The Caliph, Vathek, and his mother, Carathis, are cruel and ruthless in their search for knowledge and supernatural powers. Listening to Giaour, who claims to be an Indian merchant and has earned Vathek's attention, they abandon their faith, Islam, to live in sin and murder innocent people to sacrifice to Giaour - who work for the Devil, Eblis, and whose name means blasphemer - to be able to achieve these powers. Of course, it's not that easy.
Written in 1786, by the English author William Beckford, "Vathek" is one of the first gothic novels. One might view the book as a moral tale, or just a fascinating story about abandoning reason and empathy to achieve a goal that perhaps is superfluous. At the same time, the negative view of thirst for knowledge - apart from the cruel crimes committed to achieve it - is interesting.
Being a great inspiration to many authors, the expectations might be high. Unfortunately, the book, which is only 120 pages, is a heavy read and the character development, except from the main characters - is almost non-existent, which makes it difficult to maintain interest.