Mix gothic novel with Goethe’s Faust (sort of), throw in a bit of classical mythology and then you’ve got:
Fox turned the book between his hands. Dark, red leather, soft and smooth like silk. The flash of gilt letters and ornaments. He rubbed his thumb over the inscription on the spine – Mysteries of the Rhine.
He flicked the book open. The frontispiece showed a strapping young man in the shabby, dark clothes of a poor scholar, a fat book raised high over his head. In front of him crouched what looked like a cross between Cerberus and a sheep. “Worthy Markander and the three-headed monster poodle,” the inscription read. And on the title page,