The Exorcist

The Exorcist

by William Peter Blatty

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reprint)

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Originally published in 1971, The Exorcist is now a major television series on FOX. It remains one of the most controversial novels ever written and went on to become a literary phenomenon: It spent fifty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, seventeen consecutively at number one. Inspired by a true story of a child’s demonic possession in the 1940s, William Peter Blatty created an iconic novel that focuses on Regan, the eleven-year-old daughter of a movie actress residing in Washington, D.C. A small group of overwhelmed yet determined individuals must rescue Regan from her unspeakable fate, and the drama that ensues is gripping and unfailingly terrifying.

Two years after its publication, The Exorcist was, of course, turned into a wildly popular motion picture, garnering ten Academy Award nominations. On opening day of the film, lines of the novel’s fans stretched around city blocks. In Chicago, frustrated moviegoers used a battering ram to gain entry through the double side doors of a theater. In Kansas City, police used tear gas to disperse an impatient crowd who tried to force their way into a cinema. The three major television networks carried footage of these events; CBS’s Walter Cronkite devoted almost ten minutes to the story. The Exorcist was, and is, more than just a novel and a film: it is a true landmark.

Purposefully raw and profane, The Exorcist still has the extraordinary ability to disturb readers and cause them to forget that it is “just a story.” Published here in this beautiful fortieth anniversary edition, it remains an unforgettable reading experience and will continue to shock and frighten a new generation of readers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061007224
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

William Peter Blatty is a writer and filmmaker. The Exorcist, written in 1971, is his magnum opus; he also penned the subsequent screenplay, for which he won an Academy Award. His most recent works include the novels Elsewhere, Dimiter, and Crazy.

Read an Excerpt


By William Peter Blatty


Copyright ©1994 William Peter Blatty
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0613913396

Chapter One

Like the brief doomed flare of exploding suns that registers dimly on blind men's eyes, the beginning of the horror passed almost unnoticed; in the shriek of what followed, in fact, was forgotten and perhaps not connected to the horror at all. it was difficult to judge.

The house was a rental. Brooding. Tight. A brick colonial ripped by ivy in the Georgetown section of Washington, D.C. Across the street, was a fringe of campus belonging to Georgetown University; to the rear, a sheer embankment plummeting steep to busy M Street and, beyond, the muddy Potomac. Early on the morning of April 1, the house was quiet. Chris MacNeil was propped in bed, going over her lines for the next day's filming; Regan, her daughter, was sleeping down the hall; and asleep downstairs in a room off the pantry were the middle-aged housekeepers, Willie and Karl. At approximately 12:25 A.M., Chris glanced from her script with a frown of puzzlement. She heard rapping sounds. They were odd. Muffled. Profound. Rhythmically clustered. Alien code tapped out by a dead man.


She listened for a moment; then dismissed it; but as the rappings persisted she could not concentrate. She slapped down the script on the bed.

Jesus, that bugs me!

She got up toinvestigate.

She went out to the hallway and looked around. It seemed to be coming from Regan's bedroom.

What is she doing?

She padded down the hall and the rappings grew suddenly louder, much faster, and as she pushed on the door and stepped into the room, they abruptly ceased.

What the heck's going on?

Her pretty eleven-year-old was asleep, cuddled tight to a large stuffed round-eyed panda. Pookey. Faded from years of smothering; years of smacking, warm, wet kisses.

Chris moved softly to her bedside and leaned over for a whisper. "Rags? You awake?"

Regular breathing. Heavy. Deep.

Chris shifted her glance around the room. Dim light from the hall fell pale and splintered on Regan's paintings; on Regan's sculptures; on more stuffed animals.

Okay, Rags. old mother's ass is draggin'. Say it. "April Fool!"

And yet Chris knew it wasn't like her. The child had a shy and very diffident nature. Then who was the trickster? A somnolent mind imposing order on the rattlings of heating pipes or plumbing? Once, in the mountains of Bhutan, she had stared for hours at a Buddhist monk who was squatting on the ground in meditation. Finally, she thought she had seen him levitate. Perhaps. Recounting the story to someone, she invariably added "perhaps." And perhaps her mind, that untiring raconteur of illusion, had embellished the rappings.

Bullshit! I heard it!

