A Kiss before the Apocalypse (4/2009)
Dancing on the Head of a Pin (4/2010)
“Noah’s Orphans,” in Mean Streets (1/2010)
Where Angels Fear to Tread (3/2010)
A Hundred Words for Hate (3/2011)
"The Bad Hour" in An Apple for the Creature (9/2012)
In the House of the Wicked (8/2012)
NOVEL 6: Walking in the Midst of Fire
Most of the flashbacks go back to the 1200s when Remy is enthralled by Tyranus and forced to attack Hallow. Each brother wears one of Solomon's silver sigil rings, and each ring allows the wearer to control either the dark forces or the Heavenly forces. Tyranus wants both rings so that he alone can rule Heaven and Hell, and he uses his ring's Heavenly power to force Remy into playing the role of his warrior. The final outcome of that battle doesn't play out until late in the book, but we know far sooner than that who eventually gets possession of both rings, and that is a key element of the plot. These visceral flashbacks provide a series of gripping action scenes that are closely connected with the present-day stand-off between Heaven and Hell.
The primary plot follows Remy as he dodges various assassins (principally the Black Choir and the Bone Masters) and follows the clues to learn the identity of the murderer. In the requisite showdown scene at the end, the murderer is punished, but the results of that punishment are not what they seem, leaving that part of the story line unresolved for now. Meanwhile, one set of assassins is still after Remy. Who hired them? Well, the answer to that one lies in a seemingly unimportant incident that occurred in a previous novel—one that you'll never see coming (and which is dealt with in one very brief scene about 70% into this book that you might miss if you're not reading carefully). The final scene twists into a major cliffhanger that will certainly be the lead into the seventh novel.
In this book, we get a great many details about the Creation and about Lucifer Morningstar's rebellion against the Creator and the punishments that were doled out after that war was won by the forces of Heaven. What makes this so interesting is that we see all of these early events from the point of view of both Remy (on the Heavenly side) and Beleeze, one of the demons of Hell. At one interesting point, Beleeze muses about what happened to his world when the Creator uttered his first command (see Genesis 1): "There were things living in the sea of black that existed before He even became aware of His own existence; worlds and peoples thriving in the cold, endless void. And so many met their end with the birth of this creation, their lives burned away with the utterance of four little words: Let there be light. Beleeze recalled the blinding flash and the screams of millions as they died, but somehow he, and others of his kind, had managed to survive, finding pools of shadow deep enough to hide themselves. For where there is light, there must also be shadow." (p. 108)
Like all of the terrific novels in this series, the plot construction is complex, the characters are intricately developed, and the riveting action never stops. One of the most ironically humorous scenes occurs when Remy discovers Aszrus' secret room, where the general has obviously succumbed to every known human vice: smoking pot, eating junk food, playing video games, and watching porn on a 60-inch flatscreen TV.
I recommend that you read this novel in context, that is to say, in the chronological reading order (see list at top of this poet) because of the complexity of Remy's story—both his personal battle with his angelic nature and his involvement with the growing tension between Heaven and Hell.
For the most part, the author handles the complexity of his plot quite well, but I have to say that the introduction of the Nephilim issue was rather abrupt and slowed me down for a moment of two until I figured out how it fit into the the story line. From then on, though, events moved along so quickly that I couldn't stop turning the pages. Click HERE to read an excerpt from this book by going to its amazon.com page and clicking on the cover art at top left.
In A Kiss before the Apocalypse, Heaven hires Remy to find the angel of death and to recover some missing scrolls. In Dancing on the Head of a Pin, Remy must retrieve some stolen weapons that have the power to destroy heaven and earth. In Where Angels Fear to Tread (my favorite), Remy takes a case involving a missing child and winds up playing an important part in the Samson and Delilah story: the sequel (and the FINAL conclusion).
BOOK 4: A Hundred Words for Hate
As Remy begins his search, a sizable group of angelic forces are working against him. They want to find the keys for their own purposes—both good and evil. Remy's friend, Steven, also plays an important part in the story, and by the end of the book their friendship may be forever damaged. As Remy approaches the final apocalyptic battle, he must make peace between his two sides—seraphim and human—something he has never been able to do.
|GARDEN OF EDEN|
BOOK 5: In the House of the Wicked
One of the most chilling scenes occurs when Ashley applies the literal meaning of her high school biology teacher's mantra for Darwin's natural selection theory, "Adapt or die," while she channels Dorothy's Wizard of Oz chant: "There's no place like home...There's no place like home." After Ashley does what she has to do, she turns to her would-be rescuer: "She would forever remember the look on his face as she turned toward him, bloodstained sword in hand. 'It was just like Mr. Harpin said,' she told him. 'Adapt or die....'I adapted.'" (p. 270) It's a horrifying scene. As the story ends, it is clear that a war between good and evil is imminent and that Remy will play a defining role.
This is another great book in a solid UF series. Remy is a terrific hero, with strength of character balanced by just enough flaws to make him more human than angel (although his angel half is getting stronger as the war gets closer). Don't try to read this book if you haven't read the first four because you really need to know the characters' history in order to understand what causes them to take such drastic actions in this book (particularly Armaros). To get a feel for the series, read "The Bad Hour" in An Apple for the Creature anthology. Click HERE to read a summary of that story and a review of the anthology.