a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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The Dark Lord (2005)
Patricia Simpson

This fantasy/horror/romance novel features as its protagonist a young, female math professor at UC-Berkeley who gets caught up in a battle with a demon when she finds an unusual deck of tarot cards in Egypt. Like the only other official "paperback romance" on my list, this book is especially notable for its misconception of what a mathematician does. I suppose this one is a bit better than the mathematician who handles finances for a millionaire in Miscalculations, but I still feel the need to address it.

I am very sympathetic to the misconception that mathematics is a closed book, that we already know all the math there is, that math is just obvious like "2+2". I'm sympathetic because I still remember thinking of it that way. The fact is, however, math is more like research science. It takes lots of hard work for us to invent (like the lightbulb) and discover (like gravity) mathematics. If not for the mathematicians doing this work in the past, we would not know much more now than "2+2". And, there are many people employed as research mathematicians today. As the book correctly portrays, professors at Berkeley and even here at the College of Charleston have research programs. Though Patricia Simpson describes Rae as having research in the book, her research is about the past ("how did mathematics affect the culture of ancient Egypt?").

I assure you, the math professors at UC-Berkeley are not studying the math of the past, they are creating the math of the future! (That sounds a bit too melodramatic...doesn't it? Sorry.)

Anyway, other than that, I can only say that this book is what you would expect. If you are interested in fantasy combined with the standard "romance genre", you may well enjoy this book. I did not particularly like it, but I'm sure I am not in the intended audience demographic either!

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to The Dark Lord
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. The Devil and Simon Flagg by Arthur Porges
  2. The Rose Acacia by Ralph P. Boas, Jr.
  3. The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner
  4. The Lady's Code by Samantha Saxon
  5. Miscalculations by Elizabeth Mansfield
  6. Bonnie's Story: A Blonde's Guide to Mathematics by Janis Hill
  7. Imaginary Numbers by Seanan McGuire
  8. The Smithsonian Institution by Gore Vidal
  9. Coyote Moon by John A. Miller
  10. Threshold by Sara Douglass
Ratings for The Dark Lord:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
1/5 (1 votes)
Literary Quality:
2/5 (1 votes)

GenreFantasy, Romance,
MotifFemale Mathematicians, Romance,

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Exciting News: The 1,600th entry was recently added to this database of mathematical fiction! Also, for those of you interested in non-fictional math books let me (shamelessly) plug the recent release of the second edition of my soliton theory textbook.

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)