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Chant of Death Paperback – August 8, 2010
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With great insight into the intersection of the sacred and the profane, Chant of Death offers a mystery with a mystical twist. Intelligent, compelling, and fascinating. --CANDY PAULL, Author of The Art of Abundance, July 2010
Chant of Death is a remarkable piece of storytelling: grounded in the real and the observable but connected as well to the magical and the ineffable. Diane Marquart Moore and Isabel Anders are rare intelligences in the world of mystery writers. They have woven a tale that is at once a traditional mystery with nods here and there to the best of the writers in the genre. But they have also written a thoroughly contemporary work that explores the medieval church as well as the challenges faced by the post-modern church, the vagaries and varieties of every kind of love imaginable, the consolations of both philosophy and modern psychology, the lures and temptations of both monastic life and life on the outside. This work is engrossing and satisfying, a tapestry one can more easily enter than leave behind. Rich, expansive, masterfully plotted to please the broadest spectrum of readers. --DARRELL BOURQUE, Poet Laureate of Louisiana, July 2010
Set in a Benedictine monastery in Louisiana, Chant of Death is one of those rare novels that examines contemporary issues of the church with candor, erudition, and spiritual insight. It is also an exploration of what it means to live a holy life in the face of spiritual and physical assaults. In the end, Father Malachi becomes not merely an amateur detective in pursuit of a killer, but a consummate investigator of the human heart, probing the failings and frailties of all who surround him. --LISA GRALEY, Poet, Writer, and Professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, July 2010
Divine unity, pedophilia, love, chant, voodoo, monks and the power of seven. The rousing mystery, Chant of Death, combines spiritual wisdom with incredible real life observation. It's a rare blend of spirituality, intrigue, and psychology. Makes me think: Not `Roll Over Beethoven,' but `Move Over Dan Brown!' An excellent read, I was fascinated. --JO ANN LORDAHL, Author of Secrets and Wolf World, July 2010
From the Publisher
An intelligent, entertaining murder mystery enhanced by quotes worth contemplating and an education in the spiritual importance of chant, both innovative and traditional. After making the acquaintance of the wise and complex Abbot Malachi, I hope to continue a friendship with him and his brothers in the near future.--MARLENE LEFEVER, Vice President of Educational Development at David C Cook
The forces of God and Mammon collide in a south Louisiana monastery in Dianne Moore and Isabel Anders' compelling narrative. Dramatic, fast-paced, learned without being pedantic, this novel entertains and informs as it shows us a monastic community all too human and plagued with its own secular demons. This novel has it all: religion, politics, sexual intrigue, and a pop culture infiltrating the few sacred spaces left in our world.--MARY ANN WILSON, Endowed Professor of Humanities at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Top Customer Reviews
What Benedict could not have envisioned was that the monastic choir would be discovered and elevated to the status of rock stars. Although Fr. Malachi was uneasy at the massive amounts of money flowing into their coffers, he reasoned that their newfound wealth would pay for their projects in Haiti, and all would be well. The money proved corrupting, of course, and set off a chain of horrifying events, including the savage murder of two monks.
One of the glories of this little book is the complex character of Father Malachi. One sees the action through his eyes, hears his inmost thoughts and prayers. He is an intellectual, a former Jungian psychiatrist, a devout and deeply religious man. Another pleasure is the prose--smooth, clear, and elegant.
The authors of this book are both serious writers and serious churchwomen, one a deacon; but they do not shrink from depicting the moral failures brought to public attention in the recent scandal of pedophile priests. They even throw in a bit of voodoo, the carnal love between two of the young monks, justified by the writings of Aelred, not one but two idiots and a crazed monk, and a tough, provocative, foulmouthed female detective into this spicy gumbo of a book. The reader will also get an education in chant for the money.
As the suspense builds, much of the action centers around the character of Father Malachi. As Abbot of the monastery, he is responsible for the well-being of the monks under his authority while at the same time seeking the identity of a murderer. Surely it is not one of the monks - or is it? Complicating matters even further is evidence of voodoo curses.
While seeking clues to solve the murders, Fr. Malachi must contend with the demands of his autocratic Bishop as well as the detective assigned to the case - the tough-minded Zelda Wagner. The chaos surrounding the murders not only shatters the orderly life of the monastery but threatens the integrity of the monastic Rule itself.
The isolated Louisiana countryside and a cast of intriguing characters including the enigmatic self-proclaimed prophet, Eli-Jah contribute to the suspense of the story that holds the reader's attention to the very end.
Two talented authors have collaborated to tell this compelling story which examines contemporary issues of the church alongside the timelessness of the Benedictine Rule as the characters confront their personal spiritual issues.