Before finding renown as a writer of ghost stories, Algernon Blackwood had a varied career, farming in Canada, operating a hotel, mining in the Alaskan goldfields, and working as a newspaper reporter in New York City before moving to England. His story The Willows is considered one of the finest supernatural tales ever written. Julius LeVallon is a mystical reincarnation novel.
It begins: It was one autumn in the late 'nineties that I found myself at Bale, awaiting letters. I was returning leisurely from the Dolomites, where a climbing holiday had combined pleasantly with an examination of the geologically interesting Monzoni Valley. When the claims of the latter were exhausted, however, and I turned my eyes towards the peaks, it happened that bad weather held permanent possession of the great grey cliffs and towering pinnacles, and climbing was out of the question altogether. A world of savage desolation gloomed down upon me through impenetrable mists; the scouts of winter's advance had established themselves upon all possible points of attack; and the whole tossed wilderness of precipice and scree lay safe, from my assaults at least, behind a frontier of furious autumn storms.