“Castle of Deception” by Ed Fitch

[amtap book:isbn=0875422314]

Tanithia, sorceress, witch, keeper of the Ancient Ways, is sent to scourge the ancient forces of darkness who have a foothold in a distant castle. But not all is at is seems inside the castle, and dangers await her within and without its walls.

Description: Tanithia is sent by her superiors of the Craft and Ways to scourge the ancient forces of darkness who have a foothold in a distant castle. But not all is at is seems inside the castle, and dangers await her within and without its walls: first, she falls under the alluring and sensual hypnotic spell of the castle's evil, vampiric enchantress; then, to make matters worse, when she escapes, she falls into the hands of a fanatical witch hunter who believes her the evil force that possesses the castle. Then, to finally cleanse the castle, she must collect and empower a faithful band of warriors to help her storm the castle and destroy the evil festering there.

Commentary: Tanithia is definitely an mesmerizing enchantress: in fact, after an ambush early in the story, there is casual mention of how she mesmerizes the men who ambushed her into forgetting certain inconvenient memories about the ambush and what happened there. But her real challenge is when is captured and imprisoned by the witch hunter, who, while he falls under the spell of her hypnotic eyes and commanding voice and magical passes, is immune to her feminine charms not just because he hates women but also because he's more than just infatuated with his image of his god.

That isn't to say Lyla, her vampiric counterpart, isn't equally mesmerizing: through their mutual attraction she is able to repeatedly enchant Tanithia by exhausting her both physically and mentally, thus lowering her defenses. She is, though, only the puppet here, under the figurative control herself of her puppeteer demonic overlords.

Recommendation: For what it is, it is a quick but likable read, illustrated with very nice (and some NSFW) B&W ink drawings. (Tanithia is quite an eye-full and quite a handful for her lovers, as well.) Even though Llewellyn publishes fiction, this is not exactly the norm. Its certainly more adult than its fare these days: Tanithia is gorgeous and seems ever willing to enjoy sex and even to employ it for ritual purposes. It should come as no surprise that she spends a significant portion of the book naked, albeit part of the time shapeshifted into wolf form. But, if you find such things interesting, then I would recommend finding a copy.

Addenda: The author states that Ed Fitch is a pseudonym: it could be inferred that at the time (1983) the book was published, the author believed he had valid reasons to disassociate his day job working in the defense industry from his Gardnerian faith and extensive writings. However, all of the resources I have discovered make no mention of that. These sources all state, though, that he was part of the Bucklands' original US Gardnerian organization, initiated by the Bucklands themselves, so his occult lineage is impeccable.

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