Winner of the World Fantasy Award (1986).
Kali, Goddess of Death and destruction, eight-armed, eternal, her song is the sound of death. In a novel both shocking and appallingly real, a powerful new storyteller, Dan Simmons, weaves a terrifying tale of vilolence and psychological horror about the ultimate violation, the raising of the dead to life to bring more death into the world.
In the steaming, shuttered city of Calcutta, a Westerner, Robert Luczak, seeks to meet with M. Das – a poet not seen for over ten years, reported to have been found alive after all this time. Travelling with his half-indian wife, Amrita, and their infant baby girl, Luczak is determined to find Das so that he may interview him on assignment from The New Yorker.
But nothing is simple in Calcutta. A routine assignment turns into a nightmare of terror as Luczak is alternately fed lies and half-truths by those who aren't who they claim to be, and buffeted by official indifference when he seeks help from the authorities.
He is subjected to the bizarre and unreal story of one who claims to have been a recruit of the cult of Kali, a secret and outlawed sect. The cult, says the man, still exists and has brought back to life the dead poet M. Das, in a bloody and grisly ceremony of human sacrifice.
Luczak just wants to interview Das and take his family back to U.S.A., but he is caught instead in the dark design of forces ancient and inexorable, in a vortex of violence that threatens to engulf not only him and his family, but the entire world, in an apocalyptic orgy of death.