Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.
For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.
The book is written in three parts, where the first and final part take place in modern times, where we follow the young nun Evangeline, who comes from a a long line of angelologists. Not that she knows that, of course. She’s in for quite a surprise. Part 2 takes place during WW2, and revolves around the mysterious – but deeply troubled – Gabriella (Evangeline’s grandmother) and her bookish friend Celestine.
Evangeline is eventually to join her grandmother and the other angelologists in the fight against the nephilim – evil hybrids that were created when a group of angels disobeyed God and mated with human women.
I was skeptical of this book at first. After having plowed my way through quite a few Dan Brown wanna-be’s, I was worried this would just be another one of those. Then I leafed through it, noted that some parts were drowning in footnotes, and my skepticism grew. I ended up enjoying the book, though. Sure, it didn’t wow me. It’s not a brilliant piece of fiction, but it was okay. Gabriella quickly became my favorite character. First she’s this deeply troubled, very mysterious beauty from a wealthy family. Then she’s this kick-ass old lady who can drive a get-away car and fire a gun at the same time.
There were parts if the book that I had trouble swallowing. It is based on Biblical lore, which it takes completely literally. Especially the story of Noah is greatly emphasized. Then it turns right around and talks about genetic research done on the evil angels. As someone with a scientific background, it was very hard to stop my brain from going into a long rant about how genetic facts makes the story of Noah impossible. this might not be the book for you, if this sort of thing annoys you. If you can ignore that, then this is a nice read.
There is a sequel to this book coming out in 2012. I’m not opposed to the idea of reading it. I probably will.