Diabhal (Devil) is the story of cults, exorcisms and the devil in 1980’s era Los Angeles. Ceit Robertson, age ten, is the next Matrarc to the Society, a cultish, matriarchal group living in an inconspicuous cul-de-sac in Venice Beach. When Ceit’s mother is attacked by spirits from the old world, a failed exorcism results in Ceit’s exile into the foster care system in Los Angeles. She eventually lands in the infamous MacLaren Hall, a very real and historically auspicious center for disturbed and abandoned children in El Monte, CA. Diabhal is the sympathetic story of the devil in Los Angeles. The exploration of the true nature of evil and how intention colors what our definition of wickedness truly is. Ceit grows into a force of nature, as she contains the potential and mythology of the darkest degree, but discovers that perhaps the devil is not what we should truly fear.
"Atmospheric and creepy as hell. Diabhal will get under your skin."
Kaaron Warren, Australian Shadow Award Winner and Peter McNamara Lifetime Achievement Recipient, Author of Tide of Stone
"Imagine a world of old magic that exists beside our own, but one that is darker, grittier, and more dangerous than you ever imagined. Kathleen Kaufman's Diabhal rings with ominous truths."
―Alma Katsu, author of The Hunger
"A potent tale of mythos, superstition, and the power of little girls, Diabhal is told with rigor and surety. Kaufman is magnificent."
―Lee Murray, two-time Bram Stoker nominee and author of Into the Mist.
"…an engrossing tale of magic, darkness, and natural order"
MORE FROM KAUFMAN
At this, the Cailleach would release a single drop of indigo dye onto the topmost layer. See, she would tell her daughter. See? It bleeds through the topmost path and onto the next. In this way, so many things from the next world touch ours, and our world touches the layer beneath.
High above the sea, hidden in the rocky Scottish cliffs, something stirs. An ancient matriarchal power has set the wheels in motion for a long line of descendants. But to what end?
Spanning centuries of human history, these daughters of the lowland hag, the Cailleach, must navigate a world filled with superstition, hatred, violence, pestilence, and death to find their purpose. With pasts half remembered and destinies denied, the daughters of Cailleach are women with uncanny, and often feared, abilities to heal, to see the future and to cause great destruction and pain when threatened. With each passing generation, the waves crash against the shore, and the Cailleach awaits a homecoming that will bring everything full circle.
When seven-year-old Jamie falls down a very long hill, he finds himself trapped in a world of strange creatures, harsh landscapes, and near-perpetual darkness. Lost and confused, Jamie is desperate to get home. The nightmares, fears, and all manner of what-ifs that inhabit this shadow world are unfamiliar to him–all except one: the Lairdbalor, Jamie’s personal nightmare, once relegated to his dreams. In this fantastical land, however, the Lairdbalor and all the fears and nightmares of children are very real.
But Jamie’s nightmare is different. It is the sum total of the anger and anxiety that imprisoned him in his former life, and it threatens to consume and rule the nightmare realm, a place where time passes differently. With each slumber, Jamie finds himself inexorably changed. The farther he travels through this terrifying world, the better he understands the one he left behind.
Crossing genres of folklore, horror, fantasy, and magical realism, The Lairdbalor is about a child, but it’s not meant for children. It’s a story for anyone who lives with anxiety and fear and has ever wondered “what if” and a darkly imaginative meditation on life, death, fear, and the nature of reality.
Kathleen Kaufman is a native Coloradan and long-time resident of Los Angeles. Her prose has been praised by Kirkus Reviews as “crisp, elegant” and “genuinely chilling” by Booklist. She is the author of The Tree Museum, The Lairdbalor, soon to be a feature film with Echo Lake Studios and director Nicholas Verso, Hag, and Diabhal due out in October 2019. Kathleen is a monster enthusiast, Olympic-level insomniac and aficionado of all things unsettling. When not writing, she can be found teaching literature and composition at Santa Monica College or hanging out with a good book. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, terrier and a pack of cats.
© 2018 Kathleen Kaufman