Angelology by Danielle Trussoni ($27) Signed
The contest between good and evil is waged not in the heavens but here on Earth, between warring factions of biblical scholars and heavenly hosts. The unusual central character is Sister Evangeline, a 23-year-old nun at St. Rose Convent outside New York City. In the course of her work, she stumbles across a mislaid correspondence between philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller and the convent's founding abbess concerning an astonishing 1943 discovery in the mountains of Greece. Simultaneously, the book introduces Percival Grigori, a critically ill, once-winged member of one of the most powerful families in an ancient race of beings born of a union between fallen angels and human beings: the Nephilim. These parasitic creatures, the "giants" referred to in the sixth chapter of Genesis, have engaged in spiritual warfare for generations with the Society of Angelologists, a group that included Evangeline's parents. "It has been one continuous struggle from the very beginning," says one of Evangeline's comrades- in-arms. "St. Thomas Aquinas believed that the dark angels fell within twenty seconds of creation-their evil nature cracked the perfection of the universe almost instantly, leaving a terrible fissure between good and evil." As Evangeline and Grigori are drawn into conflict over control of a powerful artifact, the lyre of the mythical Orpheus, Trussoni constructs a marathon narrative arc, ending the volume with a satisfying, if startling, transformation. A film adaptation and a sequel are already waiting in the wings.