Erogrendel is a 2017 horror novel by Nathaniel J. Nelson. It deals with twenty-three-year-old widow Olivia Cambridge as she is pursued by the eponymous beast and discovers a host of paranormal abilities within herself. The novel is currently available on Amazon and a sample chapter is available on Nelson's website.
Throughout a long history of paranormal occurrences, one hellish creature has continued to rear its head, leaving death and misery in its wake. Its motives are unknown, but its method seems clear: kill – destroy – repeat. After being rescued from sexual assault by unseen forces, twenty-three-year-old widow Olivia Cambridge is contacted by Seventh Circle: a mediocre organization of ghost hunters who insist that she has become the latest target of an ancient evil that has plagued humanity for millennia. At first, she doesn't believe – but proof takes a hellish form. With the help of a powerful Seventh Circle employee, Olivia manages to stay one step ahead of the Beast – and ahead of a government whose prime objective is to keep everyone in the dark. But she soon finds that she can't run forever, and that the legacy of EROGRENDEL is more a part of her identity than she could ever have guessed.
The prologue is set in an ancient Scandinavian mead hall. Though most of the drinkers are now unconscious, one of them begins telling the story of Beowulf and his mighty deeds, although he refers to the hero's enemy as Erogrendel rather than simply Grendel.
Following the death of her unofficial fiancé — Nick McMann — a year before, Olivia Cambridge lives alone in her Boston apartment, working a dead-end job at the faceless Dark Side Enterprises. Once a month, her mother, Emma Cambridge, a recovering alcoholic, comes up from Vermont to visit.
On October third, 2015, Emma is up from Boston. She and Olivia go to a North End bar, where they are both hit on by men. Emma chooses to go home with her suitor, but Olivia rejects hers. She returns to her apartment alone and gets ready for bed. A strange noise in the alley next door keeps bothering her, so she goes to check it out. What she finds is the man from the bar — Scott John Roby — who tries to rape her. Just as he is pulling off her clothes, he seems to disappear into thin air. Olivia tries to escape the alleyway, but she passes out for unknown reasons.
She wakes up in Massachusetts General Hospital with her mother and Doctor Robert Noran, who explains that Roby is dead. She is introduced to Detective Isaac Parry, who asks her to identify Roby's body, which is torn up almost beyond recognition. She confirms his identity and goes home with her mother.
Olivia returns to the alleyway, which is now a crime scene. She meets Detective Brannon Cox and Mark Tenant: an employee of Seventh Circle, a local paranormal research organization. She has a panic attack and returns to her apartment.
Later, Parry interviews Scott's young sister, Julianne Roby. She speaks highly of her brother, having not yet found out he is dead. Parry, realizing that he's not going to get any information concerning Scott's potential enemies out of her, tells her the truth.
Cox shows up at Olivia's apartment and asks her to relate her side of the story. After he leaves, Olivia — apparently trying to force herself out of her vulnerable headspace — returns to the alleyway. Mark confronts her about his beliefs that Scott was killed by some sort of monster. She shoots him down, refusing to turn her attempted rape into a fantasy.
Meanwhile, Parry is attending Scott's autopsy, led by Doctor Jonathan Trope and his assistant, Doctor Briggs. They are horrified to discover that Scott's lungs are filled with tiny brown spiders: Ero aphana. Parry goes to Seventh Circle to ask its owner, Richard Marvin, his opinion of the case. Richard tells him that there have been several similar cases throughout history, all of which they believe to have been committed by the same paranormal being. Parry leaves Seventh Circle, refusing to consider a supernatural angle.
That night, Mark and Richard go out to drink. Mark gets drunk, and Richard allows him to sleep at his apartment.
The next morning, Emma leaves Boston. Parry calls Richard — not quite ready to ignore everything he says — and Richard makes a reference to "spiders," which convinces Parry to return to Seventh Circle.
Olivia goes to her receptionist job and is again contacted by Mark. She goes to meet him in front of the building, and he shows her a photograph supposedly depicting the monster clutching onto a windmill. Olivia refuses to believe him, returning to the office. Mark gets a drink then goes back to Seventh Circle, where he finds Richard displaying all their acquired evidence for Parry. Marks leaves the scene, and it is implied that Parry, once again, refuses to believe Richard.
A week later, Mark shows up at Olivia's apartment. They argue for a few minutes and Olivia becomes increasingly stressed, until she apparently passes out cold, possibly due to the onset of PTSD.
Parry attends the funeral of Scott John Roby. He notices one member of the congregation in particular: a tall, thin, incredibly pale man in sunglasses. He is surprised to hear the priest reference the Book of Sirichai, a part of the Bible with which he was not previously familiar. After the funeral, the pale man gives Parry his card, introducing himself as Collin Rosenger. When Parry calls his number, he is directed to a company called the Laurel Corporation and informed they don't know anyone by that name.
