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Synopsis

Aleister Crowley is alive and well in the elevated and life-preserving air of Shangri-La. The fools used to call him the wickedest man in the world, a Satanist and a paedophile. But the Great Beast laughed at the twits. The British Secret Service, Churchill and Rasputin all knew the real Crowley, who was the greatest spy and the Scarlet Pimpernel of the twentieth century. This genuine English hero and unrivalled drug fiend used his pre-eminent knowledge of the Occult to run amok behind German lines in two world wars and to turn both Mussolini and Hitler into twitching and hollow wrecks.

And so now, the inspiration behind the music and sexual revolutions of the sixties is about to return for his curtain call, for there is a dark Orwellian dystopia coming. And Aleister Crowley is convinced that only he can save the world.

Ian Thornton’s debut novel, The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms (How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century, but Didn’t Mean to) was published by Simon & Schuster Canada in September 2013. Harper Collins published worldwide on June 28th 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the pivot of the novel. It was translated across Europe and taught at the Sorbonne.

Prior to becoming a novelist, Ian worked for Broadcast magazine in London and also for Variety. He is a co-founder of the global television industry publisher, C21 Media and www.c21media.net.

He covered the Royal wedding in London for CTV, Canada's premier independent broadcaster, and has recently written for Wisden Cricketer, The Guardian, The Hindu and for the Soho House magazine, House. He also wrote on the football World Cup in South Africa for the Canadian sports channel, The Score, and has worked for Queen’s University in Ontario, where his project was presented at the White House as part of President Obama's new media initiative.

Ian is the official biographer of the Compton cricket club in California and has been a judge on the largest Latin American film festival, Expresion en Corto. He is currently producing a feature documentary.

Originally from Leeds, Ian currently resides in Toronto with his wife Heather Gordon and their children, Laszlo and Clementine.

Prologue

‘I slept with faith and found a corpse in my arms on awakening;

I drank and danced all night with doubt and found her a virgin in the morning.

- Aleister Crowley

They used to call me the most evil man in the world.

The fools said that I was more influential than Jesus. They reckoned I had seduced thousands of women, and even more young men. They claimed I was a friend of Hitler and a rabid lover of a burgeoning Prussia, and then a vile and eager Germany. Some snaggle-toothed and half-baked buffoons said I advocated rape, paedophilia and black magic. They hypothesised, with little regard for fact that I sacrificed children and dined with a vermillion Satan.

My name is Aleister Crowley, The Great Beast. 666. And I am here to tell you the truth.

You see, wouldn't you want to do just that, if instead of being blamed for trying to torch the twentieth century, you had really only ever been responsible, in large parts, for rescuing it.

And what is the point of busting an infernal gut to save a generation, if one then sits by, lights a girthy and corpulent cigar, scratches oneself around the well-cut trouser and watches meekly as quite preventable mischief and horror ensues. Yes, there was adultery, but adultery does not imply marriage, no more than whoredom implies commerce.

You see, the truth is that I was the greatest spy of the twentieth century. The lies were all necessary, as they had been for that other great Englishman, The Scarlet Pimpernel.

For the longest time I could not care less about the conjecture that surrounded my unrivallable degeneracies. So why pipe up now after all these years? I shall get to that almost immediately.

In 1947, I faked my own death in that Sussex seaside town, where the destiny of England was forged, and where I larked as a green-knee’d boy. Hastings.

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