Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

13 April, 2010

is a stunning debut! I can’t remember when I last read a book in this genre which has made me want to race through it but also savour. each. word. As I mentioned before, the premise of Angelology by Danielle Trussoni reminded me strongly of Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour (my favourite Rice novel) with echoes of the Talamasca striving to guard the world against devilish beings. There is history, mythology, liberal biblical references (we are talking about angels and the nephilim here) as well as art, and the setting is divided between New York and Paris. Could it get more delicious?

I didn’t really know what to expect of this book, although I had seen reviews sprinkled around the web. And I didn’t expect to like it so much. I have recommended it to a friend who has already bought it, read and loved it (but we do have similar reading tastes).

Angelology opens with Sister Evangeline, a young Franciscan nun running into Verlaine, an art historian who has broken into her convent looking for some letters written by the philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller. He is working for the mysterious Percival Grigori who is searching for an ancient artefact. Soon Evangeline and Verlaine are thrust into a war between the nephilim, half-human descendants of fallen angels, and the angelologists, a secret society of scholars, who have been studying and trying to thwart the nephilim’s sinister designs to enslave the human race for over a thousand years. As Evangeline learns about her tragic family history and their connection to the angelologists, she struggles to help Verlaine escape the clutches of Grigori and unearth the whereabouts of the Lyre of Orpheus which may or may not destroy the nephilim forever.

It may sound a tad overdramatic but Trussoni’s novel is a race against time as well as a revelation of angelic folklore which really kept my nose glued to the book. The nephilim are beautiful, ethereal and ruthlessly evil, able to easily enchant and overpower human senses. Evangeline is not alone as her grandmother Gabrielle and her old friend Sister Celestine, who fought the nephilim in their youth, try and ensure that the nephilim do not triumph. There is a lot going on in this book and I’m not going to give anything away as I don’t want to spoil your reading pleasure. I loved the world Trussoni has created with its mixture of the esoteric, history and myth and not least for Trussoni’s quality prose. Her language is rich, smooth and sophisticated. The only things that niggled a little were her liberal references to brand names, which I thought was unnecessary and did nothing for the story, and Evangeline’s feelings for Verlaine which changed rather too rapidly to be realistic (but then you can’t really quibble about realism in a book about angels). But those are probably the only things I didn’t like. As you can tell, I loved the book and am waiting with abated breath for Trussoni’s next novel, Angelopolis. Hurry, hurry!

In the meantime, I’m going to try and get my cherubic fix by delving into some Milton and Blake (although I’ve never fancied reading Blake before as he seems rather inaccessible). Any other reading suggestions would be warmly welcomed!

As apparently angels are the new vampires, although I doubt vampires will ever go out of fashion (unless it’s through overkill, ha ha), you may want to read this interesting article in the Guardian here.

Anne Rice has also published a new book about angels called Angel Time, although the story seems to be very different to Angelology. Has anyone read it? And if you haven’t already, I would urge you to read The Witching Hour. It’s beautiful.

And finally, a shout out to the lovely people at Michael Joseph (Penguin) who kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.

I read this for the Once Upon a Time IV Challenge hosted at Stainless Steel Droppings as I would categorise this book under fantasy/mythology.

* The reviews seem divided regarding this book, so you may want to check out what Farm Lane Books Blog and Amy Reads have to say about this book.

9 Responses to “Angelology by Danielle Trussoni”

  1. “(but then you can’t really quibble about realism in a book about angels)”

    ::snickers:: No, I guess that’s not fair. ::grin::
    I loved The Witching Hour and happily remember one Anne-Rice-soaked summer. This one sounds like fun too.

  2. gaskella Says:

    I like the sound of all the mythology in this one. It’s on my wishlist already, but I might give in and buy it!

  3. chasing bawa Says:

    BuriedInPrint: Ha, ha, I know, I guess I was taking it too seriously!

    Gaskella: It was interesting to read about it all and made me want to search out more literature on the subject.

  4. Gavin Says:

    Thanks for this review. The boook sounds very compelling and I have added it to my TBR list.

  5. Eva Says:

    This review made me run over and put it on hold IMMEDIATELY!

    However, even though this is the first I’ve heard of it, it must be pretty popular because I’m number 87. Eek! Good thing my library has 12 copies and has ordered 11 more. 🙂

  6. amymckie Says:

    Thanks for the link!

    • amymckie Says:

      And, by the way, great review 🙂 I skimmed previously as I had the book, but then forgot to come back and comment! I loved the angel mythology and the premise, but I was turned off by the few things I mentioned in my review. I do hope the next book solves those issues and makes it more interesting for me!

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