Caves of Buda

The Caves of Buda

A Roman magician binds a 5-stone-eyed demon deep in caves in a part of the world that eventually become known as Budapest, Hungary. Now, the bindings are breaking. The three main characters have to either rebind the demon, or destroy it, before it causes another war in Eastern Europe.

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Caves of Buda — Novel Notes

Caves of Buda, though not a sequel to Paper Mage, is really a companion book, in terms of theme. The theme of Paper Mage is “Life is choice.” The theme of Caves of Buda is, “Choose again.” Xiao Yen, in Paper Mage, has to learn that letting other people make decisions about her life is the worst thing she can do. It’s only when she takes control of her own destiny that her situation improves. In Caves of Buda, Zita needs to learn that just because she’s made one choice, reached one decision about her life, doesn’t mean she’s stuck with it for the rest of her life. She can change. It’s hard, but it’s possible. Laci and Ephraim also makes second choices in Caves of Buda: Laci during his second confrontation with Bélusz, and Ephraim with the general direction of his life.

I started planning Caves of Buda as I was finishing an early draft of Paper Mage, back in July, 1999. I sometimes call myself a gestalt writer–when I get an idea for a novel, I see the whole thing: beginning, middle, and ending. I don’t see all the connecting pieces, but I know something of the characters, a little of their arcs, as well as the theme for the novel. One of the first scenes I outlined in 1999 was one of the last scenes of the novel, with Laci on the back of the stag. That image was so clear to me when the idea for the novel came. I remember when I finally got the chance to write the book, how, as I was nearing that scene, I got excited, how I couldn’t wait to sit down and write, every day, just so I could finally get to that scene, write about the pictures I’d been living with in my head for a couple of years.

Selected Bibliography

This isn’t a complete bibliography of all the research sources I used for Caves of Buda. It is a good starting point for readers interested in Hungary and the other elements that make up this novel.


Doernberg, Myrna. Stolen Mind. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 1989.

Gager, John. Curse Tables and Binding Spells from the Ancient World. Oxford University Press, 1992.

Gadney, Reg. Cry Hungary! Uprising 1956. Antheneum, 1986.

Gerö, András. Heroes’ Square Budapest. Corvina, 1990.

Lukacs, John. Budapest 1900. Grove Press, 1988.

Mace, Nancy L., Rabins, Peter V., M.D. The 36-Hour Day. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982.

McClurg, David. Adventure of Caving. D&J Press, 1996.

Middleton, John, Waltham, Tony. The Underground Atlas. The Promotional Reprint Company, 1992.

Rapport, Judith L., M.D. The Boy Who Couldn’t Stop Washing. Plume, 1989.

Memoir and Poetry

Denes, Magda. Castles Burning. W.W. Norton & Company, 1997.

Makkai, Adam. In Quest of the Miracle Stag. Atlantis-Centaur Inc., 1996.

Michener, James A. The Bridge at Andau. Random House, 1957.

Nyiri, János. Battlefields and Playgrounds. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989.

Polcz, Alaine. A Wartime Memoir: Hungary 1944-1945. Corvina, 1998.

Teglas, Csaba. Budapest Exit. Texas A&M University Press, 1998.


Ausubel, Nathan. A Treasury of Jewish Folklore. Crown Publishers, 1949.

Dégh, Linda. Hungarian Folktales: The Art of Zsuzsanna Palkó. University Press of Mississippi, 1995.

Petuchowski, Jakob J. Our Masters Taught: Rabbinic Stories and Sayings. Crossroad Publishing Company, 1982.

Róheim, Géza. Hungarian And Vogul Mythology. University of Washington Press, 1966.

Weinreich, Beatrice Silverman. Yiddish Folktales. Pantheon Books, 1988.

Web Sources

General information about Hungary and Hungarian culture:

More general information:

All about alchemy:

Traditions of magic in late antiquity:

Historical text archive:

A gallery of demons: