The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O Dare a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. Read more...
The novel opens in the present. At its center: Toby O Dare a contract killer of underground fame on assignment to kill once again. A soulless soul, a dead man walking, he lives under a series of aliases just now: Lucky the Fox and takes his orders from The Right Man.
Into O Dare s nightmarish world of lone and lethal missions comes a mysterious stranger, a seraph, who offers him a chance to save rather than destroy lives. O Dare, who long ago dreamt of being a priest but instead came to embody danger and violence, seizes his chance. Now he is carried back through the ages to thirteenth-century England, to dark realms where accusations of ritual murder have been made against Jews, where children suddenly die or disappear . . . In this primitive setting, O Dare begins his perilous quest for salvation, a journey of danger and flight, loyalty and betrayal, selflessness and love."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 26.
- Review Date: 2009-08-03
- Reviewer: Staff
Full of provocative moral reflections, this kickoff to bestseller Rice's new Songs of the Seraphim religious romance series centers on hired assassin Toby O'Dare, a one-time aspirant to the priesthood until personal tragedy unmoored his life. Guardian angel Malchiah visits Toby, who's just consummated his latest kill, and offers him redemption for his sins. After accepting the offer, Toby is whisked away to 13th-century England, where, in the guise of a Dominican friar, he becomes the protector of a Jewish couple accused wrongly by the gentile populace of having murdered their young daughter for her conversion to Christianity. Two eloquently told if clunkily joined digressions give the backstory on Toby and on the persecution of the Jews in medieval Europe. Readers will revel in Rice's colorful recreation of the historical past and in her moving depiction of characters struggling to reconcile matters of the heart with their personal sense of faith. 250,000 first printing. (Oct.)
Rice unravels the mind of a killer
In her latest novel, Angel Time, author Anne Rice strays from the vampire-laden subject matter of her past and plumbs the heart and mind of a killer transformed. “Lucky,” or Toby O’Dare, makes his engrossing entrance as a heartless hitman with a checkered past. A boyhood bent toward the priesthood goes awry when his drunkard mother derails his path with repeated selfishness. When a series of events leads Toby to meet an eventual faux-father figure, he falls into a life of cruel anonymous crime. His gradual shift from a spiritual boy to a cold assassin gives insight into how easily wrong can be justified and absorbed into the mundane. In stark contrast to his murderous lifestyle is his ever-present, yet latent, interest in all things sacred. He often seeks solace at The Mission Inn, a local getaway marked by a tranquil monasterial atmosphere. Toby also habitually reads history books, enjoying the neat and tidy accounts historians glean from the trials and tumult of the past. His need for conclusion speaks volumes about a complex character whose troubled past perpetuates his hardness of heart. One night, after completing an assignment to kill, Toby is visited by an angel called Malachi. His life is quickly catapulted to the Middle Ages, where he adopts an alternate existence as a friar. He is prompted by Malachi to look outside of himself and see the suffering of a couple of persecuted Jews in the town of Norwich, England. Toby quickly comes to realize that his past can be redeemed by choosing to help save lives rather than take them. Rice masterfully weaves together the elements of Toby’s story to demonstrate the irrelevance of time as we experience it. She communicates the poignant truth that a character can indeed be extracted from an old life—saved to another for the task of intervening in evil to bring forth greater good. Cory Bordonaro is a freelance writer, crafter and barista in Birmingham, Alabama.