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The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgakov (1966)


Suppressed by Soviet authorities until 1966, Bulgakov was still making changes to this rollicking Faustian attack on Stalinist Russia while on his deathbed. The Devil shows up in 1920 Moscow with a bizarre entourage that notably includes a talking black cat. The Faust character is a Russian novelist who is institutionalised for his version of the Passion. The recent translation is superb.





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The Witches of Eastwick
by John Updike (1984)


Most readers will be familiar with the basics of this novel thanks to the popular feature film starring Jack Nicholson and three bodacious babes. Divorcees Alexandra, Jane, and Sukie living in a Rhode Island seacoast village each gain different unusual powers. Wealthy and mysterious scoundrel Darryl Van Horne arrives on the scene… and there are no prizes for guessing who he really is.





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Good Omens
by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (1990)


Despite appearing as an odd pairing, combining Pratchett's zaniness with Gaiman's dark humour proves irresistible in this end-of-the-world (this Saturday in fact) fable of devilish proportions. Not even the birth of the Antichrist goes according to plan - which we'd all be aware of if anyone could manage to interpret the Nice & Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter.





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'Left Behind'
by Tim LaHaye & Jerry B Jenkins (1995)


The book that proves if you take an arch-conservative American evangelist and team him with someone who can actually write the results can be lethal. The Rapture takes all believers in Christ and leaves the rest waiting for the apocalypse. The Book of Revelation proves to be a thrill-a-minute ride as the Antichrist approaches. Certainly won't be everybody's cup of tea.





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Lamb
by Christopher Moore (2002)


Subtitled 'The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal', this irreverent outing is sure to split the sides of all who can stomach sacrilege and erotica in the same mix. Biff is brought back from the dead to fill in a few missing historical gaps about Christ's life. Buddhism and Hinduism also cop a few jibes, but in the end Moore proves he has a genuinely heartfelt point or two to make.





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The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold (2002)


Bestselling author Alice Sebold says she writes about violence because it is not an unusual thing. She herself was brutally raped when she was 18, eventually taking life head-on and identifying the perpetrator. In light of this, Lovely Bones comes as no real surprise. Told from the perspective of a 14 year old girl in heaven who was raped and murdered, the story is about coping with injustice.





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The Five People You Meet in Heaven
by Mitch Albom (2003)


The story of an aging war veteran working in an amusement park who feels he has wasted his life away. He dies while trying to save a little girl when one of the rides goes wrong. Heaven he discovers is a processing area designed to examine the meaning of life through encounters with five people that accompany him through the most important parts. Metaphysically marvellous.





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'The Demonata'
by Darren Shan (2005)


This series takes readers into new worlds and universes, all of them populated or threatened by demons. It is fast-paced and bloody, horrific and fantastic, frightening and exciting. In the first book Grubbs Grady's parents and sister begin to behave strangely. When Grubbs decides to stick his nose in, his entire world is thrown into chaos when he discovers demons are real.


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