On her way to work, Olivia glances Mark, standing across Haymarket Square. She follows him onto a subway, getting off at a near-empty station when he does. They talk for a few moments, and Olivia finds herself almost believing him for the first time. Just then, they hear the same noise Olivia had heard the night she was attacked. Mark tells her that it is the sound of the monster, and the two escape up the stairs to street level.
Meanwhile, Parry — on his own time — visits Sacred Heart Church. He meets a young priest — Father Timothy — who tells him the history of the Book of Sirichai. He tells Parry that the priest who performed Scott's funeral — Father Nathan — is out of town, but would be back that evening. Parry agrees to return then.
Mark and Olivia make their way to West Broadway. Mark stops into a bar to grab a drink, to Olivia's horror. They go to Seventh Circle and tell Richard what happened, moving down to the second-story library to show Olivia the evidence of the monster's past victims. Mark tells Olivia that they have to leave Boston immediately, and she agrees.
When they get down to the lobby, they start hearing the monster's howl again. Olivia and Mark immediately escape the building and run across the street, though Richard doesn't understand what they're worried about. Just as he is leaving Seventh Circle and walking across the street, the front of the building breaks off and two thick, handless arms appear. Several pedestrians and drivers stop to take pictures or scream. Mark and Olivia take off running. They get a taxi to North Station, where they stow away on a train, finding out only after they're aboard that the train is a nonstop to New York City, a far cry from the rural, sewer-less town they were hoping for.
Father Nathan calls Parry and nervously tells him to meet at the Public Gardens later that day. Shortly after, Parry gets a call from Brannon telling him to get to Seventh Circle immediately. He does, and discovers that the building has been destroyed. Many Seventh Circle employees are dead; others are being helped by EMTs, policemen, and firefighters. Parry is confronted by Collin Rosenger, who now gives his name as Xavier Collin Potts. Xavier tells Parry that he and "his people" are going to make sure the media tells the story differently than how it happened: that Richard Marvin destroyed his own building for the publicity. He says that there is a warrant out for the arrest of Mark and Olivia, and there will be for Parry too if he doesn't stop investigating the death of Scott Roby. Parry last sees the living Seventh Circle employees being hoarded into unmarked black SUVs by his own coworkers on the Boston police force.
Olivia and Mark arrive in New York City. Although he is still paranoid about the monster showing up, Mark insists they spend the night and get a bus in the morning. He takes Olivia to a firearms store, where he flirts with the owner and arranges for her to illegally sell him a gun that night. The two of them go to Times Square, where they see footage of the Seventh Circle disaster on one of the screens. They get a hotel. The gun store employee shows up and sells Mark a Wilkinson handgun, then leaves. Mark and Olivia sleep.
Meanwhile, Parry returns home after his encounter with Xavier Collin Potts. After drunkenly calling his wife, he begins researching the shadow government conspiracy, beginning to believe that the police force and the entire American government is run by unseen forces.
When Mark and Olivia wake up, they take a cab to JFK International, where they plan to rent a car and drive to Rutson, Alabama, which is where Mark fought the monster in 2006. They are followed by a man in a fedora and trench coat. When the man is stopped by a pair of security guards, he sheds his clothing, revealing himself to be the monster. The congregation of planegoers is thrown into a panic, and Olivia briefly loses consciousness for unknown reasons. When she wakes up, the entire crowd is running in a panic. Three security guards approach the monster, though Mark knocks one of them out and steals his gun. The monster picks up one of the guards and kills him by smashing him against the floor. Mark shoots at the monster and it disappears down a gigantic hole in the floor. Olivia and Mark return to the hotel, grab Mark's new gun, and take a bus to Rutson.
Parry confronts his boss, Captain Cobb, about Seventh Circle and Xavier. Captain Cobb tells him the Roby case is officially closed by higher powers, though when Parry mentions Xavier the captain doesn't recognize the name. Parry then talks to his friend Detective Hardy Lee, who has apparently forgotten hoarding Seventh Circle employees into black vans the night before, though he remembers helping out after the disaster. Parry realizes that none of his coworkers remember what they did, and leaves the station in a panic.
Olivia and Mark arrive in Rutson that night. Dana Holman – whose husband, Ronan Matthews, and daughter, Lilian Holman, were killed in the battle between Mark and the beast nine years ago — picks them up and drives them back to her house, the site of the previous battle. She asks Olivia if she has something called "the Sense," but changes the conversation. Olivia finds Mark in a depressive mood, and they end up having sex.
Parry watches footage of the JFK incident on TV, while building his clues about Xavier and the shadow government, which he now believes is able to command the US government, the police force, and possibly the Catholic Church due to Father Nathan's avoidance of him after the Seventh Circle incident. After clicking on an ad mentioning the shadow government, Parry's computer suddenly dies.
