The Holy

The Holy

4.3 14
by Daniel Quinn

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They knew us before we began to walk upright. Shamans called them guardians, mythmakers called them tricksters, pagans called them gods, churchmen called them demons, folklorists called them shape-shifters. They’ve obligingly taken any role we’ve assigned them, and, while needing nothing from us, have accepted whatever we thought was their due


They knew us before we began to walk upright. Shamans called them guardians, mythmakers called them tricksters, pagans called them gods, churchmen called them demons, folklorists called them shape-shifters. They’ve obligingly taken any role we’ve assigned them, and, while needing nothing from us, have accepted whatever we thought was their due – love, hate, fear, worship, condemnation, neglect, oblivion. 
Even in modern times, when their existence is doubted or denied, they continue to extend invitations to those who would travel a different road, a road not found on any of our cultural maps. But now, perceiving us as a threat to life itself, they issue their invitations with a dark purpose of their own. In this dazzling metaphysical thriller, four who put themselves in the hands of these all-but-forgotten Others venture across a sinister American landscape hidden from normal view, finding their way to interlocking destinies of death, terror, transcendental rapture, and shattering enlightenment.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

The Los Angeles Times
Rocky Mountian News
"Should keep readers turning pages long into the night."
Publishers Weekly
A detective goes demon hunting in this supernatural mystery from the bestselling author of Ishmael. Chicago sexagenarian private eye Howard Sheim is hired by millionaire Aaron Fischer to probe the existence of Baal, Ashtoroth and Moloch, "false gods" named in the Old Testament book of Exodus. The search leads him to a self-styled mystic who, after reading his future with tarot cards, refers Howard to a teenage seer, Richard Holloway. The boy tells him that there are those living among us-he calls them "yoo-hoos"-who are not really human, though he has no idea exactly what they are. After consulting a rabbi and a warlock, the skeptical Howard is about ready to throw in the towel and go back to his missing-person cases. The narrative switches to follow the quixotic odyssey of 42-year-old Midwesterner David Kennesey, who suddenly abandons his wife and 12-year-old son and heads west without a thought to his destination. Separately, his wife and son embark on their own quests to find him. After adventures in Chicago and Vegas, David stumbles into a mountain Shangri-La inhabited by a woman named Andrea and her coterie of oddball denizens. Back in Chicago, Howard-now with David's son-tracks David to Andrea's, where he finds out that the gods are alive and up to their old tricks. Quinn's playful metaphysical sleuthing and cast of chimerical figures are entertaining, but fans of Ishmael and After Dachau may feel that this book doesn't have quite the originality or moral weight of his earlier efforts. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The latest New Age rant from Quinn (Beyond Civilization, 1999, etc.) includes Chicago gumshoe Howie Scheim's toughest case: tracking down the devil. He's had a lot of aliases down the years (Beelzebub, Baal, Moloch), and Quinn adds a few more (Yoo-Hoo, most memorably). Howie Scheim doesn't normally take on missing devil cases, but this time a dying Chicago millionaire named Aaron Fischer gives him twenty grand for the work, with the promise of another fifty once he finds his man. Aaron can't help wondering about all those times in the Old Testament when the Jews abandoned the God of Israel to worship Baal and Ashtaroth and whoever else. The Israelites were not dumb, after all, so Aaron wants to know: What did they see in these false gods? What had they to offer? Howie thinks Aaron has bats in his belfry from the start, but twenty grand is twenty grand, so off he goes. First stop is an old pal at the Trib, who puts him in touch with a psychic, who puts him in touch with a clairvoyant, who puts him in touch with a Satanist, and so on-the usual networking, but in a very different network. Howie learns early on that there's a lot more going on here than he would have been willing to grant at the start. For one thing, all our ideas about spirituality and God have been deformed by the established secular and religious authorities. Satan is not an evil spirit; he is the incarnation of courage and daring. In fact, he's not really Satan at all-his name is Pablo, and he's a nice guy who has always had a soft spot in his heart for humanity. And, yes, Howie does get to meet him. This could have been a great exercise in high camp-except for the fact that the author seems in deadly earnest. Firstprinting of 35,000; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour
From the Publisher
“Quinn presents an electrifying, provocative, and dryly amusing thriller with cosmic dimensions.” — Booklist

“The Holy should keep readers turning its pages long into the night, searching for answers.”—Rocky Mountain News

Product Details

Steerforth Press
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Penguin Random House Publisher Services
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File size:
4 MB

Meet the Author

Daniel Quinn is the author of Ishmael, The Story of B, My Ishmael, and Tales of Adam. He lives with his wife, Rennie, in Houston, Texas.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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The Holy 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I admit that I had high hopes for this book, after reading other of Quinn's works (My Ishmael, The Story of B, After Dachau, and another short one thats name escapes me)

Anyway, it was rather interesting to read but overall story lacked any real content that you can walk away with. After I finished the book I thought, "ok, thats it" and all but forgot about it. There were certainly specific points in the book that interested me but they were so few and far between that I feel unsatisfied by the content.

