Jeremy Spencer had started an occult order with friends back in college, heavy on free love and magic. The original group, the Brethren, included Jeremy’s lover, Bowen, Seth and his wife (more in name than anything else), Alex and Marianne. Jeremy left to get his Ph.D. in Renaissance music and having grown tired of the openness of the relationships. He wasn’t fond of sharing Bowyn with Seth.
Years down the road, Jeremy has been asked back to the Temple, now under Seth’s leadership and has grown into a rather large group. Seth has a piece of music by the philosopher, Ficino and wants Jeremy to transcribe this score and get to the heart of it. Jeremy finds himself drawn back into Temple life, especially Bowyn’s, reluctantly at first.
As he settles into Temple life, and getting back with Bowyn after several years, Jeremy comes to believe the Ficino score is some form of ceremonial magic, not that he’s terribly surprised by this. After all, Seth wanted him to translate it. The works of John Dee and the Enochian angelic language are woven into this (funny, I knew their works but not Ficino, says a lot).
In the meantime, Jeremy is also drawn to Christopher, a young man who suffered great abuse before coming to the Temple when he hit eighteen recently. Jeremy is more interested in helping Christopher but the young man is very mistrustful of that.
As all the things start to boil, the tension ratchets up and as the title suggests, when it comes to a head, things go very badly. I don’t want to say more than that and ruin some of the surprises. I really enjoyed this. I particularly like Jeremy. He seems like someone I’d have as a friend.