From Publishers Weekly
The Black Death has decimated Europe, the Hundred Years War is at a turning point and the English and French peasantry are in open revolt—but is this revolution simply a change whose time has come, or is it due to something far more sinister? In this passionate first volume of a new trilogy by Australian author Douglass (The Wayfarer Redemption), evil is afoot in medieval Christian Europe. The archangel St. Michael has given Brother Thomas Neville, a Dominican friar, a mandate to repel evil and restore order. A difficult man at the best of times, Thomas now believes he's above church strictures and secular control. On top of that, Thomas is trying to forge his way through Europe as it self-destructs, and he can't trust the people around him since the evil that's stalking the world can shift shape and take the form of anyone at anytime. Douglass has again brilliantly blended detailed research with religion and magic to reinterpret actual historical events, here the shift from extreme spiritualism to humanism that began in 14th-century Europe. And as in her Troy series (Hades' Daughter), she manages to make the reader care about self-absorbed, flawed characters who often act out of fear, greed or stupidity. This captivating historical fantasy ranks with the best in the subgenre.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
By the late 1300s, the plague that decimated Europe is finally abating, but not before it claims one more victim: Brother Wynken, an unassuming monk whose dark and sacred responsibility it is to safeguard the gates of Hell. Fortunately, the archangels grant the dying brother the means to pass his responsibility to an unsuspecting newborn. When repentant former soldier Thomas Neville, now joined in the Dominican order, finally matures and makes his way to Rome, the archangel Michael appears to him in a vision and formally passes the baton. Neville's obligations carry an extra burden, however; as Wynken lay dying, a tribe of cherubic demons slipped from his grasp and infiltrated normal human society. Neville's job, which tempts the mercenary element of his soul, is to round up those demons before they wreak havoc on Earth and launch an attack on Heaven. Captivatingly written, this first installment of a planned trilogy should win fans of fantasy and historical fiction alike. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved