August 13th, 2010
Johannes Cabal sold his soul to Satan in exchange for necromantic knowledge. He allowed the soul to be taken immediately, under the theory that he didn’t really need it anyway. However, he has since discovered that the lack of a soul is impacting his ability to properly conduct scientific experiments in his field. The only thing for it is to go to Hell and demand his soul back, decides the eminently reasonable man. Satan, however, isn’t sure he agrees, and the two decide upon a wager. If Johannes Cabal can, in the course of a year, persuade 100 people to sign over their souls to the devil, Satan will return Cabal’s soul to him in exchange for the 100. To aid him, Johannes is given control of an evil carnival—because carnivals are, of course, known as places in which humans can be tempted by delights into actions they would never otherwise consider. Johannes, not being a carnival sort of fellow himself, enlists the assistance of his charming, though vampiric, brother Horst—and the Cabal Bros Carnival is born! Over the course of the next year, the carnival moves from town to town, encountering roadblocks—both literal and figurative—along the way. Finally it comes down to the very last day of the year and Johannes needs only one more soul—but an unusually astute ex-policeman in this very last town has figured out what’s afoot with this strange carnival and is bound and determined to do whatever it takes to thwart Johannes’ plans.
Dryly humorous, witty, fast-paced, and thoroughly enjoyable, “Johannes Cabal the Necromancer” is an admirable addition to the subgenre of horror/fantasy I like to call “funny Faustian tales.” (And yes, there are other books in this genre, odd though it sounds!)
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Entry Filed under: Fantasy