Anne Rice's extraordinary new novel summons the world of fifteenth-century Rome: a city of beauty and terror, of art and sin. In this extraordinary setting Toby O'Dare, former government assassin, is called upon by the angel Malchiah, to solve a terrible crime of poisoning and to seek out the truth behind the presence of an earthbound restless spirit - a diabolical dybbuk - that is causing chaos in the city.
Toby is plunged into the luscious world of the Italian Renaissance, sent to charm and calm this troublesome spirit. But he soon discovers himself in the midst of dark plots and surrounded by a darker and more dangerous threat as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him.
As Toby 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.
In Rice's slim second Songs of the Seraphim novel (after Angel Time), the angel Malchiah whisks ex-contract killer Toby O'Dare back to 16th-century Rome, where Toby must save Vitale de Leone, a young Jewish physician who's been implicated in the poisoning of his gentile master and accused of bringing a poltergeist-like dybbuk into the household. Toby resolves both problems efficiently, but tragedy ensues, shaking his faith and leaving him vulnerable to powers of evil lying in wait to exploit his weakness. Toby's life back in modern times also grows complicated with the sudden appearance of an ex-lover and the son he never knew, neither of whom he can share his angelic interventions with. Though the plot is surprisingly similar to that of its predecessor, Rice's fans will easily succumb to the charm of her lapidary prose and a cliffhanger ending that sets up the next book in the series. 200,000 first printing.