"The White Dominican" shows Gustav Meyrink indulging his talent for arcane abstraction, tracing the mysteries of the soul's interior space.
The story follows Christopher Dovecote on his way to a pre-ordained destiny of final enlightenment. Christopher is rescued as a boy from an orphanage by Baron Bartholomew von Jocher when the Baron learns Christopher is a natural mystic, able to take his body into the country of dreams as he sleeps.
The Baron is a Freemason and a free-thinker. He lets Christopher develop along his own path, offering only the occasional piece of advice voiced as Taoist paradox.
As Christopher matures, he finds and looses love, faces the dark side of himself, and finally learns that his soul has a secret history and a destiny to fulfill which is beyond anything he could ever have imagined.
"The White Dominican", though fairly a short novel, is not an easy read the first time through. It is not at all about linear plot or even about character development. Meyrink said he wrote his novels "according to the laws of magic"--and this one perhaps most of all. The beginning of the novel shows the strong influence of Dickens (whom Meyrink translated into German), but after the first few chapters Meyrink has built the story into something entirely unique.