Abruptly, she flicked a quick glance to the ceiling. There! Faint scratchings.

Rats in the attic, for pete's sake! Rats!

She sighed. That's it. Big tails. Thump, thump. She felt oddly relieved. And then noticed the cold. The room. It was icy.

She padded to the window. Checked it. Closed. She touched the radiator. Hot.

Oh, really?

Puzzled, she moved to the bedside and touched her hand to Regan's cheek. It was smooth as thought and lightly perspiring

I must be sick!

She looked at her daughter, at the turned-up nose and freckled face, and on a quick, warm impulse leaned over the bed and kissed her cheek. "I sure do love you," she whispered, then returned to her room and her bed and her script.

For a while, Chris studied. The film was a musical comedy remake of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. A subplot had been added dealing with campus insurrections. Chris was starring. She played a psychology teacher who sided with the rebels. And she hated it. It's dumb! This scene is absolutely dumb! Her mind, though untutored, never mistook slogans for truth, and like a curious bluejay she would peck relentlessly through verbiage to find the glistening, hidden fact. And so the rebel cause, to her, was "dumb." it didn't make sense. How come? she now wondered. Generation gap? That's a crock, I'm thirty-two. It's just plain dumb, that's all, it's . . .!

Cool it. One more week.

They'd completed the interiors in Hollywood. All that remained were a few exterior scenes on the campus of Georgetown University, starting tomorrow. It was Easter vacation and the students were away.

She was getting drowsy. Heavy lids. She turned to a page that was curiously ragged. Bemused, she smiled. Her English director. When especially tense, he would tear, with quivering, fluttering hands, a narrow strip from the edge of the handiest page and then chew it, inch by inch, until it was all in a ball in his mouth.

Dear Burke.

She yawned, then glanced fondly at the side of her script. The pages looked gnawed. She remembered the rats. The little bastards sure got rhythm. She made a mental note to have Karl set traps for them in the morning.

Fingers relaxing. Script slipping loose. She let it drop. Dumb. It's dumb. A fumbling hand groping out to the light switch. There. She sighed. For a time she was motionless, almost asleep; and then kicked off her covers with a lazy leg. Too freaking hot.

A mist of dew clung soft and gentle to the windowpanes.

Chris slept. And dreamed about death in the staggering particular, death as if death were still never yet heard of while something was ringing, she, gasping, dissolving, slipping off into void, thinking over and over, I am not going to be, I will die, I won't be, and forever and ever, oh, Papa, don't let them, oh, don't let them do it, don't let me be nothing forever and melting, unraveling, ringing, the ringing--

The phone!


