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Pro Luce Habere Volume I (On the Soul series Book 2) Kindle Edition
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The book is full of mankind's injustice to mankind in the name of God and justice, and it documents Valery's struggle to come to terms with his `remade' self and reconcile his beliefs with the fact that he must kill in order to live. The events shown are dark and disturbing, and Valery's angst is real and continual, yet the book is full of light, Valery's light. The light of his soul, his compassion, his beauty - both inner and outer, his unquenchable search for truth and the depth of his love.
I love Valery and I wonder what it is about this tortured soul that draws me so. I think it is his thirst to know God. Even when he has given up on God, still he seeks to know the essence of life, which is in the end, the same thing. Keley's vampires can't live on animal blood, because they seek to taste the soul of their prey at the moment of death. Animals do not know good or evil, or right or wrong, and without this knowing, their life is too simple for their death to satisfy. So Valery is forced to kill, hence to sin and deal with his guilt.
As we travel with Valery across Europe and through his life, we also hear the stories of his friends, mostly sad tales of love and loss, betrayal and unjust punishment. The stories make for moving reading in themselves, but what makes them special is how each person shares with Valery their philosophical rationalisation for their and other's behaviour. This adds to the books deeply contemplative nature.
It's probably not a book for everyone, but it's perfect for those who like an intense, passionate character in a dark setting and especially for anyone interested in medieval history. I give it 5 stars and look forward to volume two in Pro Luce Haber.
Set in Europe and the Holy Land, this book re-introduces us to some of the secondary characters from the first book, and brings in some new ones; but our focus, as before is on Valery's story. It's a dark story indeed, played out against the tragic insanities of the Children's Crusade, the atrocities of the 13th-century "holy war" between Catholics and Cathars, the ravages of the Black Death, and the bloody beginnings of the popular fear epidemic that would become the witch hysteria of the succeeding centuries. There are some scenes of grisly-gory violence here, though Keley does her best to spare us the worst of it; but the grisliest horrors aren't the deeds of the vampires, but the things human beings are capable of doing to other humans. The outward story, though, is only part of what's here: much of the meat of the novel lies in the character's interior reflections (and the head games of the older vampires). This is definitely a novel of serious, deep ideas; Valery and his fellow vampires grapple with issues like the existence of God, theodicy, the nature of right and wrong, the status of human life, and the possible extent of God's grace and mercy. And here these aren't just abstractions --they're agonized questions wrenched up from the guts of Catholic-educated souls who can continue their earthly existence only at the cost of (fairly frequently) taking human life.
IMO, this series will stand the test of time as a significant contribution to the tradition of vampire fiction, and serious Christian supernatural fiction. I'm glad to have the privilege of being among the first readers, and I'm eagerly looking forward to the next book!