Sunday, November 30, 2014

Walking In The Midst Of Fire - Thomas E. Sniegoski

Walking In The Midst Of Fire
A Remy Chandler Novel
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Urban Fantasy
Remy Chandler, PI, was once Remiel, a warrior angel.  A Seraphim.  After the battle with the Morningstar, Remiel felt tarnished and disillusioned.  He removed himself to earth, and spent millennia living as a man.  Recent events forced him to re-examine his purpose and reconcile his ‘mortal’ life – with friends, a business, and a dog – with his essential angelic nature.  Those same events nearly cost Remy’s friend, detective Steve Mulvehill his sanity.  It is Steve who tells Remy that, around that time, someone from the Vatican had come looking for him.

To Remy, this means nothing but potential trouble.  In his many years on earth, he’s had dealings with individuals from the Vatican.  The envoy, Constantin Malastesta, is a member of a group called the Keepers.  They safeguard various relics and supernatural objects, in order to ensure the safety of humanity.  They’d like Remy to use his investigative skills (and his angelic powers) to do work for them.  They don’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer.
After promising to think about it, Remy is startled to find an old friend in one of his favorite churches.  The friend, Montagin, has news for Remy.  Not the least of which is that his old commanding officer, General Aszrus, is living a fairly mortal life on earth.  Days later, Montagin reappears in a panic.  The General is dead; his heart torn out of his body.  Angels can survive a lot, but there is a limit.  Inspecting the scene, Remy immediately determines that the General was killed somewhere else; then his body was deposited in his own study for maximum shock value.  The shock is great.  Who or what could have killed this angel?  And why would anyone/anything risk it?  Those answers put all of creation in peril.
As usual, there’s so much more to this story.  The author fills in another bit of Remy’s history, this time from the time of the plague in Europe.  And there’s someone else who has been around for almost as long as Remy.  A man called Simeon, forcibly raised from the dead by a young and inexperienced Nazarene, as a test of sorts.  Both of them were shocked at the outcome.  Simeon wants to return to his peace, but failing that, he’ll settle for making the rest of humanity suffer.  By all rights, he should be a one-note character, but that is not the case.  The author’s skill is such that the reader can feel the unending pain and frustration that gradually warps Simeon into the person he becomes. 
The investigation into the General’s death eventually leads Remy to confront how other angels choose to live on earth.  It’s a personal and complicated process, and it’s clear that each angel is an individual, making choices, leading to sometimes devastating consequences.  The mythology continues to expand and deepen, and the world-building is so solid that it all just seems to flow.  Longtime readers will enjoy seeing some returning characters, and there are some interesting additions here.  For those who are just discovering this series, this installment is a fine place to start.  Some new arcs are beginning here, so knowledge of all that has gone before isn’t absolutely necessary.  See the list below for previous titles.  The closing pages make it quite clear that there’s much more to the story.  That’s great news for fans.

Rating: 9
August 2014
ISBN# 978-0-451-46546-7 (paperback)

Previous Remy Chandler Novels:


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