I have referred to this book on many occasions on this blog.
It was the early 90s. We would gather together in ET's basement, between his father's bookshelf. Within were a number of books, including Heinlein' Starship Troopers and a lot of other sci-fi stuff.
However, one book that really drew me eye was a book whose author was completely unknown to me. Its title shared the anonymity. One day, I asked if I could borrow the book. As I opened the green-colored covered with a green-flamed covered devil's face upon it. The highly philosophical and social commentary is full of venom and quite poignant. I was brought into a sordid story where all the virtues of the world turned out to be vices. Where everyone has deep, dark and hidden secrets.
The story opens on an abandoned castle in France. There, the Baron de Luizzi waits for midnight. At midnight, he is to ring a tiny silver silver bell that will summon the devil to do his bidding as his ancestors have done before him.
From there, he visits every levels of French society: from the high salons to the low-brow taverns, from provincial estates to the ratholes and ditches of the bandits. The devil's influence is subtle and everywhere.
This book, more than any other has taught me about the nature of evil, and how the devil works. How he goes from seductive to threatening. How he puts a loving smile to the worse aspects of things. How he lies blantantly, how he lies by omission, how he cajoles the truth. That devil, I tell you, is delightfully disgusting while being revoltingly charming.
I read that book shortly before I became really involved in Vampire.
I must read volume 2 again.
But I'm afraid.