Of Love and Evil (Songs of the Seraphim) is the title of Anne Rice’s new book to be released on December 1st. This is the second in the series that started with Angel Time. I enjoyed Angel Time for the most part, though I liked the first half of the book more than the story within a story in the second half.
This review contains *** SPOILERS *** for the 1st book Angel Time:
In Angel Time Toby, the professional assassin, meets with an Angel and starts out on the road of repentance and gives his life story. As part of his reparation he is helping an Angel to answer prayers and is taken back in time to help a Jewish family in time of persecution of Jews by Catholics.
In “Of Love and Evil” Toby continues on his journey in reparation and repairing the mistakes of his past. The first part of the book is quite good in relating his spiritual life as he realizes he can actually love and not be the walking dead emotionally he had been during his years as a assassin. Once again he goes on a journey in Angel Time to help answer the prayers of a Jewish man, this time during the reign of Pope Julius II. I frankly don’t get the point of this theme running through the series thus far in relating persecution of the Jewish people by Catholics. Maybe this theme will explain itself later — but so far it seems to me more like an ax-to-grind than a thematic element. Though she presents this era as being much friendlier to the Jewish people, at least in Rome — though details a horrid story plucked from history in another city in a previous decade. Plus of course the reality is that such persecution did exist historically.
Regardless I found much to like in this continuation of the story which showed spiritual growth, fighting temptation, development in love, and the kind of plot developments adding tension to the story where you want to see how it all pans out in the next book.
Considering Anne Rice’s Facebook fit where she “quite Christianity” it is hard to match what she said since then with what she writes in this book. This book no doubt was written prior to this happening. It is especially ironic considering the last chapters in this book that are really quite solid from a Catholic point of view especially in regards to being in communion with the Church and wanting to receive the Holy Eucharist. The spiritual dimension of the book is far from being wonky and offer much in the way of the spiritual dimension of the Church, the reality of evil, and the necessity to resist evil. New-agey spiritual blather is rightly mocked in this book and there was much in it I found highly ironic considering the authors breakup with the Catholic Church. She could take some advice from some of the things said in the book. Though it did once again remind me that she is much sharper and wiser than the Facebook post she wrote and to continue to pray for her to be able to separate the secular dogmas from what was delivered to us in the Gospels and Sacred Tradition.
I am hoping for a continuation in the series that hopefully is not poisoned by the straw man view of Christianity she railed against.