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3.7 out of 5 stars14
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on 24 October 2007
I read this book expecting great things from one of last centuries greatest minds. Instead I found myself wading through this book trying to find a story and finding the great occult truths buried within lacking much potency or vitality.

Knowing a bit about Crowleys involvement with the Golden Dawn it was interesting to note how many of its members (who he had fallen out with) were woven in to the story as thinly veiled characters. None of these people come off lightly, here - they are all portrayed as pathetic, overblown or downright evil. Its a shame that Crowley couldn't overcome his childish hatred for certain people to write a novel with more depth, more character and more spirit.

For anyone looking for an occult novel with more to offer, I would recommend Dion Fortunes novels (the Goat Foot God, Sea Priestess etc.). They demonstrate a maturity and wisdom that Crowley sadly does not show here.
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on 12 June 2011
This is a novel by Crowley about a magical war between a white lodge ( led by Iff ) and a black lodge ( led by Douglas ) over an unborn child, the "Moonchild" of the title, with the action moving between London, Paris and a villa in Naples. It was written in 1917 in New Orleans.

Crowley keeps reappearing, first in the 1960's and now again in the jumble of ideas of the New Age movement. He was a mountaineer with expeditions to K2 and Kangchenjunga, otherwise "Brother Perdurabo" studying under "McGregor" Mathers, chief of the Golden Dawn movement, and also a good writer as this book shows. It switches between being surprising, humorous and stomach churning with Crowley showing his invincible English class prejudice along with the magical themes.

The main thread of the story is a Taoist one with the plot twisting and turning nicely around this axis. Supposedly Crowley identifies with Simon Iff and the forces of light but the undercurrent of the book and the not so obvious ending suggest a darker different conclusion.In any event it is probably a good idea to read some of the Tao Te Ching to catch the full flavour of the book.
Crowley was persistently hunted by the press and eventually bankrupted by legal actions but he didn't do anything to discourage the speculation. He loved to showboat ( the self-proclaimed Beast 666 ) and wanted the publicity. However, the relevance of the story for today is that strands of the New Age movement take the magical aspects completely seriously which is surely a trend worth watching.

His view on the advantages of being a magician:"...all one's different parts are free to act with the utmost possible vigour according to their own natures, because the other parts do not interfere with them. You don't let the navigators into the stoke-hole, or your stokers into the chart house".
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on 7 March 2007
Crowley rarely made an attempt to communicate his insights to a mass market. Magick is a terrifically complex subject to explain dry, however. The rationale behind the few fiction stories he wrote was to convey some of the arcane concepts in the midst of some semblance of a real-world context. This doesn't sound like an easy thing to do, and there is debate about how successful were the results. Perhaps this book should have been another of his plays, but perhaps he felt much more able to stoop to level of the laity with a glorious pulp fiction. He didn't do this often.

The best way to read this book might be to keep your sense of humour close by. It is Victorian, but has none of the usual stuffiness or blandness of its contempories. You should appreciate that as literary artist (and fluent French speaker), Crowley liked bold, sometimes black, brush strokes. To his mind, some natural concepts were so grand and fascinating that he would just vehemently dig in to the exploration of them. Like a maniacal anatomist of the spirit he didn't seem to mind getting his hands bright wet. On this occasion, however I think that he showed a fair amount of restraint in offending sensibilities, but if he did so on occasion in this book, it was done for noble reasons. Any talk about self-aggrandisement in this novel is completely off the mark. The vaudeville enemy in this piece is fashioned from his own DNA and with no less attention to detail than the grand white wizard and this was done self-consciously. Enjoy it!
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on 11 November 2011
Revolution in the East, War in Central Europe. In England, Crowley is Cyril Grey, his other brain is Simon Iff. Two sides of the Moon. The child is not the plot of some ancient prophecy, oh no. It is more cunning than that, these adapts, men and women of will, who forge their own destinies, their own paths to greatness. The way of the Tao. Magick is ever existing and seemingly flows throughout the book, infusing the reader with adverse thinking patterns. Comparing the book to his original - Diary of A Drug Fiend, the language is just as smooth, but not as eloquent. However, it never ceases to amaze how Crowley, who is such an intricate, perplexed man is able to sympathise with Swedenborg's divine wisdom. Read between the lines and all will be revealed...

