I have a son who flies through books. I can’t keep him stocked with them. He really likes fantasy novels and he likes thrillers. So what more natural fit than a supernatural thriller? Even better, it is a Christian book written by an acclaimed author, a fallen away Catholic turned atheist who has returned to the Church!
This reviewer has never read any of Anne Rice’s Vampire stories, but he has read her more recent fictional books on Christ and her memoir about her life and her conversion. He has seen two of the movies based on her vampire stories, Interview with a Vampire starring Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt and The Queen of the Damned. Rice’s new book is the total opposite of the vampire stories.
Since her conversion, Rice began writing about Christ, and now about angels. These “angels” are not like the ones imagined by New Age followers. She has studied what Christianity teaches about angels. She has consulted the works of St. Thomas Aquinas and Fr. Pascal Parente’s book The Angels to write about them. According to Christian teaching, angels are disembodied spirits. Each is his own distinct species of angel. There are also various classes of angels or heavenly persons which are mentioned in the Scriptures. St. Paul lists nine classes, or ranks (also called choirs). Only three angels called “archangels” are named in scripture: St. Gabriel, St. Michael, and St. Raphael. There are good angels and there are bad angels. The bad angels are led by Lucifer, otherwise known as the devil or Satan, and by other names.
According to Christian teaching we humans do not become angels when we die. We become disembodied souls that will have a human body again at the Resurrection.
Anne Rice’s new book is very entertaining, and contains a conversion story of its own. An assassin, Toby O’Dare, has an experience that changes his life so much that he is willing to do anything for God. He wants to make up for all the wrong he has done. That God forgives even assassins is something most of us accept with great difficulty. We humans may think that a notorious sinner is beyond forgiveness, but God does not work that way. This fictional story of Toby and an angel, Malchiah, permits Rice to present a number of teaching moments in the story, if one is alert to them. They are correct according to Christian teachings and the Scriptures, and undoubtedly reflect on Rice’s own life and her conversion (especially clear to this reviewer after reading her memoir). Although, Rice of course was not a notorious sinner her character O’Dare was.
Anne Rice researches the historical background for her books and she has done well with this one too. Since O’Dare tells God and the angel that he is willing to do anything to make up for his sins, Malchiah sends him back in time to correct a situation in 13th century England involving Catholics and Jews. One will have to read the book to find out what happens, suffice it to say that the book keeps the reader enthralled — as many reportedly were by her vampire stories, so she is now doing with her angel stories. This book is a first in a series she plans to write while works continues on her fictional series on the life of Christ. Anne Rice must be doing well with these Christian fictional books since some are bashing her for them. This new book is highly recommended to those who want to read good Christian fiction and about angels.
So if fiction is your game, I am recommending you put this on your Christmas list. It was on my shopping list, but it’s in the “checked off” column now.
Oh, as if it could get better, this is the first in a series so if my son gets hooked, I have a whole line of books I can go back to every gift occasion. Score 1 for mom!