At JFK International, Xavier Collin Potts and a number of his men investigate the destruction caused by the monster. A tech-based agent, Darius Torne, tells Xavier he shut down Parry's computer, but is unable to track him if he isn't driving his police-issue car. Xavier is approached by Agent Melbourne, who reminds him that the monster has never stopped its path of destruction before killing its target.
Over the next week, Olivia and Mark adapt to life on the farm, helping Dana out and waiting for the beast to show up. Olivia begins to wear Lilian's old clothing, and Mark wears Ronan's. While discussing the monster one day, Olivia accidentally uses the word "Erogrendel" — a name that just came to her at some point in New York — which seems to anger Mark for some reason.
Parry continues researching the shadow government, despite Xavier's warning, and one night Xavier appears in his house. He tells Parry that he has the sixth sense, and is thus able to understand his emotions and intentions; he also explains that Parry's fate does not concern him, and he works for "the ones who are really in charge." Xavier ushers Parry into an unmarked van; Parry asks for the chance to call his ex-wife one last time, but Xavier refuses.
On the twenty-third of October, two government agents show up at Dana's house. She tries to hide Olivia and Mark, but the agents kill her. They find the refugees, but suddenly die of no apparent cause. Mark and Olivia bury the agents and cremate Dana, disposing of their cell phones and credit cards; Mark gives Olivia a gold coin embossed with the Seventh Circle logo. Olivia finds Lilian's old diary and reads it, discovering that Ronan actually used to molest Lilian. She decides not to tell Mark about this. The two of them decide to turn themselves in, to stay away from Erogrendel, and drive to Rutson.
The next bus to New York doesn't show up until the next day, so Mark and Olivia enjoy themselves at a local Halloween festival. Olivia plays go fish with one of the vendors, apparently using the empathic powers she has developed throughout her life to win. She tells the vendor to give her his white cowboy hat as a prize, and he does. Mark enters a moonshine-drinking contest, thinking that the prize will help them get back to Boston. Olivia tries to use psychic on his opponents, but passes out from the stress. When she wakes up, it's raining, Mark is totally intoxicated and the fair has been abandoned due to Erogrendel's appearance. Olivia finds a gun and shoots at it. Erogrendel runs at her and she blacks out. She then finds herself in the Vermont forest, lying with Nick in the back of his pickup truck. He explains to her that she has The Sense: a form of psychic that is still present in some modern humans. He tells her that he's not allowed to explain what Erogrendel is, but that she will find out for herself very soon. She wakes up on top of the Ferris wheel with Erogrendel. Mark appears, still drunk, and tries to fight the monster, but is easily killed. The next morning, the Rutson police find Olivia, still sitting on top of the ferris wheel, silent and holding the Seventh Circle coin Mark had given her.
We see Vinny, a bartender that Mark and Olivia met aboard the train to New York, come to realize the truth behind the so-called "Beast of Boston." In the present, Xavier Collin Potts video chats with four unknown people — hinted to be the shadow government — in a secret base beneath 43 Rainmaker Street. They command him to lure Erogrendel back to Boston and destroy it.
Detective Lee, having received a cryptic VHS message from the now-missing Isaac Parry, elects to remain in Boston after the mandatory evacuation. Terrified of what might happen, he sits in the bullpen for hours before leaving to find the action.
Having been transferred from the police to the shadow government, Olivia is brought beneath 43 Rainmaker Street, where she is tortured in an electric chair by Xavier himself. She begins to see visions — what Xavier calls "Sense visions" — concerning past incarnations of Erogrendel. She sees the original version of the monster, also known as Grendel, who was the antagonist of the epic poem Beowulf, revealed to be based on a true story. What Beowulf failed to mention, however, is that Grendel only antagonized the local king, King Hrothgar, because he had killed one of his friends and begun forcing sex on his orphaned daughter, Odilia, under the pretense of allowing her to stay in his home. Just like in the epic poem, Grendel is unable to kill Hrothgar, as he is first defeated by the eponymous Beowulf. Just before Grendel appears for the first time, it is at the same time that Odilia carves an image into the side of a tree: a spider with a trident pattern on its back, resembling an Ero aphana.
When Olivia wakes up, she hears the call of Erogrendel from somewhere above her. Xavier escapes the building, leaving her alone and strapped to the electric chair. She tries to escape, but is continually plagued by Sense visions. She sees her father, Joel Cambridge, when he first decides to leave Emma and the unborn Olivia due to his responsibilities as part of the Boston Mafia. She sees him again several years later, when he is shot dead in an alleyway. She wakes up, breaking out of the chair.