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on 1 March 2013
For those who have never read any of Crowley's literary efforts, this is a good place to start. Of particular interest is his own footnotes which go far to explain his relationships with other esoteric groups. In his main character (his wise self)readers of Dennis Wheatley's occult tales will recognise how he has lifted Crowley's adept to become The Duke de Richelieu. Quite a blatant bit of literary filching!
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on 28 June 2015
There are lovely moments of descriptive language, explanations of Crowley's philosophy and other areas of magical practices, but the read and story as a whole was difficult to keep focus on as I found it boring on the whole. I have read dozens of books by Crowley and I have found his magical texts and 'Diary of a drug fiend' much more interesting, engaging and enjoyable than I did this one. I marked out pages of interest in concern with magic but I doubt I will read the book all the way through again because the story itself is just not very interesting. I would advise that you read this as another book with information about Crowley's magic and philosophy rather than expecting anything in the way of a proper storyline, because if a story is what you are looking for the you will end up bored quite quickly, but hey this is only my experience and my view, you may yet love it!
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on 10 December 2000
As a novel Moonchild is limited in terms of plot, and lacks the twists and turns you might expect from a more experienced writer. Crowley, although an enormously prolific author, used the story telling medium rarely. As with all his works he touts his Thelemic philosophy here and there. A great deal of the book is philosophy about Magick, the soul and so on. Crowley could not resist a smattering of Qabalistic imagery also. I did enjoy it immensely. Near the end it becomes almost incomprehensible, which is a shame. As his most famous novel it is a must read for all Crowleyites or Thelemites. Enjoy!
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on 8 March 2010
Excellent fiction book drawn on Crowley's practical ideas and many interesting information is passed as the story rolls.
A must for readers interested in Crowley's work.
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on 11 April 1998
Tons of Magickal theory in the setting of a pretty good story. The ending was a little lax. I underlined about half of the book, so many truths, so little time....
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on 27 April 2010
Right, well I have just seen a review which has labelled this book a work of 'Fiction'. Which is quite frankly, complete balderdash. This book is REAL LIFE, MATTER OF FACT, accounts of Crowleys early involvement with the Order of the Golden Dawn, and outlines and documents the nature and facts about the Moonchild Programme in detail.

The story is not fiction at all, and centres around the main Characters, Simon Iff, Cyril Grey and a man called Douglas, who were magicians fighting an occult war, centred around the White and Black Lodges respectively. In the story, Cyril Grey iniatiates a woman called Lisa LaGiffiura into his order, and after an intense initiation ritual, sires a child with her, according to the Programme. This child of Lisa and Cyril, is in fact the Moonchild of the title.

Before I end this review, a would like to make a couple of points about the plot and how I know this to be real, not fiction.
This is largely because at the end of the novel, Crowley points out that Douglas was IN REALITY, the man who translated 'The Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage', having also purchased a copy of this book from in 2008, I am at liberty to tell you the mans REAL NAME is S.L. McGregor Mathers, one of the initial founders of the Golden Dawn. And to be honest with you all, he was disgusting and I hate him.

All that remains is for me to point out, that according to Crowley, a man who had close ties to Scotland Yard and MI5 at the end of his life, the British Government were behind the Second World War. MATTER OF FACT.

All in all this is a Good book, perhaps worthy of more than a three star rating. This is an ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE, for aqnybody interested in the Occult, British Politics and Academic Research, although I urge anybody with Christian convictions or devout religious beliefs to stay away from this book, because when you realise everything in it is REAL, it is, in fact, quite a fantastically disturbing read.

One Son.
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