought. Fred said more or less the same thing each Monday as he channelled messages from the beings of the star Vega, or the planet Saturn or the unicorns from Never Never Land. They never gave specifics or a plan of action, just endless warnings of death and destruction. He could have stayed at home and watched BBC News for that.

But he didn’t stay at home. Something about the place fascinated him. Six months ago, after he’d been overlooked for the third time for promotion to supervisor at his insurance firm, Elroy had plunged head-first into a mid-life crisis. He preferred to think of it as a mid-life crisis and not a nervous breakdown; mid-life crises were more socially acceptable. He was 33 years old, single, stuck in a job he despised with no more opportunities for promotion in the foreseeable future and, worst of all, he suffered from clinical depression. He’d needed a change; something new. Something that would provide some answers.

The Eternal Flame Christian Spiritualist Church in Dagenham hadn’t provided any answers yet, but Elroy returned each week because it gave him a glimmer of hope that there was something more. More than offices and taxes and pensions. More than TV soaps and ironing shirts. Something beyond supermarket promotions and sofa company sales.

Elroy Stark needed to believe that there was more to human life than the concrete buildings and the endless stupidity that surrounded him day in, day out. He was desperately searching for the escape hatch out of his mundane, colourless life.

His parents, if he had still been in contact with them, would have reminded him how he was given every opportunity to make something of his life; to become somebody. They had sent him to one of the most prestigious public schools in the country, but the young Elroy hadn’t been interested. His barrister father was eager for his son to follow in his footsteps, but Elroy had been more interested in girls and art… and girls. When he failed all of his exams after they had spent thousands on his education, his parents practically disowned him.

When the meeting was over twenty minutes later, Elroy thought about introducing himself to the lady next to him, but instead he squeaked back out of the hall and went home to his microwavable lasagne.


That evening Elroy fell asleep on his sofa with a heavy philosophy book splayed open on his chest and an empty plastic microwave carton on the coffee table beside him.

Wake up, Elroy.

Elroy rolled over onto his side, the book thumped to the floor and he sat bolt upright.

Listen to me, Elroy.

Elroy rubbed his eyes hard in an attempt to shake off the dream.

Are you listening, Elroy?

Huh? He looked around the room. The television was switched off, so was the stereo. The voice wasn’t loud, but it was perfectly clear, as if someone else were in the room with him.

It’s okay. Don’t panic. Just listen to me.

“Who’s there?” Elroy jumped up off the sofa and stood on the book which went skidding out from under his foot, sending him flying back onto the sofa.

Just stay sitting down. It’s probably safer.

“Is someone playing a joke on me? Seriously – this isn’t funny now. Who’s here with me?”

Be quiet.

“I mean it, I –“

Well if we really must do this the hard way.

Elroy found himself unable to speak. His mouth and tongue were still moving to form words, but no sound came out. He began to panic and then, a few seconds later, he realised that he must still be dreaming which led him to recall a book about lucid dreaming he’d read a few months back and how it was best to try to relax into the dream and learn as much from it as possible. He sat back on the sofa and waited.

That’s much better. I have some important work to do with you. I am going to give you certain abilities that you will go on to use as tools in my greater plan. These abilities will set you apart, make you special. Powerful. Do I have your attention now?

A pause. Oh! You can talk again now.

“What’s your name?” Elroy asked, almost casually.

You can call me God if you like.

“Um, okay… God. What abilities are you going to give me?” He was addressing the light bulb on the ceiling just so he had some kind of point of reference for this disembodied voice.

The ability to see certain events that will occur in the future, the ability to influence other people’s minds and manipulate the four elements. You will also have control over a powerful force called cosmic energy. Stuff like that.

“That all sounds wonderful, God, but how will I know how to use these powers?” Elroy was settling into this dream now, enjoying it a little more.

Just do what feels right and things will work out fine.

“Will I be able to fly?”

No. Don’t be stupid, Elroy.

“Sorry.” Elroy looked at his shoes.

There is a boy called Ethan King. He too has certain abilities and he has the potential to destroy human civilisation as you now know it. Your job will be to prevent that from happening.

