Brilliantly expansive and original
A consummate performance...a virtuoso work of near history, with the occasional in-joke thrown in for good measure...immensely enjoyable
A big departure for Arnott but a surprisingly successful one. It's a great read full of compassion, humour and riveting detail.
Arnott is clearly having fun here...So to combine that with how the necessity to be good - to be a hero - can be as suffocating a pressure as battling with occultist demons makes The Devil's Paintbrush a fine book
Arnott's great leap forward...This is a book about magick, personal tragedy, imperial war, the sexual drive, the nature of faith and where it can lead...Arnott tackles all this with a coolness of head and a strength of purpose.
One of the many pleasures of this skilful book is the maintenance of suspense as to whether in this iteration, with magic and drugs in the mix, of what we know to have happened, will happen...Arnott does not ask us to choose between [Crowley and Macdonald] - but much of the moral force of this excellent book lies in his demonstration that there is, nonetheless, a choice to be made.