From time to time, I’d like to take a look at some of the books, legends, myths, events, etc. that may have informed an author’s story. This is totally unofficial, since I won’t be interviewing anybody for it. However, I’m hoping to use some of my rare book/research skills to make observations regarding books I’m reading. I’ll be calling it “Source Material.”
To start this off, I’d like to post a brief bit of source material for Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay, the third book in the Dexter series. I’m about to possibly spoil it, so please skip if you want to read the book and don’t want any spoilers.
Okay, so in the book Dexter discovers a cult that sacrifices victims to the ancient god Moloch. According to Encylopedia Britannica online, Moloch was a deity that was worshipped throughout the ancient Middle East. It was known for having children sacrificed to statues of the god, often by fire. And while Dexter’s enemies aren’t sacrificing children specifically, they do indeed use fire.
The statue they worship is described as having a bull’s head, and an oven-like opening for burning sacrifices. This jogged something in my memory. A couple of months earlier, I had been cataloging a book (view the record here). It had some amazing illustrations, so I took a photo with my iPod. Lo and behold, I had an image of the very statue of Moloch that Dexter was witness to!
So there is Moloch as portrayed in 1676. Maybe not as shocking as we expect today, but I bet he was absolutely terrifying if you were the sacrifice!