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Danielle Trussoni
Viking / Penguin
US Hardcover First Edition
ISBN 978-0-670-02554-1
Publication Date: 03-26-2013
304 Pages; $27.95
Date Reviewed: 04-19-2013
Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel © 2013

Index:  Fantasy  General Fiction  Horror   Science Fiction

Editor's Note: This novel is the sequel to 'Angelology.' This review reveals details of that book that are best discovered by reading it beforehand. You can find the review of 'Angelology' here.

The world is not as know it. There's a layer of supernatural activity that surrounds us but is invisible to us; it affects our lives intimately and constantly, but most of us are never aware that it exists. Our everyday lives can proceed without incident while the gods prepare for war. Whether we are living in ancient Greece or a 21st century global civilization, our perceptions of the world around us are always tinged with a hint of the unreal. The stories with which we articulate these beliefs tell us quite a bit about ourselves and not a bit about the world.

Danielle Trussoni's 'Angelology' created a world in which angels live among us, mostly unseen, but constantly conniving to rule on earth and perhaps in heaven. 'Angelology' was a dark, revelatory work of world-building, a novel of discovery and self-discovery. Evangeline, a nun at the Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Convent in upper New York, receives a letter from Verlaine, an art historian who is working for a shady client. Before you can say a Hail Mary, the two are immersed in Trussoni's baroque underworld, where a journey of discovery ends in self-discovery.

As 'Angelopolis' begins in Trussoni's carefully crafted world with a secret history, Verlaine has been transformed from art historian into an angel hunter. There's one angel in particular he's hoping to kill — Evangeline, whom he thought he might at one time love. But because she has sided with the angels, she's his enemy, and in the interim, Verlaine has become very good at his newly-discovered occupation.

'Angelopolis' picks up where Trussoni's 'Angelology' left off and sprints to a finish before you realize there are no more pages to turn. Where the first book had the feel of a gothic thriller, here we have a full-fledged spy novel with a hero in pursuit of supernatural foes and their all-too-natural allies. Trussoni continues an extends the world-building that made the first book so engaging, but does so while globe-trotting, mostly in Russia. We meet new Nephilim, find out about Rasputin's secret supernatural life and spend some time in the city of the title. Suffice it to day that nothing is what we expect or imagine.

With 'Angelopolis,' Trussoni ups the ante, ups the action and digs deeper into her characters in a lot less space. It's a breathless novel, and a fantastic follow-on to the more contemplative first book. Verlaine and Evangeline reveal new depths and become even more complex than the pair we met in the first novel. Trussoni also introduce a number of new characters who are very appealing even as they're revealing their most evil intentions. She does a great job at making every page count and every character someone we look forward to reading about.

One of the great pleasures of 'Angelology' was Trussoni's alternate / secret history of the world. Even while her characters are practically sprinting from one well-rendered location to the next, she manages to extend and add depth to this world, mostly in Russia, where she pulls in Rasputin and lots of material familiar to readers of Robert K. Massie's 'Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.' She brings in the history of the Fabergé Eggs as her characters search for clues. Having already re-worked the world in 'Angelology,' she does not need to spend quite as much time, but she does work a bit more with the science (fiction) elements. Even while her characters engage in rescues and escapes, she manages to evoke a sense of wonder with her revisionary history.

For all the backdrop and character work, 'Angelopolis' is really a highly plotted and very tense chase-thriller, with more than a bit of horrific imagery — never off-putting, but more on the anti-awe side of the scale. This is a very tightly wound and conceived book that gives readers a satisfactory ending even as another book is clearly called for. To a degree, that's really appropriate. Even angels should get an afterlife.

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