Devil And Disciple: The Temptation is the debut novel from champion bodybuilder and fetish model, Lisa Cross. It’s been taking the fitness world by storm, as it is possibly one of the very first novels written by a fitness athlete that isn’t a dieting or exercise manual, instead featuring both an accurate take on the life of a female bodybuilder as a whole, as well as some intrigue, conspiracy and horror. There’s no question in my mind that Lisa’s writing dedication is tantamount the same amount of dedication that she puts into her own equally chiseled body of work. Yet this book is so much more than one might expect from mere face value. From the cover, one would expect this to be marginally full of muscle erotica and worship, of which it does feature a few chapters on such subjects. But what I do like about those two chapters is that they show how the muscle worship sessions really do come across sometimes, with the first gentleman wanting something more intimate and beautiful and the other wanting a complete session in domination. From Lisa’s words here, I can only assume that she’s writing this from experience, which makes it all the more intriguing.
But forgive my babble as I’ll now begin to discuss the book as a whole. The protagonist of Devil And Disciple: The Temptation is a professional bodybuilder by the name of Amanda, who desires what most women in the competition would want – the title of Miss World Body Builder. The book describes every part of her struggle to obtain this, including her rigorous and somewhat dangerous dieting, which almost led to her passing out on stage due to being sabotaged (someone stole her glucose drink from her bag!).No doubt that this is something that bodybuilders deal with quite a bit in the sport, as the sport itself is really more about the diet than it is the lifting to begin with. There’s also a section in a restaurant where Amanda’s boyfriend and support line Steve decides that he wants to have a great big cheeseburger and a slice of white chocolate macadamia nut cheesecake, but she has to stick to her diet and opens up a container of boiled chicken instead. Reminds me of Pumping Iron 2, when the women complain that they’ve eaten so much chicken that they’re afraid they’re going to start flying. Boiled chicken is a bodybuilder’s best friend (and I eat a lot of it myself) but it’s not overly all that tasty, so I’m quite sure that you’d get tired of it after having to eat it practically every meal. It’s quite assured that her mouth was watering over that at Steve’s plate, as she later showed during a massive food binge later on in the book. You see, female bodybuilders have to work for what most of take for granted and plow into our stomachs, but the majority of them live longer, healthier and stronger than we do; so the benefits are worth the sacrifice in the long run.
As for the metalheads who caught this review, there are actually some references in the book to Iron Maiden (of which Steve is a huge fan of) Ozzy Osbourne and ACDC, so clearly the woman has good taste in music. These are some of the best and most influential bands in the business and anyone who wants to debate the greatness of Iron Maiden with me will soon be reduced to an insignificant pile of rubble. The book actually quotes, “You didn’t need to think when the Maiden were playing. You just listened and appreciated.” That’s definitely metal enough for me and I don’t think anyone’s going to have a problem with that. But this review isn’t a debate on how metal or not metal the book is. Clearly there’s a lot of metal being lifted in it, so it’s filled with metal in that instance; but that’s also beside the point. The book itself is also filled with the same sort of humor and wit as I’ve just poked at, which had me chuckling quite a bit throughout the read. The bit at the Tate Modern art gallery had me rolling with laughter, to be honest.
“Sure, it sounds like a good book for those who want to know about the life of a bodybuilder and it’s full of cheeky British wit. But what of the story?” You ask. And that is precisely what I am about to explain. After a few short fetish chapters, the story comes rolling on in with a fury that doesn’t let go until its thrilling conclusion. You see, Russia soon becomes a large part of the book and that is where Alexander and Koroviev become introduced. I found Alexander to be quite captivating, yet devious in his attempts to use science and technology to turn Amanda into some sort of bodybuilding goddess. There’s of course an underlying reason behind this that I won’t quite get into, but it definitely shows you the kind of depraved; yet genius mind that comprises him. He’s certainly insane, but exceptionally well-read and I certainly found myself agreeing with some of his points. He seems almost like a sort of tempting Luciferian figure in the book, which might be the reason why it’s considered to be The Temptation portion of the series. The relationship between Steve and Amanda also becomes a heavy point in the novel, showing the work as one massively meticulous romance novel at its heart; with their relationship being far from perfect and more true to reality than the kind of romantic fantasies that adorn Wal-Mart bookshelves worldwide. It’s passionately deep and in a way that truly becomes effectual on the reader as you continue to flip through the pages in the hopes that perhaps Amanda and Steve might reconcile before the final word is read.
As a well-read man myself, I can say that Lisa’s prose is absolutely fantastic and the novel reads like it came from someone who is actually experienced in the craft. These days we have a lot of celebrities and other famous figures who write books just because they can, but Lisa wrote this novel because she had literally caught the writer’s bug. She believed in the work and the characters enough that she wanted to share them with the world. She believed in the book’s message and in the power of the story itself. It’s both an inspirational and a cautionary tale to fitness athletes everywhere, which should get more promotion than what it’s currently been receiving. More people should be reading this one and the subsequent books that will undoubtedly come after it. Lisa Cross proves that she’s a worthy author with only her best novels ahead. It’s a truly brilliant debut and I can’t recommend it enough, whether you’re a fan of bodybuilding or not. This is the very definition of originality, and it is a book like this that will surely save the crippling literary industry.
Purchase Devil And Disciple: The Temptation on Amazon here.