Baal was Robert McCammon’s first novel, a debut that would lead to some of the finest popular fiction of our time. Written at the age of 25 and published as a paperback original in 1978, it has been out of print for years. This deluxe new edition from Subterranean Press will give McCammon’s many readers — both newcomers and longtime fans — the opportunity to trace the development of an extraordinarily talented man.
The story begins with a horrific rape on the streets of New York City. Nine months after that violation, a most unusual child is born. His name is Jeffrey Harper Raines, but he quickly assumes his true name — and true purpose — as Baal, a new incarnation of the ancient prince of demons. The narrative recounts his lethal progress through the 20th century, which begins with the destruction of his earthly “family.” From there, Jeffrey/Baal moves to a doomed Catholic orphanage, where he unleashes carnage on an unprecedented scale, then out into the wider world, where he embraces his destiny as the Prophet of the Damned, generating a legacy of chaos, violence, and despair.
Baal is very much a young man’s book, raw and brimming with emotion. Listen closely and you’ll hear the voice of a gifted storyteller struggling to be born. In 1980, the career that would encompass Swan Song, Boy’s Life, and The Five still lay waiting several years down the road. This is where it began.
Prolific paranormal author McCammon (The Five) returns to his roots with this shiny new edition of his richly written 1978 debut. Jeffrey Harper Raines, born of a violent rape, grows up in various orphanages where he torments nuns, terrorizes the other children, and begins to call himself Baal, the name of the biblical demon thrown out of Canaan. Baal crusades around the world as the new messiah, wreaking havoc in Iraq where throngs of followers commit unthinkable crimes to pledge their souls to the living demonic idol. Chaos takes over the world as Baal s disciples spread a holy war against the Jews, whose only hope lies in a mysterious man named Michael. McCammon entices with fluid prose and vivid descriptions that have withstood the test of time.