I’m hosting a snippet today from “The Goddess and The Great Beast”. Have fun reading.
Read The Excerpt
So, as a million stars twinkled feverishly through the hazy, drowsy air, I laboured along the alleys of old Baghdad in search of Babylon. I followed Farouk through the dark and disorienting maze, a crate of whiskey in my arms and a fluttering of excitement in my chest. Crumbling mud-brick hovels, decaying under the constant grinding erosion of the desert winds that swept in from the north, rubbed shoulders with rusting corrugated iron shacks that were slowly being eaten away by the waves of salty air that drifted over from the Bahr al-Milh, the Lake of Salt, to the south-west. Every now and then a modern concrete hotel in the now slightly passé, and slightly tatty, Art Deco style stood incongruously amid the rows of impoverished shops and dwellings and ruins. The streets were haphazardly lit, but busy with a tumbling mass of people and animals who all seemed to be watching me with glazed, empty stares. I felt as if I was under constant surveillance, although my observers had no interest whatsoever in what I was doing. I tried to ignore my paranoia and not lose sight of Farouk.
Baghdad itself was an Arab development, an eighth century new-town, but, like most major cities, it had hosted an ever-shifting population of many different peoples and their many forms of belief over the years. According to Farouk what remained included a very small oasis of the old Babylonian religion which had been here before Baghdad. I didn’t know whether to believe him. It all sounded a bit far-fetched. Well, a lot far-fetched, but he seemed as genuine about this as he was whenever a shipment of any sort of contraband was involved, and I was desperate for some excitement, so I suspended my disbelief and kept following him.
Babylon itself, of course, had long since faded into uncertain memory, a misunderstood myth amid impenetrable desert ruins. However, as there had been Jews in the Babylonian world and there were still Jews in the modern world, despite Adolf’s best efforts, I was hopeful that maybe Farouk’s Babylonian sect had been equally tenacious, or bloody-minded, and preserved their unrestrained pagan rituals down the millennia for my enlightenment. At the very least I hoped a night of heathen entertainment would relieve my stifling ennui.
My heart was now thumping in anticipation of the possibility that I just might be about to witness a living relic of ancient Babylonia. There was also the effort of carrying a case of bottles of whiskey through the steamy, humid night. Farouk had graciously offered for his boy to carry the burden, but I wasn’t sure I trusted him either to manage the heavy and awkward box, or to not just run off with it and devour the entire contents in some abandoned wadi on the edge of town.
About The Book
Author: Adrian Gross
Genre: Supernatural Thriller
1942: a bored British soldier in Baghdad; a beautiful Babylonian Goddess; a sacred marriage unconsummated.
Five years later, in a dreary post-war London, the Goddess must be satisfied.
Can anyone save her demobbed consort from eternal torment?
Or eternal bliss?
Can he save himself?
Does he even want to be saved?
And what’s it got to do with the ‘wickedest man in the world’?
Adrian Gross is a British writer. Some bits of him used to be Irish and some others were once Hungarian. He lives close to Glastonbury and likes to bang his little heavy metal head whilst drinking chewy real ale!
He has endured many terrible jobs, including adrenaline-junkie motorcycle courier, record shop dude-with-bad-attitude, and air traffic control disaster limitation assistant.
When his aching bones and throbbing hangover allow, he plays football (soccer) and rides bicycles up and down the Mendip Hills.