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The Priest: A Gothic Romance by Thomas M.…
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The Priest: A Gothic Romance (1994)

by Thomas M. Disch

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Showing 5 of 5
Heh. What a great read. I absolutely love Disch. I'd give this five stars except that would attract the wrong audience. If Shakespeare is like fine wine, Disch is like a double shot of Old Heaven Hill. (Yep.) ( )
  Farree | May 18, 2018 |
The Supernatural Minnesota books are just so damned good. The MD will remain one of the greatest literary horror novels of all time, but the other three are in no way to be sneezed at.

The Priest seems like an appropriate read at the moment. When it came out the various scandals that were rocking the Catholic Church were pretty bad, but few could have imagined the deluge to come. Well, Disch did, in a kind of murderous, tragic, apocalyptic way. Now there's a new pope and he taint of scandal has been irrevocably ingrained into the substance of the Church, and Disch's gothic vision of conservative Catholic values run amok in the modern world is pretty much a spot-on piece of savagely satirical entertainment.

In The Priest, a paedophile priest - an ephebophile, really - is blackmailed into, amongst other things, getting an enormous tattoo of Satan on his torso. Passing out while under the needle, he wakes up in the time and body of a medieval bishop in the throes of the orgy of torture and slaughter that was the Albigensian Crusade. Worse still, the medieval bishop wakes up in the priest's time and body. Hi-jinks ensue.

Oh, what a tangled, nasty tale. Disch's trenchant anti-catholcism is in full flight. With anyone else that might have led to something rather unsatisfying, but Disch's focus on the documented evils, while taking a side-swipe at a thinly disguised cult founded by a science fiction writer that's half Hubbard, half Streiber, and his merciless dissection of human vanity, means that even with the supernatural body and time jumping elements, this is a meditation on all-too-human and all-too-banal acts of evil. It's also a gut=wrenching exercise in mounting suspense, and the moment when the bishop is loosed on the pregnant girls trapped in the cells under the cathedral is agonising.

In the ongoing series of where-was-I-when-I-first-read-this, I borrowed The Priest from Cork City Library and read it on breaks and during lunches while working in Dunnes Stores in Douglas sometime in the mid-nineties. Hell of a book. ( )
2 vote Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
Terrific story. the twist and turns maje this one of my favorite books. ( )
  underdogrides | Mar 15, 2012 |
The cover attracted me when this novel first came out, I admit it. When I read the synopsis inside I was sure I had in my hands a book I would devour immediately. How far off the mark was I? Only about 15 years. That's how long it took for me to finally read the whole thing. I'm sure I tried in 1995 and recently found a postcard in it dated from 2001, so I obviously tried again and failed to read it. As part of a half-hearted purge I decided that if I couldn't finish it on the 3rd try I'd kick it to the curb.

Well I finished it and it wasn't as terrible as it must have seemed to me in 1995 and 2001. This time its disjointed nature did more than frustrate me, it sort of jogged me along. I won't say I read it with relish, for I don't think there's a single character with whom I'd care to have dinner, but I did find the strange plot reasonably interesting.

There's the priest referred to in the title - a man, when he's knocked unconscious, who is susceptible to transporting into the body of another man who lived and died in the 13th century. Not so bad, but the reverse also happens - the 13th century man occupies the priest's body in modern-day Minnesota. Meanwhile there's not one, but two people blackmailing the priest for his pedophile crimes of decades past, a horrific tattoo of satan's face on said priest's chest, a "home" for girls feared to want abortions (really it's a prison to force them to bring their fetuses to term), rogue priests, henchmen and a science fiction author turned cult leader who also believes himself to have been transported to the 13th century (to the very dungeon where the priest's doppelganger holds sway over the inquisition's torture chamber). Phew. A lot going on, but it manages to tie itself up into a reasonable facsimile of a knot. There are a few dangling plot devices and characters and a couple of unknowns, but I didn't like the story or any of the characters enough to care. I won't be reading any of the others in the series. ( )
1 vote Bookmarque | May 5, 2010 |
A priest with a history of abusing young boys is blackmailed. ( )
  TonySandel | Sep 16, 2007 |
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Epigraph
Kill them all. God will look after His own. --Arnald-Amalric, Abbott of Citeaux, at the massacre of Beziers, 1209
Kill 'em all. Let God sort 'em out. --A popular US t-shirt, 1986
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For Phil Marsh, hoopster, hipster, excellent role model
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The grass was unnaturally green.
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Book description
Father Patrick Bryce, a Catholic priest with a present-day Minneapolis parish - and a pedophile past. He's spent time at a church-run retreat for priests of his persuasion and returned "rehabilitated": even better equipped to keep his vice active and hidden.

Until the blackmail begins.

It comes from three different sources (his own bishop being one), and each tops the next in imaginative proposals: Father Pat mus head a militant (and probably illegal) anti-abortion campaign; Father Pat must apologize to each of his victims, face-to-face; Father Pat must read, and be ready to discuss, the work of a bizarre cult science fiction writer, and get the face of Satan tattooed on his chest. But the blackmailers and their demands are the least of Father Pat's problems. More dire is his increasingly incontrovertible sense that the nightmares in which he has been leading the life of a thirteenth-century bishop are not dreams at all. And that the Church, rife with corruption and scandal in both eras, is the only realistic sanctuary for him and his doppelganger, Bishop Silvanus de Roquefort, as they move - at once separately and together - through their own centuries-spanning maze of soul-killing horrors toward a distinctly hellish destiny.

Read more: http://thebookmarque.blogspot.com/#ix...
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On the surface, Father Pat Bryce of Minneapolis is a fine man, a pro-life activist running a boarding house for pregnant girls to save them from an abortion. In reality, he is a pederast with a fondness for altar boys and he is shelling out parish funds to keep a blackmailer quiet. The story of a double life.… (more)

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