Knopf, Oct 2009, $25.95
Excellent contract killer Toby “Lucky the Fox” O'Dare works for the Right Man who insists his chosen victims are the bad guys while their side is funded by the good guys. Toby has come a long way from a family tragedy that changed his life; when his mom murdered his siblings and herself, he quit God because he believed God deserted him. He no longer continued his studies for the priesthood, but remorse is setting in.
He has just completed his latest kill when guardian angel Malchiah coming out of the shadows offers Toby a chance for redemption. Toby accepts the deal, but finds himself in the thirteenth century in England; masquerading as a Dominican friar. He is immediately caught up in a vendetta against all Jews; as a couple Meir and Fluria is accused of killing their daughter for her converting to Christianity. His assignment is to prevent a religious massacre.
The first The Songs of the Seraphim saga is an exhilarating redemption thriller starring a fascinating protagonist who goes from one extreme to another. His “past” in “Angel Time” (our recent past and present in “Natural Time”) and that of the Jewish couple and their daughter’s “Natural Time” add depth though it is somewhat disjointed (as time flows differently between NT and AT) to understanding Toby’s life and medieval life for Jews inside a Christian world. Using real persona and events in thirteenth century England, Anne Rice provides a deep save the soul story. Fans will enjoy Toby’s attempts to redeem his soul although he understands he can never make up for violating the Commandment Thou Shall Not Kill, but he has begun his soul survivor salvation mission in the past and hopefully with a call to New Orleans.