Could It Be…Satan? 10 Great Books Featuring The Devil
This post is sponsored by The Gentleman by Forrest Leo.
A funny, fantastically entertaining debut novel, in the spirit of Wodehouse and Monty Python, about a famous poet who inadvertently sells his wife to the devil–then recruits a band of adventurers to rescue her. Lionel and his friends encounter trapdoors, duels, anarchist-fearing bobbies, the social pressure of not knowing enough about art history, and the poisonous wit of his poetical archenemy. Fresh, action-packed and very, very funny, this debut novel The Gentleman by Forrest Leo is a giddy farce that recalls the masterful confections of P.G. Wodehouse and Hergé’s beautifully detailed Tintin adventures.
When Amanda gave me this assignment, I had just finished reading The Gentleman, which made it feel serendipitous. I don’t know if feeling serendipity in regards to
Daddy Satan is a good thing, but I do know he is featured in a lot of good books. There are, of course, the old classics everyone knows: Rosemary’s Baby, Faust, The Devil and Daniel Webster, The Exorcist, Good Omens, etc. But I decided to go with (mostly) recent-ish books (that aren’t Damned or Horns) in the hopes that you may find a couple of new things to read. Aren’t I an angel? (Wait, isn’t The Devil an angel, too? It’s all starting to make sense now…)
Heaven and Hell by Kristen Ashley
Because of something she did when she was young, Kia winds up in hell. Things are not very interesting, when suddenly, her celebrity crush, Sampson Cooper arrives. But Kia always thought him a decent man – how did he wind up in hell? But soon, Sam has Kia believing she can find her way into heaven, but should she trust him? Even if the alternative means eternal damnation. A delightful look at good and evil.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Okay, this isn’t recent, but this book is SO AMAZING, I had to mention it. Widely considered one of the best Soviet satires, M&M is about Satan paying a visit to the Soviet Union. But he isn’t even the interesting part! His entourage is way more fascinating, and includes the “the mischievous, gun-happy, fast-talking black cat Behemoth.” Even if this wasn’t one of the best books ever written, Bulgakov had me at ‘talking cat.”
The Weirdness by Jeremy Bushnell
Billy Ridgeway is in kind of a rut, living a mundane, slacker existence, when Satan shows up on his couch. He doesn’t want Billy’s soul – he wants his help saving the world. Honest. Forces are moving against him to destroy the planet, and hey, Satan lives here, too. Kinda. But should Billy really trust the devil? Of course, the alternative might be the destruction of the world, and also, Billy doesn’t really have much going on at the moment, so why not? This book is hilarious and fun, and oh my stars and garters, that cover!
I, Lucifer by Glen David Duncan
Before he was writing werewolves, Duncan dealt with the Devil. This one is about the hooved one himself. Satan has just received an offer: live one lifetime as a well-behaved human on Earth, and then he can reenter Heaven. He thinks it will be a piece of cake, but what should be a quick adventure turns into a lesson for Lucifer about what it means to be human. It’s great fun.
Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman
When Isobel turned sixteen, she got a job. It’s working for The Devil, but hey, it’s employment. Now working as his right-hand woman to oversee his employees in his southwest territories, Isobel must navigate the wild terrain and her dangerous boss. This book is SPECTACULAR, and the first of two. But don’t fret – the second one is out in January 2017.
Me and the Devil Blues 1: The Unreal Life of Robert Johnson by Akira Hiramoto
Manga! About a legendary blues guitarist! How cool is that??? If you’re not familiar with the story of Robert Johnson, supposedly he met the Devil at midnight one evening at the crossroads in Mississippi, and sold him his soul in return for his amazing guitar-playing abilities. The amazing illustrations make selling your soul look like a good deal.
Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L. Howard
Ohhhhhh, how I love this series! This is the first of four books, about a scientist who sold his soul to the Devil in return for the powers of necromancy, but now he wants it back. Satan agrees on one condition: Johannes has one year to get one hundred people to surrender their souls. Agreeing to the deal Johannes wrangles up a rag-tag gang of undead to help him complete this task, and hits the road! This is a trippy, tremendously enjoyable Faustian adventure!
The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle
Pepper is the newest resident of Hyde Hospital’s psychiatric ward, which with it’s budget restraints and terrible staff, seems like hell. But it might actually really be Hell, because it appears Satan is also an inmate. Now Pepper must fight to save his life and the lives of the other residents from evil – but how can you convince people the Devil is real when you’ve been locked up for being crazy? Great, creepy fun.
The Devil in the Valley by Castle Freeman, Jr.
I adore Castle Freeman, Jr. so, so, so much. This is a retelling of Faust, about a Vermont man named Taft who makes a deal with a stranger: whatever he wants, for a price. But when the stranger comes to collect, Taft isn’t so sure he’s ready to give him what he wants. It’s a clever spin on a classic, examining human nature in regards to the things we want most in life, and how we feel if we are actually given the opportunity to have them.
The Devil’s Detective by Simon Kurtz Unsworth
Committing murder is totally fine in Hell, expected even, but when a crime outdoes even the most horrible things the Devil has seen, he dispatches Thomas Fool, an Information Man, to find the killer. Because you shouldn’t show up Satan. But this is Hell we’re talking about. When everyone around is a terrible person, how will Thomas be able to tell who is the worst? This is an inventive mystery, like a police procedural set in the Upside-Down.