“A famed horror author is on the verge of his magnum opus—a labyrinthine cryptogram that details the end of days . . . ”
The time of prophecy has finally arrived, and Satan is hard at work to usher in the birth of his Antichrist. His well-laid plans began in Berkshire, England, in the 1300s, when Catherine Delaminaté and Vivian Noose danced with the devil and birthed his spawn. Now, their descendants must come together, centuries later, to complete the 666 and bring Armageddon to the world. Throughout the intervening years, a possessed doll named Christie has been influencing the villagers’ children for generations by taking possession of her owners, subtly manipulating them to her will. The time is now ripe for the devil’s offspring to come into the world and usher in the time of the ends of days, filled with debauchery, death, and disaster.
Fast forward to the year 2000, where the reader meets Gregory Stillingsworth and his wife Jamie. Gregory has known his destiny since his youth: to become a writer. Examples of his works are included throughout the book, and his characters seem to be intertwined with his own destiny. He wrote his first novel at age seven, and perfected his craft from age fourteen, typing all his manuscripts on a second-hand typewriter he calls Buford. The typewriter seems to speak to him with the mantra: “You and I forever. You and I together.” He is the author of seventy-three novels in the horror genre, works that spring from his mind fully formed, but his latest project is stalled as he experiences for the first time “writer’s block.” Though his office is filled with trinkets he has picked up in his travels around the world, including the doll Christie that he purchased on a recent trip to India, he can’t seem to find any inspiration. Jamie urges him to take a vacation, but his own demanding schedule and the writing rituals he holds himself too are slowly cracking his accomplished façade. Jamie is starting to fear for her husband’s sanity.
Then one night, Gregory goes out for a ride to clear his head and murders a prostitute, which allows him to begin work on his seventy-fourth novel, Writer’s Block: The Possession. His writer’s block resolved, and his old self restored, Gregory furiously goes to work on the story of author Marty Numan, which clearly mirrors his own existence. Throughout the work, he repeats the refrain: “He who writes is the possessed, seen through the eyes of the unsuspecting doll,” showing the reader that the story is true, and is in fact, his own story.
Gregory continues his spree, murdering his victims and saving their forefingers as macabre souvenirs until he has finished his novel. Jamie is initially relieved to have her husband back. She has given up her job as a lawyer and serves as his agent, proofreader, and biggest supporter. But he can’t hide his deterioration from her for long. His appearance and demeanor are slowly being destroyed as he willingly gives himself over to evil in order to give birth to his masterpiece. He kills, mutilates and buries over a hundred victims in a mass grave, but the police can’t seem to apprehend him. He turns in his manuscript and then, after another year of leading the police on a wild goose chase, eventually turns himself in. After his trial and conviction, his wife Jamie watches his execution…and then puts down the novel version of his life, praising her husband for his once-again brilliant work.
The reader’s relief is short-lived, however.
The line between fact and fiction has been blurred, and though Gregory’s destiny has been revealed as fiction, the reader soon learns that his novel was based on reality. Gregory still keeps the souvenirs of his bloody murders in his desk drawn to spur him on in his sequel to Writer’s Block, which his publisher is eagerly awaiting.
Meanwhile, the doll’s possession of his body and soul has been completed. While Jamie fights to save herself and her husband through any means possible, Gregory is locked in a prison of his own making. Jamie goes to a Council of priests for help, but though they try to exorcise the demon, they cannot triumph over its strength and are brutally slaughtered. The doll triumphs over Jamie’s feeble attempt and, with classic horror movie imagery, uses its power to cause Jamie and Gregory to come together to conceive the Antichrist. While their possession is complete, they are able to keep up appearances in the outside world, even as they are haunted by gruesome visions of the future and horrific foreshadowings of things to come. As Jamie’s due date draws nearer, her true condition is revealed. She lays upon her bed, moaning and suffering, completely at the mercy of the beast within her.
When Jamie gives birth to a monster, she knows something must be done, but she is kept in thrall by the evil spirit. A year later, her son Demad has the appearance of an adorable toddler, but she cannot remember the details of his birth. She struggles within herself to determine what is true and what was merely a nightmare. When she has a vision of good and evil poised to fight, she learns that she must learn about her bloodline to unravel the mystery, and that her answer lies in Valhalla. While she struggles to figure out what is real, Jamie is trapped in a nightmarish reality. When Gregory goes on a reunion trip with some of his fraternity brothers, taking Demad with him, Jamie uses the opportunity to search Gregory’s novels for clues. She discovers that he has been prophetically including information in his novels that he could not have possibly known at the time. Each work has clues, hidden just for her. She slowly starts to piece together a picture of their predicament, which has been recorded since Gregory’s very first novel that he wrote at the age of seven. The enraged Christie, having given up some of her power to possess a human host, looks on.
Meanwhile, Gregory’s editor Silvia has also discovered that his works are more “real” than she previously suspected. In trying to unravel the mystery, she reveals to the president of the publishing house that she has witnessed some strange things at the Stillingsworth’s home—and she discovers that her entire world has been unknowingly inhabited by demons masquerading as her fellow coworkers. With danger all around, threatening to annihilate her existence, her first thought is her family and she rushes out to save them. How deep does the Satanic plot go?
God and the Devil are playing a literal chess match in their struggle for humanity, as the novel rushes to its thrilling cliffhanger. Jamie is struggling in search of the key that will unlock her freedom; Gregory is travelling with a cabal of fraternity brothers who may have a sinister purpose for his one-year-old son; and his editor Silvia is fighting for her life. Satan’s Legions are poised, ready to strike, while a heavenly host waits to oppose them.
The twists and turns riddled throughout The Possession is but a mere prelude to the abundance of true-to-life connections in human history as it relates to the Divine Drama and the, actual, war of the angels. Within this book, I painstakingly merged history and intricately tied it firmly to the prose. Though entertaining, the book is but scattered pieces of a grand story that no writer has ever attempted to tell—the orthodox meaning and purpose behind the infamous Codex Gigas—the Devils Bible.
Writer’s Block: The Possession is a horror story, a psychological thriller, and a labyrinthine cryptogram that the reader must unravel one scene at a time. With no way to tell what is truth and what is fiction from Gregory’s perspective, the reader is lead to wonder how much of this novel is autobiographical information from the real author’s perspective, taking the horror factor from the realm of fiction into the realm of possibility.
As part one of a trilogy, The Possession leaves the reader on the edge of his seat, chewing his nails, waiting for a resolution.