Meanwhile, Erogrendel has appeared in Boston, near Olivia's apartment. Xavier had already mandated an evacuation of the North End, and has set up a troop of soldiers from his secret organization to fight the monster. He plans on killing Erogrendel then and there, but is still waiting for a pair of high-tech helicopters to arrive.
Olivia finally makes it to Cross Street, where the troops are located. When Erogrendel sees Olivia it becomes angry, and the soldiers begin shooting at it. The choppers show up, but he knocks them out of the sky, destroying an entire building.
Olivia has another Sense vision, this time of Lilian being molested by Ronan and praying to her father for help, just like Odilia had. She then sees every other time Erogrendel has appeared over the years, finally realizing that the monster is a default body occupied by the souls of men whose daughters are in danger of sexual violence; thus, the current incarnation of Erogrendel contains the soul of Joel Cambridge, who returned to save his estranged daughter from Scott John Roby.
Olivia wakes up and begins walking towards the beast, away from Cross Street. Erogrendel climbs down its building to see her. They share a brief moment, before the soldiers fire at him. Erogrendel wraps himself around Olivia, dying but saving her life.
A couple days later, Olivia is invited to meet with Xavier. He tells her that they will no longer claim that Richard Marvin was responsible for faking Erogrendel, but will continue to say that the "Battle of Cross Street" — as well as Seventh Circle, JFK, and Rutson — were acts of terrorism. He offers Olivia a place in his organization — an offer which Richard Marvin has already accepted — and hands her the white cowboy hat.
A funeral is held for all the dead, including Mark, the eight helicopter pilots, the two agents who Olivia accidentally killed in Semper, the JFK security guard, and Detective Lee, who was crushed to death in the rubble of the skyscraper. Olivia sees one of the honor guards handing Mark's American flag to a woman she doesn't know. She spends a moment at Nick's gravestone, admitting that she secretly believed Erogrendel was him rather than her father; she forgives Nick for dying and forgives Scott Roby for the attack. She later contemplates her future, knowing that the shadow government killed Dana and many others with no cause, but recognizes that they are the winning side against the paranormal. She accepts Xavier's offer.
One year after Erogrendel's death, a little girl named Lilian Tenant — heavily implied to be Mark's daughter — is playing alone in her yard. Her single mother — implied to be the woman Olivia saw taking Mark's flag — calls her into the house, but she pauses when a dirty, bearded man approaches her. He asks if she wants to shake his hand, calling her pretty. She suddenly begins to feel his emotions, something she doesn't quite understand. She looks down at her bouncy ball, noticing its spider pattern for the first time. When she looks up, the man is gone.
The next day, the police find the man's body in the alley beside Lilian's house, broken in half and crawling with spiders.
(see List of Erogrendel characters)
Point of view characters
• Olivia Cambridge: A twenty-three-year-old graduate of UVM, living in Boston following the death of her unofficial fiancé Nick. She works a dead-end job as a receptionist at Dark Side Enterprises, until Erogrendel changes her entire life.
• Mark Tenant: An employee of Seventh Circle — the only one who has actually come into contact with the paranormal. He is extremely devoted to catching Erogrendel, although he is easily distracted by alcohol and attractive women.
• Isaac Parry: A detective with the Boston Police Department. He is assigned to investigate the death of Scott John Roby.
• Xavier Collin Potts: The head of a secret organization devoted to the paranormal and possibly running the entire world from behind the scenes.
• Hardy Lee: A detective who becomes suspicious of the police department after Isaac’s disappearance.
• Vinny: A bartender aboard the Amtrak that Mark and Olivia take from Boston to New York. He recognizes the two of them from their WANTED notices that are popping up all over the Internet.
• Richard Marvin: Seventh Circle's founder and manager.
• Dana Holman: The mother and wife of Erogrendel's last victims.
• Emma Cambridge: Olivia's mother. A recovering alcoholic.
• Ruby Lloyd: An employee at Seventh Circle. Ruby is young, attractive, and seemingly uninterested in her job. Still, when Mark asks her to dig up some dirt on Olivia, she does so willingly.
• King Hrothgar: A king of Ancient Denmark. Also appears in the epic poem Beowulf, from which Erogrendel was derived.
• Odilia: A young, attractive woman residing in Ancient Denmark. A ward, and later unwilling lover, of King Hrothgar.
• Joel Cambridge: Olivia's late father, an unmade part of the Boston Mafia. Only appears in flashbacks.
• Lilian Holman: Dana's daughter and Ronan's stepdaughter. She was accidentally killed by Erogrendel in 2006.
• Ronan Matthews: Dana's second husband and Lilian's stepfather. He was killed by Erogrendel as punishment for molesting Lilian.
• Lilian Tenant: the daughter of Mark Tenant and his unnamed wife. It is suggested that she has The Sense, as Mark is able to come back as Erogrendel for her.