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Of Love and Evil

Cover of Of Love and Evil

Of Love and Evil

The Songs of the Seraphim Series, Book 2
by Anne Rice
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Anne Rice's magnificent Songs of the Seraphim continues with a lyrical and haunting new novel of angels and assassins set in dark and dangerous worlds--in our time and in centuries past.

Toby O'Dare, former government assassin, is summoned by the angel Malchiah to fifteenth-century Rome--the city of Michelangelo and Raphael, of Leo X and the Holy Inquisition--to solve a terrible crime of poisoning and to uncover the secrets of an earthbound restless spirit, a diabolical dybbuk. Toby is plunged into this rich age as a lutist sent to charm and calm this troublesome spirit.

In the fullness of the high Italian Renaissance, Toby soon discovers himself in the midst of dark plots and counterplots, surrounded by a still darker and more dangerous threat as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him. And as he once again embarks on a powerful journey of atonement, he is reconnected with his own past, with matters light and dark, fierce and tender, with the promise of salvation and with a deeper and richer vision of love.


From the Hardcover edition.

Anne Rice's magnificent Songs of the Seraphim continues with a lyrical and haunting new novel of angels and assassins set in dark and dangerous worlds--in our time and in centuries past.

Toby O'Dare, former government assassin, is summoned by the angel Malchiah to fifteenth-century Rome--the city of Michelangelo and Raphael, of Leo X and the Holy Inquisition--to solve a terrible crime of poisoning and to uncover the secrets of an earthbound restless spirit, a diabolical dybbuk. Toby is plunged into this rich age as a lutist sent to charm and calm this troublesome spirit.

In the fullness of the high Italian Renaissance, Toby soon discovers himself in the midst of dark plots and counterplots, surrounded by a still darker and more dangerous threat as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him. And as he once again embarks on a powerful journey of atonement, he is reconnected with his own past, with matters light and dark, fierce and tender, with the promise of salvation and with a deeper and richer vision of love.


From the Hardcover edition.

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    CHAPTER ONE

    I DREAMED A DREAM OF ANGELS. I SAW THEM AND I heard them in a great and endless galactic night. I saw the lights that were these angels, flying here and there, in streaks of irresistible brilliance, and some as great as comets which seemed to draw so close the fire might devour me, and yet I felt no heat. I felt no danger. I felt no self.

    I felt love around me in this vast and seamless realm of sound and light. I felt intimately and completely known. I felt beloved and held and part of all I saw and heard. And yet I knew I deserved nothing of it, nothing. And something akin to sadness swept me up and mingled my very essence with the voices who sang, because the voices were singing of me.

    I heard the voice of Malchiah rise high and brilliant and immense as he said that I must now belong to him, that I must now go with him. That he had chosen me as his companion and I must do what he would have me do. How strong and brilliant was his voice rising higher and higher. Yet there came against him a smaller voice, tender, lustrous, that sang of my life on earth and what I had to do; it sang of those who needed me and loved me; it sang of common things and common dreams, and pitted these with faultless courage against the great things which Malchiah sought to do.

    Oh, that such a mingling of themes could be so very magnificent and this music should surround and enfold me as if it were a palpable and loving thing. I lay upon the breast of this music, and I heard Malchiah triumph as he claimed me, as he declared that I was his very own. The other voice was fading but not conceding. The other voice would never concede. The other voice had its own beauty and it would go on singing forever as it was singing now.

    Other voices rose; or they had been there all the while. Other voices sang all around me and of me, and these voices vied with angelic voices as though answering them across a fathomless vault. It was a weave, these voices, angelic and other, and I knew suddenly that these were voices of people praying, praying for me. They were people who had prayed before and would pray after and in the far future and would always pray, and all these voices had to do with what I might become, of what I might be. Oh, sad, small soul that I was, and how very grand was it, this burning world in which I found myself, a world that makes the very word itself meaningless as all boundaries and all measures disappear.

    There came to me the blessed knowledge that every living soul was the subject of this celebration, of this infinite and ceaseless chorus, that every soul was loved as I was loved, known now as I was known.

    How could it not be? How could I, with all my failures, all my bitter losses, be the only one? Oh, no, the universe was filled with souls woven into this triumphant and glorious song.

    And all were known and loved as I was known and loved. All were known as even their prayers for me became part of their own glorious unfolding within this endless and golden weave.

    "Don't send me away. Don't send me back. But if you must, let me do your Will, let me do it with all my heart," I prayed, and I heard my own words become as fluid as the music that surrounded me and sustained me. I heard my own particular and certain voice. "I love You. I love You who made all things and gave us all things and for You I will do anything, I will do what it is You want of me. Malchiah, take me. Take me for Him. Let me do His Will!"

    Not a single word was lost in this great womb of love that surrounded me, this vast night that was as bright as day. For neither day nor night mattered here, and both were blended and all was perfect, and...

Reviews-
  • The Associated Press "Rice is remarkable in her ability to breathe life into another place, another time."
  • Andrea Hoag, The Denver Post "Present, as always, is the author's ability to craft dreamlike prose to lull readers into believing every heavenly scenario she puts forth without a whiff of disbelief."

  • "Readers who enjoy Rice's larger-than-life tales and elegant writing will find much to appreciate here, and the cliff-hanger ending will leave fans eager for the next installment."
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The Songs of the Seraphim Series, Book 2
Anne Rice
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Anne Rice
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