Gerard Sorme thinks the key to a more meaningful life lies in an expansion of human consciousness, and he believes that one way to expand it is through sexual experiences. He sets out to record in diary form his sexual encounters with various women: the middle-aged Gertrude, her teenage niece Caroline, and Diana, the wife of a mad composer determined to adapt Varney the Vampire into an opera.
But Sorme finds his beliefs and ideas challenged when he meets the fascinating and dangerous Caradoc Cunningham, who seems to possess occult powers and who has developed his own ways of expanding consciousness through drugs, orgies, and black magic.
And when Cunningham is targeted by his enemies, fellow black magicians who he believes are directing the powers of evil spirits at him, Sorme will find himself caught up in Cunningham's peril, culminating in his participation in a bizarre occult ritual....
First published in 1963, Man Without a Shadow explores Wilson's philosophy in the form of a black magic thriller that draws on inspirations as diverse as the writings of Aleister Crowley and Montague Summers, Huysmans's Là-bas, and the "penny dreadfuls" of Thomas Prest.