In the deepest, darkest midnight of her soul, an acclaimed poet abandons the lyric beauty that feeds her spirit to lash out at life and the world with contemporary fiction.
Gabriella Carmichael writes a horror novel, pours all her pain into the female protagonist of a paranormal mystery about demons. Then one of them crawls up out of the pages into her life. A deranged fan who believes he is The Beast of Babylon from her novel turns up at a book signing and stalks her, determined to claim her as his bride. And to sacrifice her son, Ty, as a blood offering to seal their union.
Yesheb al Tobbanoft is a man with the kind of obscene wealth that means he can do anything he wants and get away with it, and the kind of soul-less insanity that means there’s absolutely nothing he won’t do.
Gabriella, Ty and Ty’s grandfather, Theo—a crusty old stand-up comic called Slap Yo Mama Carmichael—run from the lunatic back to the only place in Gabriella’s life where she ever felt truly safe. But once in the solitude of the Rocky Mountains, she discovers that facing demons from her past may be more difficult and dangerous than facing the one who stalks her.
What happened the summer her family spent on Mt. Antero when she was 8 years old—that killed one brother and set the other on an inexorable path to self-destruction—had it really been her fault? And the rest of what happened on the mountainside that day, the magical part—was it real or merely a fantasy born of the loneliness of two child prodigies? Gabriella didn’t come to the cabin called St. Elmo’s Fire looking for answers to those questions. Or did she? Or is it that the answers have finally, after all these years, come looking for her?
Will Yesheb find her and corner his prey the same way the Beast of Babylon cornered his in the pages of Gabriella’s novel—under a full moon as lightning dances in the velvet darkness behind the mountains? If he does, all their lives and demons will collide in a final, apocalyptic celebration of one man’s madness. Then Gabriella’s only hope will lie in the great mystery of her childhood—the unexplainable power of a 2,000-year-old tree. Is its magic strong enough to save them? Can a single, perfect bristlecone pine somehow determine the fate of them all?