The White Devil by Justin Evans is as heavy with history as it is with shocking twists and gruesome detail. Drawing its title from a play by John Webster, this story links together modern day life at the famous boarding school, Harrow, and a period two hundred years earlier when a young Lord Byron attended the school.
Andrew Taylor is a seventeen-year-old who has been kicked out of his school in the States. His father believes that his only chance for a future is to be sent far away to the prestigious Harrow School in England. And yet, from the moment he arrives, he attracts all sorts of attention, not all of it good. His housemaster, the drunken poet Piers Fawkes, sees him as the spitting image of a young Lord Byron and casts him as the lead in his new play about Byron's loves. The only girl in the school, Persephone Vine, sees him as a chance to start over without the weight of her past. And a mysterious white-haired ghost boy seems to take an interest in him as well after Andrew sees this figure assaulting and killing his new friend Theo. The only way forward is through the past in this creepy story.
If you are compiling a list for the RIP Challenge this fall, this book would be a good one to add. The weather here turned grey and rainy just after I started this novel and it added to the palpable atmosphere of gloom and terror that already emanated from the pages. While the story wasn't perfect, it was certainly a memorable reading experience and a fascinating use of the story of Lord Byron and his loves -- both male and female. I will just warn you that the ending of this story is rather disturbing and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.
Newly terrified by the word "cistern",
Support our site and buy The White Devil on Amazon or find it at your local library. We received an uncorrected proof for review from the publisher.