Elroy nodded slowly. “Right. But you say he has the potential… you’re God, don’t you already know for sure if he will or not?”

Don’t make me lecture you on the whole Free Will thing. A lot depends on the choices that Ethan makes in his life, which in turn will be influenced by the experiences he has. Let me show you the potential consequences of Ethan King’s actions; what he is capable of.

Instantly a barrage of images flooded Elroy’s mind. He saw a young, slender, fair-haired man standing opposite the Houses of Parliament; his eyes wild and inhuman. He saw a pyramid-shaped artifact with a globe on the top, he saw entire cities and government buildings exploding and disintegrating and finally, he saw the young man once more standing in the centre of a vast area of now barren land that was once London, his arms outstretched, a self-satisfied smile on his face.

The image focused in on the youngster’s left hand. He was holding something – some kind of pendent or talisman. Suddenly, and without trying, Elroy was able to see an enlarged image of the amulet – just like zooming in on a picture on the computer – and could make out that the sphere in the middle contained tiny crystals, amber in colour. They were glowing intensely, radiating some kind of raw, throbbing energy.

“What were those crystal things?” Elroy asked as the vision faded.

It is known as Universal Matter and, in the wrong hands, it has the power to destroy human civilisation.

“But how? What can it do? Where does it come from?”

Only Ethan King has the ability to create this mystical substance. And only he can destroy it. It generates unlimited energy and has the potential to solve all of humanity’s problems.

“That’s a good thing, right?”

Humanity is still too immature to handle such an infinitely powerful tool. It would be used to create weapons, to destroy, to further subdue billions of people.


Ethan King must be prevented from creating the Universal Matter, or at the very least, from sharing it with the world.

“If this is such an important task, if the survival of the human race is at stake, why are you asking me to help?” Elroy shifted on the couch.

Because you have a strong connection with this boy, one that may become clear in the near future. For now, just understand that Ethan King has to be stopped. I will leave it for you to decide how best to do that. Go back to sleep now, Elroy. Things will become clearer over the next few days.

And with that, God left and Elroy found himself going back to sleep. Or was he already asleep? He wasn’t sure and somehow didn’t really care.



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.

The Destiny of Ethan King

The Destiny of Ethan King by Martin Cosgrove has arrived at the Reading Room, courtesy of the author.

Martin Cosgrove's The Destiny of Ethan King


“A university professor discovers the notes of a little-known 12th century alchemist detailing the creation of a mystical substance called Universal Matter. This substance is capable of generating unlimited energy and has the power to either end humanity’s greatest problems, or destroy us all. The ancient documents claim that, when the time is right, one human soul will be given the ability to create Universal Matter. His name is Ethan King.” [via]


“An emotionally-charged tale of fantasy, the supernatural and the unexpected.

The Destiny of Ethan King has all the elements of a modern fantasy, but nothing is as straightforward as it first appears. Ethan’s life is turned upside-down by a series of events which are out of his control. And to top it all, he learns that he is the only person on the planet capable of creating a mystical substance with infinite power which could either end humanity’s greatest problems … or destroy us all.

Thrown into a world in which the boundaries between good and evil are blurred, Ethan is left with no choice but to embark on a cosmic adventure with potentially global consequences. The Liverpudlian teenager quickly learns that good and evil is a sliding scale present within each of us and that big words such as ‘destiny’ and ‘morality’ are a smoke screen when dealing with real matters of family, friendship and love.

The Destiny of Ethan King can be read on several levels. To the uninitiated, it reads as a modern fantasy in the style of The Magicians by Lev Grossman. To those adept at peeking behind the veil, however, this is an occult novel containing true esoteric knowledge drawn from Hermeticism and Kabbalah.”


“I would classify this book as an ‘occult novel’ in the traditional sense of Zanoni or The Red Lion for example; books that try to convey essential ‘truths’ about magic in a fictional context, often revealing actual occult practices and beliefs. That is what The Destiny of Ethan King is, a true ‘occult novel'” — Rawn Clark



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.