31st October 2023
Hardback 266pp £25/$32
Mandrake of Oxford
(Circa 70,000 words)
You can pluck someone like an instrument if you know the way to tune their heart.
May 1941, Ian Fleming of Naval Intelligence recruits Aleister Crowley to crack the recently captured Rudolf Hess by exploiting their mutual fascination with the occult. To fill in the background to Hess’s disastrous flight, Fleming provides the diary of Albrecht Haushofer, the deputy Führer’s assistant. 1945 finds Crowley in a boarding house in Hastings where he tutors Will, a fledgling priest, in Latin. The victim of a Soviet honey trap, Will steals a file that reveals the devastating consequences of Crowley’s mission and discovers the true identities of the Reception Committee waiting for Hess in Scotland. Is the file genuine or a black-ops fake concocted by British Intelligence? Can a crazed rocket scientist in California supply the answer, or ‘M’, the Beast’s controller? Featuring Dion Fortune, Anthony Blunt, Hitler, Jack Parsons, and two Beatles, Aleister Crowley MI6 is a riveting spy thriller anchored in fact.
Aleister Crowley as himself in all his occult and charismatic glory – a manipulative, overbearing, bizarre yet compelling character. Fiction could hardly have invented him: he is a gift of a character to any novelist & Richard C McNeff has accepted him, unwrapped the parcel and given him his head. —Martin Booth (author of Crowley biography A Magick Life – on Aleister