This novel is by turns tense and wildly entertaining. Fotou weaves mystery through every page, starting from the encounter between a shady priest and the prioress that opens the narrative in Portugal. Readers are presented with some kind of premonition, a sense that something evil is being worked on as they study three characters — two religious persons and a lady who is tortured — ''Her suffering was evident; the haggard lines, the sunken cheeks of one whose weight loss was neither slow nor intended; the fine sweat beading her brow.'' From this moment on, the tension builds up in the story and there is no moment it slows down. Fotou creates characters that are genuinely flawed yet lovable, from the female protagonist caught up in a web of deceit, murder, and unspeakable evil to members of a dangerous cabal. The prose is beautiful and the writing is hugely descriptive. The first-narrative voice gives the story an energy that makes it transporting. Powerfully eerie and atmospheric, The Energumen perfectly melds elements of a good psychological thriller and the supernatural; it is the story of a protagonist who must survive against the odds. It is as suspenseful as it can be.