It begins with the end of the world . . . As Wilde and Stevenson explored the duality of human nature in Jekyll and Hyde and The Picture of Dorian Gray, Shiel gave two voices to Adam Jeffson, the hero of The Purple Cloud. In some way, Jeffson is chosen, for he tells of hearing the voices from an early age. Adam Jeffson ends up as the first man to reach the North Pole -- alone -- where he finds a scene of wonder and terror described in Shiel's evocative prose. Jeffson struggles back to the ship, and along the way, the real horror begins.