Excerpted from Exorcist by William Peter Blatty Copyright ©1994 by William Peter Blatty. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Exorcist 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 179 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was exactly what I was looking for. It fed me. Page after page it delivered line after line of great storytelling, great characters and great setting. It was eerie without being over the top. It was informative without being boring. It was powerful without being pretentious. This is the ultimate horror novel. It is the standard.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although Blatty has always described the Exorcist as more of a detective story, The Exorcist comes across as one of the scariest books, and films of all time. It will tap into your deepest fears, and remains one of the few novels that has and will stand the test of time. An instant classic !!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very well-written, suspenseful, disturbing, one-of-a-kind, horror novel. This is not for sissies! It is better than the well-known film. I recommend this for all fans of sheer ultimate horror it is cleverly and expertly written. I dare you to read this and not get chills crawling up your spine...
Robert Messick More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was 11 years old and I have never read anything that has surpassed the sheer terror this book instilled in me. And TRUST me!!! I've read a TON of horror novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a really great read. It held my attention all the way through and I found myself not wanting to put it down. It may be a long book, but I read through it like a flip book. It is wonderfully written and is a great book to read even if you aren't scared by it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this in high school and it scared me to death. I was actually looking forward to the movie, thinking, 'It couldn't possibly be worse (scarier) than the book.' WRONG! Truly, this is one of the most disturbing things ever to hit the page or screne
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw the movie when I was a kid. I was frightened for MONTHS. Now 31, I decided to read the book. Here I am, absolutely scared again. Forget all you know, don't intellectualize the book and you will feel all its impact. Just let it take over you. Absolutely recomended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think it's pretty much in consensus that this is absolutely the greatest horror novel ever written. If you read it and it didn't scare you then you are dead and It's now starting to scare me to think that you, a dead person, is reading this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A true page turner. I always prefer reading a book first before watching the film and draw my conclusion on which was more in depth. With The Exorcist its a close tie. Minus the subliminal images the book stil had me on the edge of my seat. If you're looking for a great mystery with a thilling edge then this is the book for you. Get ready if you plan on reading at night, this will have you double checking your locks and whincing at every little sound.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have to say I loved this book. If u seen the movie you have to read this book. Truthful and honesty it was not scary to me for the fact is I do not get scared easy. But I do enjoy horror and love this. I would recommend this to anyone interested in a good exorcist book. The charator and there thoughts was perfect and the demon so evil. I give this 5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although I had seen the movie, I never had read the book until now and I am glad I did. It one of those books that you can't set it down; I really like it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It didn't scare me as much as it fascinated me. I always wanted to keep reading, and see what happened. It was a very good book. People told me the original movie was one of the best horror movies made, and the book reflected that. If the things  that happened in this book, happened in real life, I would be very horrified!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely terrifying. My parents allowed me to watch the movie when I was 5 years old, so I was always so scared of Regan. Somethimg about her makeup in the movie just stuck with me and terrifyed me. Now that I'm 17 and reading the book, I realise what fantastic casting they did to portray a fantastic plot. The author writes this book in such a way that makes you want to continue reading; I can't put the book down. The frequent use of italics makes it easier to read and seem more organized, but maybe thats the OCD in me talking. What I really like about this book is that it jumps right into the tense and somewhat frightening parts (granted, it does get progressively scarrier as the novel carries on, starting off mild). Having seen the movie first I knew there was a big, long, boring intro about a coin in some hot land (I always skip that part) but the book starts off in Regan and Chris' house immediately. One thing I love is a book that hooks you from the first page. I got the free sample on my Nook Color first, then instantly bought the book when I was done with the sample. I just had to keep reading. I believe this really is one of the scariest books of all time, and I am a HUGE horror genre fan. I reccommend it to anyone looking for an intense, scary read (and who doesn't mind the very graphic language used).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow this book is good and you really can't put it down. All the events and people are described with such amazing adjectives and words. It also scares you and almost makes you afraid of people you know because of the thought of any events in this book happening to them or even you. I saw the movie first and the book has captivated much better. I would definately recommend this book. It's so awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was a remarkable book. I couldn't put it down. Very spooky. A must for all scary story lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was absolutely incredible. The book is so consuming that it makes you think twice about what you believe. Blatty describes the horrors of this novel with just enough detail to let your imagination run wild with your fear. Worth the read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books I've ever read. I'm actually just a kid, and I could understand the book mostly, and it's really exciting. I could'nt put the book down, it was just too exciting and "scary". I would definetly reccomend this book to anybody-- it's great!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great! It was filled with action and excitement, I couldn't put it down. As a matter of fact I started reading it one afternoon and didn't stop until I had finished it, at 3o'clock the next morning!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just have three words for you, SCARY AS HELL!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book, for me, was more disturbing than scary. I don't belive in demonic possession but this book was so well written and I got so wrapped up in the characters, my disbelief was put on hold. The Exorcist is not just about evil, it's also a book about great faith. It's MUCH better than the movie and definatly not for the very impressionable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best-written stories ever by any fiction writer. The background on demonology is very interesting. The struggle is more psychological than physical as one would expect from a horror story. The images are shocking, even if you haven't seen the movie. Let your imagination give you a hell of a scare.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you liked the movie, you will absolutely LOVE the book. William Peter Blatty couldn't have done a better job on this masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book about an 11 year old girl named Reagan who is possessed by satan. It started out with little things such as her yelling curses she had never heard of before and increased to the point where the doctors think she has a mental illness. But mental illness has nothing to do with it. This extraordinary story has a suprise lurking around every corner and will keep you on the edge of your seat from cover to cover!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a great book. Although a few odd times I skipped a couple of pages of nothing important. All in all I enjoyed reading it. I've seen the movie a bunch of times and was wondering how the book was. I was more interested in the Regan storyline then the detective stuff. Those were the parts I skipped through.