William Harrison Ainsworth
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If you stumble upon the elixir of life, which provides you with eternal life, youth and health, then it's rather a bad idea to spoil this great gift by signing a pact with the devil on top of it to receive great financial fortune as well. Auriol Darcy, the protagonist of our story, has in fact made this mistake, but soon finds out that the price to pay is much too high to bear. And getting out of a pact with the devil is never easy.
William Harrison Ainsworth's novel is divided into three parts and the final part provides quite a surprise twist ending, which will not be revealed here. The surrealistic plot and setting and especially the psychological elements give this novel quite a modern touch, considering it's been written as early as 1844. The colourful characterization of some shady people from the lower classes of society lend a humouristic touch to the story which provides a nice contrast to the otherwise gloomy gothic atmosphere of the main plot.