Nada Marjanovic, professor of Sanskrit at the University of Zagreb, has spent more than twenty years translating an obscure text on the vetala, a parasitic, vampire-like being that possesses the bodies of his victims. When her mentor and collaborator in the Indian city of Pune dies, she finds herself face-to-face with the undead that the text describes, an evil which long ago killed her lover – and set her on the path of an obsessive scholarly revenge. She must rely on her intellect, mythic lore, and even dreams to piece together the mystery of the manuscript.
The vetala’s opposition grows increasingly violent as Nada nears the book’s conclusion, and with the help of two colleagues, struggles to decipher its climactic secret, which would allow her to exorcise the demon at last – freeing not only the mysterious man whom he has possessed for centuries, but also, perhaps, her own imprisoned and forgotten love. Suspenseful and unforgettable, Phillip Ernest’s debut novel captures the most universal elements of human experience – even the monsters we face.
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