Hailed by critic E. F. Bleiler as a "landmark book in the history of fantasy," Mervyn Wall's classic The Unfortunate Fursey (1946) is set in 10th century Ireland, where the forces of evil have launched an assault on the monastery of Clonmacnoise. Their task is made easier by the fact that one hapless monk, the simple-minded Brother Fursey, cannot manage to pronounce the necessary words of exorcism. When the other monks discover this, the unfortunate Fursey is expelled and sets forth on the first stage of his travels, accompanied by a fantastic procession of cacodemons, hippogriffs, imps, furies, and other dreadful creatures, not to mention the elegant gentleman in black who is their commander-in-chief.
"Wildly fantastic, intensely satirical, and wickedly comic." (Irish Times)