The Book of Joby

Mark J. Ferrari

Tor Books



Trade Paperback

640 Pages



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Lucifer and the Creator have entered, yet again, into a wager they’ve made many times before, but this time, the existence of creation itself is balanced on the outcome. Born in California during the twilight years of a weary millennium, nine year old Joby Peterson dreams of blazing like a bonfire against the gathering darkness of his times, like a knight of the Round Table. Instead, he is subjected to a life of crippling self-doubt and relentless mediocrity inflicted by an enemy he did nothing to earn and cannot begin to comprehend.

Though imperiled themselves, the angels are forbidden to intervene. Left to struggle with their own loyalties and the question of obedience, they watch Lucifer work virtually unhindered to turn Joby’s heart of gold into ash and stone while God sits by, seemingly unconcerned.

When he is grown to manhood, Joby’s once luminous love of life seems altogether lost, and Lucifer’s victory assured. What hope remains lies hidden in the beauty, warmth, and innocence of a forgotten seaside village whose odd inhabitants seem to defy the modern world’s most inflexible assumptions, and in the hearts of Joby’s long lost youthful love and her emotionally wounded son. But the ravenous forces of destruction that follow Joby into this concealed paradise plan to use these same things to bring him and his world to ruin. As the final struggle unfolds, every being in heaven and hell waits to determine whether love or rage will prove stronger in the end.


Praise for The Book of Joby

"The Book of Joby is a very ambitious first novel, beautifully written, both entertaining and thought-provoking."—Kevin J. Anderson

"The Book of Joby should have been called the Book of Joy. The magic of childhood, the magic of Camelot, the grand mystery of Creation, the tears of humanity, the petty cruelties of Hell, all are within these leaves. From schoolboy bullies to homeless shelters to an enchanted hometown where time stands still, from shy first love to tragedy and death . . . Mark Ferrari weaves his spell."—John C. Wright

"The Book of Joby is a rare gem, the kind that is only seen once every generation or so—a novel that sparkles with wit and charm, humor and wisdom, courage and compassion. Mark Ferrari reveals himself to be a master storyteller, never once faltering in his quest to entertain. Imagine a novel where Harry Potter meets King Arthur and they both go on a quest to fight the devil—and you'll only begin to grasp the kind of fun you'll have reading this book."—David Farland, author of Sons of the Oak

"A grand eschatological epic that rings heretofore undreamt changes on the eternal drama of a blameless man caught in a cosmic wager between Lucifer and the Creator."—James Morrow, author of The Last Witchfinder

"The prologue of Ferrari's first novel sweeps us into a monumental modern-day fantasy of good versus evil when Lucifer proposes a wager that he has made many times over the millennia—the same stupid bet, according to God. If he wins this time, God will have to destroy his Creation, and they will start over with what Lucifer considers an orderly, 'virtuous' universe without free will. God will name a champion, who Lucifer will try to subvert by putting him to the test in the hope that he will choose, of his own free will, to follow Lucifer. Also, the Creator must 'forbid all immortal beings in His service from intervening unless directly asked to do so by the candidate.' God's champion is unsuspecting, 9-year-old Joby, a bright, imaginative boy with a loving heart. And so, the Arthurian legend is replayed over a span of 30-plus years and through incarnations of Arthur (Joby), Guinevere, Galahad, and Modred. The original Merlin plays a prominent role, as does the chalice known as the Holy Grail. The story is mesmerizing, Joby's angst is palpable, the love of God overwhelming, and the malevolence of Lucifer and his minions terrifying. A decidedly unorthodox twist on the personalities of God and the devil that offers much to ponder as well as enjoy."—Sally Estes, Booklist (starred review)

"Joby, a pretty ordinary California kid, is nine years old when he becomes the object of yet another wager between Lucifer and God. If Joby (read Job) renounces God and gives in to darkness, Lucifer gets to remake creation in his image, without free will. Thus begins Joby's life of challenges and disappointments. He finds brief respite in the hidden town of Taubolt, a refuge for those who, like Joby, are 'of the blood,' descendents of repentant angels who followed Lucifer in his original rebellion. But soon Lucifer's forces gather, and the much-tried Joby, who knows nothing of his angelic heritage, finds himself the focus of the ultimate battle between the forces of darkness and light. Elements of Arthurian legend (Joby is King Arthur reborn) join Biblical themes in this blend of fantasy, moral fable, and Bildungsroman . . . Savvy readers will enjoy teasing out classical and religious references . . . The story has a sneaky charm that engages and rewards the persistent reader."—Kathleen Beck, VOYA

"Ferrari's rather grim debut blends Arthurian legend into the age-old tale of a bet between God and Lucifer. Nine-year-old Joby Peterson has a fairly ordinary childhood until he becomes the focus of the same stupid bet that Lucifer has suggested thousands of times before: if Lucifer can make Joby renounce God, he gets to destroy the earth and remake it his way. God isn't allowed to interfere, but fortunately, his allies, from angels to Merlin, have fewer strictures. Joby grows up miserable and constantly accused of being gay and not man enough when he refuses to physically fight those who goad him. He finds brief respite in the quiet coastal town of Taubolt, the Camelot of his childhood dreams, but soon Joby must leave his haven and return to the struggle for his soul and the fate of the world."—Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Chapter One ( Only Name the Quest ) “Run! . . . Run, you scaredy cat! The king will always beat you, Zoltan! And all your dumb ugly creatures too! Ha! Just one of Arthur’s knights is better than your whole stupid army! Ha, ha ha haaaa!” Joby laughed in unrestrained exultation, brandishing his wooden sword from the castle walls as the humiliated enemy fled yet another great battle in disarray. “Joooooby! . . . Joby?” Joby’s shoulders slumped, but he ignored his mother’s voice and waved his sword once more at the fleeing horde. “I’ve
Read the full excerpt


  • Mark J. Ferrari

  • For seventeen years, Mark Ferrari has made his living doing freelance illustration for such clients as Lucasfilm and Lucas Arts Games, Industrial Light and Magic, Electronic Arts, Chaosium Games, Amaze Entertainment, Tor, Ace, New American Library, The Science Fiction Book Club, and many others. The Book of Joby is his first novel.