Quinn is still a great author with some of the best points of view that I have come across and I appreciate his work, I just dont think that this was his best so far.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Quinn, like many writers before him, has written himself out of ideas. This book is poorly organized, inescapably incoherent, and void of the lesssons and wonderful ideas of all previous attempts. Like Jabbar, Steven King and George Foreman, Quinn should have hung em up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Daniel Quinn truly has one of the clearest visions of our world today. This book, and all of Quinns books are extremely important and they demand attention and recognition above that of a mere "supernatural thriller." The messages in these books are what the bible should have said.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am familiar with most of Quinn's work. It has never failed to move me. The Holy is no exception. It is a very well written and exciting book that I read in record time. It gave me, and will give you a new perspective on life, religion and the story we are all told. Have a great time reading!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like the rest of Daniel Quinn's work, The Holy has changed my attitude about life and how I live it. As I sit here and write this review on my computer I look out my window into the forest and know there is a lot of things that exist, and occur, that can't be explained. If the mysterious don't seem mysterious to you, give The Holy a read. You never know what will happen within you and around you after.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all of Daniel Quinn's books several times, and I have to say The Holy is the best. My previous favorite was After Dachau. But then, I'm a reader of novels. I wait avidly for the newest novel by an author whose work captivates me. And The Holy and After Dachau are the only Quinn books that I consider truly novels, rather than teaching novels. Sure, Quinn's thoughts and ideas are there, as they are in all his books. But they aren't spelled out for you. You have to absorb them as you live the book through the characters. I've been waiting for a book from Quinn that I can introduce to friends who are readers of novels but wouldn't touch a book that smacks of "teaching." In The Holy, I've found that book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Holy illuminated the spiritual side of my life, and peace and power are the gifts I have received from this great inspirational work. After reading it, I threw away all my self-help books! Thank you, Daniel Quinn.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Unlike other reviewers here, I'm a first-time Quinn reader, so I have no idea whether The Holy is his best or not, but I can tell you it's one heck of a book, a true supernatural thriller that I can only compare (favorably) to books like The Shining and Shadowland, with a cast of unforgettable characters that climb off the page right into your head. I opened it the other night after dinner, figuring I'd read till bedtime--wrong! I couldn't quit till I turned the last page at 3 a.m. If I had a couple of books this good to read every week, I'd be in heaven!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When you read Stephen King or Anne Rice or Clive Barker, you know they're only kidding. They don't really believe in demon-possessed cars, immortal vampires, or faerie worlds hidden in large carpets. When you read The Holy--a novel as fantastic, as gripping, and as terrifying as any produced by King, Rice, or Barker--you'll know that Daniel Quinn isn't kidding. In this regard (and this only), The Holy is similar to The Exorcist, another book by an author who wasn't kidding (it was based on the true story of a child's demonic possession in the 1940s). People reacted powerfully to The Exorcist, both as a book and as a film, because they perceived clearly that William Peter Blatty wasn't just giving them a fright they would later laugh about. (I've always believed The Exorcist probably brought more people to the Roman Catholic Church than The Song of Bernadette did.) Even if you aren't a believer, reading or seeing The Exorcist can make you teeter in your disbelief. Quinn's book will have the same effect on you. It will have the same effect, because you'll recognize that the supernatural realm he's exploring is not one he just made up to give you a scare. It's a realm that humans have acknowledged and taken seriously for as long as there have been humans, a realm familiar to shamans in every land, a realm discussed in the scriptures of every religion (including the Bible), a realm that was alive and thriving before the first humans walked the earth and will be alive and thriving when we're gone. The jacket notes describe the inhabitants of the realm this way: "They knew us before we began to walk upright. Shamans called them guardians, myth-makers called them tricksters, pagans called them gods, churchmen called them demons, folklorists called them shape-shifters. They've obligingly taken any role we've assigned them, and, while needing nothing from us, have accepted whatever we thought was their due--love, hate, fear, worship, condemnation, neglect, oblivion." The publisher describes this as a metaphysical thriller, and it is. But it's also much more. Like any really great book, it's one you'll definitely want to read more than once.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In THE HOLY, a private investigator who is living a dull, eventless life is offered an event. A friend needs a mystery solved: Why did people throughout history turn away from the great eternal, supernatural, omnipotent God that we meet in the major monotheisms and look to the gods of pagans for their deepest needs? Sounds like a job for a PhD in theology, but in this story, it is the task of a reluctant, regular guy. The investigation takes him across the country where he meets individuals that you probably wouldn¿t seek out for spiritual advice. Yet, as he begins to explore what these people are saying (and showing) to him, he begins to see things differently. I found myself amazed by the alternative perspectives offered by the people this man visits. I thought I may have finished the book, and then I realized THE HOLY was just beginning! Another man from another place, on an impulse, leaves his job, his home, and his family to journey into no-where. Or at least, no-where any of us have ever gone. I cannot begin to describe the places and experiences that this man encounters in his voyage into this shady, unknown world of mystery. It¿s dark, surreal, and even scary at the same time that it¿s enchanting and magical. The realizations that this man comes to about himself and about life in general will knock you light-years off your keel. The experiences and emotions these characters go through shed light on why we so often find ourselves unsatisfied and take us to places where life NEVER gets boring. The characters in this book travel intertwining roads in a master-crafted tale of how some ordinary people are presented with opportunities that lead them all over the country, and eventually to those mysterious presenters themselves! This is the shocker that will change the lives of the book¿s characters, but will also change the way we see religion, our own lives, and the world itself. If you've ever felt too familiar with life or too shelled in by the world as you know it, this book is your answer. Talk about a shaking up!!