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I read it as a paperback somewhere around 1990, might be a bit older. It's set on Earth in approximately contemporary time (I don't remember the time frame, but there were cars and phones. I don't think there were cell phones). It had a Caucasian male on the front cover, I think with a flame in the palm of his hands. The cover was largely whites and greys, maybe with him standing in front of a marble wall with some symbols on it? There was white magic and black magic with corresponding "lodges" (something I think is intended to parallel the Crowley hermetic magic) and, I think, something with different schools of "elemental" magic. I want to say that the good and evil aspects of the school were the reverse of what one might expect with black magic being creative and white magic being destructive.

The plot is a bit of a mash in my head as well. The protagonist was trying to investigate something, possibly a missing friend. To do so, he had to infiltrate the "evil" lodge, which at some point necessitated him signing a contract in blood. He tries to weasel out of it by signing a different name, but eventually gets called on it, something about how the false name he signed was his real name in his heart. Somewhere amidst it all, I remember him driving out into the desert. For some reason, that stuck in my head.

Only other "detail" I can recall is that I think that the title of it involved "The Eye of" at the beginning of it.

Just to rule out a few possibilities, I've read some excerpts of Crowley's Moonchild and that's not it. And, despite the similar mention of lodges, it's not a Twin Peaks adaptation. And I'm 99% certain it was none of the Mercedes Lackey books involving hermetic magic.

  • 1
    How about the Adept series by Katherine Kurtz and Deborah Turner Harris? It involves hermetic magic, and white/dark lodges. None of the titles include "Eye of", though. – LAK Oct 24 '14 at 21:12
  • @LAK: I'm sorry. Based on the description, it doesn't sound right. It was a fairly self-contained story. I don't think it was marked as first of a series. – FuzzyBoots Oct 25 '14 at 14:25
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+250

Your description was somewhat familiar to me, and I was picturing the right book, but it's not part of the series I thought. I looked through my collection and found it: The Eye in the Stone, by Allen L. Wold, ISBN 0-517-00725-8. Front cover is a guy standing in an arch, with flame coming out of his thumb, and a cat standing on his shoulders.

I haven't read it in a long time, but: the title fits, it involves modern-day magicians, Lodges, and the protagonist is looking for his missing brother.

Book cover.

Summary from Goodreads

A quick family visit turns into a battle of magic between good and evil. "All hail to the Crown of Death!" Though all the members of the coven cried out the words, Morgan remained stubbornly silent. Held by four demons, he seemed powerless to escape what was about to happen, yet surely he could find some magical means to avoid becoming an unwilling initiate into dark witchcraft. But as a fifth demon pulled red-hot pincers out of a nearby brazier, all hope fled. The demon came toward him, its webby wings pulsing, its insect eyes glittering. Then the pincers bit, the pain scorched through his whole body, and his nose filled with the smoke of his own burning flesh. Finally it was over, and the leader of the coven was approaching, holding a large green-bound book and a pen. He touched the nib to Morgan's blackened, torn wound and the pen filled with his blood. Then the man gave him the pen and held up the book. On the right-hand page was a contract straight from hell: I hereby swear fealty to Fryga Tukhanox, the Crown of Death, to do her bidding and her work, in all ways required of me...

  • That's it! Thank you. One moment while I add sufficient bounty for you... – FuzzyBoots Oct 29 '14 at 15:18
  • Och... I have to wait 23 hours. :) But it will be there. – FuzzyBoots Oct 29 '14 at 15:19
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    Thanks! Glad to help. It had been bothering me after seeing your question, so I physically searched through my 3000 books last night until I found it :-). – LAK Oct 29 '14 at 15:57
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This may be a stretch based on your description, but I'll toss this up just in case:

The Saga of Recluce series, by L. E. Modesitt, Jr

There is one book in the series where the protagonist spends some of his time in a White order school, I believe. Not sure about lodges. The switch on Black / White Magic is exactly as you described.

  • Sorry. I clarified the question. It's set on Earth in a fairly contemporary time. – FuzzyBoots Sep 24 '14 at 17:28
  • could still be Modesitt, he has some books with cars and stuff, likes to play with our assumptions around white and black. Were there ghosts/zombies? Opera singers? City names that were not quite North American city names? – Kate Gregory Sep 24 '14 at 18:35
  • @KateGregory: Sorry, hadn't seen your response. No, no ghosts or zombies that I remember. Or opera singers. I don't remember the cities, but if pushed on it, I'd probably say it was set completely in the real world. Don't know if it was the United States or England, but probably one of those. – FuzzyBoots Oct 25 '14 at 14:26

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