Book Two in the Angelus Trilogy, Angel City, provided as a net galley copy by the publishers in exchange for an honest review (thank you), is an action-packed, hold on to the edge of your seat read, that’s a cross between a high-octane adventure/crime novel and something akin (but much better) than Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code with doses of philosophy, science and astronomy thrown in for good measure.
Commencing with an explosion that rocks Paris and the cosmic forces protecting and harming humans, we’re once again introduced to Jay Harper, ageless, timeless (in a sense) and very much damaged protector of humanity.
Over two years have passed since the events in Lausanne Cathedral and the dark forces made to retreat at the end of book one are back in full force and twice as virulent. Recruited once more to fight for “good”, the weary Harper is coerced into accompanying a murderous priest and his strange, younger but quite brilliant side-kick on a hunt through the catacombs of Paris, a hunt to uncover a sinister object that may or may not spell the end of life as we know it. Certainly, it’s discovery signals the beginning of the Prophecy is at hand – a prophecy the dark forces will do anything to prevent being fulfilled.
In the meantime, Katherine Taylor, the hooker without a heart, has not only found she has one, but that it’s firmly beating for her adorable son, Max. Whisked to the United States and forced to forget the people and events that almost claimed her life in Switzerland over two years earlier, Katherine is in the protection of the Swiss guard, living a more than sheltered life and medicated regularly.
Segueing between cracking exterior scenes involving Harper to more sedate and intimate domestic ones with Katherine and her son, to the killer priest and his accomplice, Goose, the book sets a relentless pace except when imparting important pieces of information and some essential historical context. Convenient sometimes, but always interesting, these moments of exposition also provide unexpected depths and richness to the novel and the series.
Well plotted, beautifully written, the characters we were introduced to in the first book are developed further, new ones enter and minor players are given significant roles. The heart-warming scenes between Katherine and her son, as well as the growing romance between her and one of the Swiss guards, display a heart and soul that was very much located in the central character of the first book, Marc Rochat. In these parts, Katherine comes into her own, and the relationships she develops with her son and his minders are moving and convincing.
The parts featuring Harper are lashed with grotesque violence, humour and eternal questions about human’s place in the universe. Always distant from those he interacts with, Harper maintains this sense of otherworldiness with the reader as well, which is alternately frustrating and yet understandable.
This is a terrific sequel to a wonderful first novel, I look forward very much to reading the concluding book, The Way of Sorrows.