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Angel time : the songs of the Seraphim.

By: Rice, Anne, 1941-.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookSeries: The songs of the seraphim. Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009ISBN: 9781400043538.Subject(s): Angels -- Fiction | Assassins -- Fiction
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Excerpt provided by Syndetics

SHADES OF DESPAIR There were omens from the beginning. First off, I didn't want to do a job at the Mission Inn. Anywhere in the country, I would have been willing, but not the Mission Inn. And in the bridal suite, that very room, my room. Bad luck and beyond, I thought to myself. Of course my boss, The Right Man, had no way of knowing when he gave me this assignment that the Mission Inn was where I went when I didn't want to be Lucky the Fox, when I didn't want to be his assassin. The Mission Inn was part of that very small world in which I wore no disguise. I was simply me when I went there, six foot four, short blond hair, gray eyes--a person who looked like so many other people that he didn't look like any special person at all. I didn't even bother to wear braces to disguise my voice when I went there. I didn't even bother with the de rigueur sunglasses that shielded my identity in every other place, except the apartment and neighborhood where I lived. I was just who I am when I went there, though who I am was nobody except the man who wore all those elaborate disguises when he did what he was told to do by The Right Man. So the Mission Inn was mine, cipher that I was, and so was the bridal suite, called the Amistad Suite, under the dome. And now I was being told to systematically pollute it. Not for anyone else but myself, of course. I would never have done anything to harm the Mission Inn. A giant confection and confabulation of a building in Riverside, California, it was where I often took refuge, an extravagant and engulfing place sprawling over two city blocks, and where I could pretend, for a day or two or three, that I wasn't wanted by the FBI, Interpol, or The Right Man, a place where I could lose myself and my conscience. Europe had long ago become unsafe for me, due to the increased security at every checkpoint, and the fact that the law enforcement agencies that dreamed of trapping me had decided I was behind every single unsolved murder they had on the books. If I wanted the atmosphere I'd loved so much in Siena or Assisi, or Vienna or Prague and all the other places I could no longer visit, I sought out the Mission Inn. It couldn't be all those places, no. Yet it gave me a unique haven and sent me back out into my sterile world a renewed spirit. It wasn't the only place where I wasn't anybody at all, but it was the best place, and the place to which I went the most. The Mission Inn was not far from where I "lived," if one could call it that. And I went there on impulse generally, and at any time that they could give me my suite. I liked the other rooms all right, especially the Inn keeper's Suite, but I was patient in waiting for the Amistad. And sometimes they called me on one of the many special cell phones I carried, to let me know the suite could be mine. Sometimes I stayed as long as a week in the Mission Inn. I'd bring my lute with me, and maybe play it a little. And I always had a stack of books to read, almost always history, books on medieval times or the Dark Ages, or the Renaissance, or Ancient Rome. I'd read for hours in the Amistad, feeling uncommonly safe and secure. There were special places I went from the Inn. Often, undisguised, I drove over to nearby Costa Mesa to hear the Pacific Symphony. I liked it, the contrast, moving from the stucco arches and rusted bells of the Inn to the immense Plexiglas miracle of the Segerstrom Concert Hall, with the pretty Cafe Rouge on the first floor. Behind those high clear undulating windows, the restaurant appeared to float in space. I felt, when I dined in it, that I was indeed floating in space, and in time, detached from all things ugly and evil, and sweetly alone. I had just recently heard Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in that concert hall. Loved it. Loved the pounding madness of it. It had brought back a memory of the very first time I'd ever Excerpted from Angel Time by Anne Rice All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

In Rice's latest, an assassin meets an angel who puts him to work for God. Although "Lucky the Fox" has always justified his contract killing by letting himself believe he was really working for the proverbial "good guys," the seraph takes Lucky back to the 1200s and gives him the task of preventing a pogrom against Jews accused of ritually murdering Christian children. Readers of Rice's "Vampire Chronicles" and "Mayfair Witch" sagas develop a deep connection with protagonists Lestat and Rowan Mayfair, but it is hard to relate to Lucky. However, the novel is more fluid and action-oriented than Rice's recent trilogy about Jesus. At the heart of this odd mix of metaphysical thriller and historical novel is one man's rediscovery of his religious beliefs. Verdict While smoothly written and full of Rice's noted descriptive detail, this title may disappoint fans of her wildly popular series about vampires and witches, while Christian readers who know Rice only as a paranormal writer will probably avoid it unless they have read her Jesus novels. Finding the proper audience may prove to be the hardest battle for this intriguing book. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/09; with a 250,000-copy first printing.]-Amanda Scott, Cambridge Springs P.L., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Although Rice's latest is a departure from her recent books chronicling the life of Christ, she hasn't returned to the vampires and witches that made her famous. Instead, Rice offers a hybrid: a thrilling redemption story that incorporates religion. Toby O'Dare is a skilled assassin who knows little about his handler, and even less about his targets. Haunted by the death of his family, Toby is emotionally numb until an assignment takes him to his haven: the Mission Inn in Riverside, California. After he completes the job, he is visited by an angel named Malchiah, who lays bare the terrible tragedy of Toby's past and implores him to take on an errand of mercy. Toby finally agrees and finds himself in thirteenth-century Norwich, where a Jewish couple, Meir and Fluria, stand accused of murdering their 13-year-old daughter, Lea. Disguised as a Dominican friar, Toby intercedes to discover what really happened to Lea and to find a way to save the couple, and the Jews of Norwich, from the angry townspeople. Readers looking either for a convincing story of faith rediscovered or simply an exciting read will be pleased by Rice's compelling tale, and many will hope for more books featuring her fascinating and utterly sympathetic new hero.--Huntley, Kristine Copyright 2009 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Time travel, ultraviolence and medieval madnessdivine intervention rendered fantastically by Rice (Called Out of Darkness, 2008, etc.). A "man paralyzed by dissonance," Toby O'Dare is also a helluva hit man; he plays lute, reads Aquinas and shoves poisoned syringes in the necks of his tricks. A Beverly Hills penthouse serves as his crash pad, but he's otherwise nomadic, dodging Interpol for his faceless boss, the Right Man. RM insists that "the Good Guys" bankroll Toby's missions, but O'Dare thinks murder is murder and gluts on guilt. With two marvelous reimaginings of the Gospels and a spiritual autobiography recently extending her range, Rice revisits the shadows of her vampire classics; now, however, with her return to Catholicism, her sinners vie for redemption. O'Dare's desperate for it. His childhood dream of becoming a Dominican was dashed by trauma downright demonic; he rebelled against God when his drunken mother drowned his siblings and killed herself. His apostasy is of the tortuous, Graham Greene-ish variety; he can't stop praying to the God he left. Deliverance comes as a mysterious stranger. Right after dispatching a billionaire banker at a pricey hotel, Toby freaks at an interloper: Malchiah, it turns out, a seraph disguised as a swell. The angel's charge? Beam Toby back to 13th-century England, amok with anti-Semitic persecution. "Natural Time" becomes "Angel Time," and in this transcendental zone O'Dare is transformed into a Dominican friar bidden by Malchiah to save his soul through expiation. He must use all his cunning to rescue Meir and Fluria from a mob convinced that this harmless Jewish couple have poisoned their daughter for daring enter a cathedral on Christmas night. Having become an Agent of Good, O'Dare, proving that God works in mysterious ways, descends into a world of faith perverted in order both to restore order and reclaim his own lost innocence. Emerging repentant "for every evil thing I'd ever done," he returns transfigured to the present time. Angelically inspiring. Devilishly clever. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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