The Sacred Fury is a literary work of social criticism, a tale about modern-day deviltry.
The story surrounds Dylan and Sidney Greene, a newly married couple who live in Baltimore. Dylan, who is the Junior Editor at a local newspaper, is enticed to join an organization called G.O.O.D. whose aim is to control all human life. But Sidney begins having bizarre prophetic dreams about graveyards, disembodied spirits from the past and macabre visions of Samurai armor that comes to life. Meanwhile, Dylan is drawn inexorably into the sinister organization where he realizes his job is to write the news before it happens.
At the same time, Sidney seeks an explanation for her dreams from a local fortune teller. It is here where she learns the truth about G.O.O.D. and their plan to excavate the grave of Edgar Alan Poe in search of the potion for eternal life.
Although set in Baltimore in the very near future, The Sacred Fury includes two dramatis personae who appertain to the past: Edgar Allan Poe and John Reuben Thompson. The latter appears as a literary voice in a fictional letter written in his style, and the former as a specter avenging the desecration of his grave.
“The past is a foreign country,” wrote L.P. Hartley. As I see it, the first rule for any writer of fiction about the past is to respect the known geography of that country. One of the worst offenders against this rule is Larry McMurtry, a superb story teller who nevertheless seems compelled to rewrite history. In Streets of Laredo, for example, he has a serial killer shoot down the famous Judge Roy Bean. If a shot killed the real Judge Bean, it was a shot of whiskey, and several years after the time frame of McMurtry’s novel at that. My idea of a model is the late George MacDonald Fraser, who wrote the Flashman series. He weaves his tales in the interstices of the known events and includes helpful endnotes to inform the reader.