De La Bouillerie’s delightfully grotesque and gothic tale of what happens when love and evil aim to collide on a trajectory that could create hell on earth.
In the 16th century, Lucrezia Borgia made a pact with the devil that set in motion a scheme to eventually allow the nefarious fiend to come to power. In the present day, Lucrezia has been reincarnated as another woman, the “chosen mother” to finally give birth to the son of the devil. Sporadic, eerie visions hint at Lucrezia’s mission in her current life. Once she comes to terms with the fact that the stories from an ancient book—penned by Pope Alexander VI in his own blood while possessed by the devil—are true, she’s determined to prevent the devil’s control of the world without sacrificing her baby. Meanwhile, she plans to merge her large, successful company with another, smaller one where her ex-boyfriend has created a game that connects everyone through the ultimate social network—a platform that allows access to individual thoughts and constant communication with anyone. Though there are numerous characters involved in several time periods and places, de La Bouillerie manages to differentiate them by lacing vital information without feeling forced. Even minor characters become lovable, making the merciless deaths that speckle the book all the more shocking, like splotches of blood on a gown. However, some of the characters meet a predictable end after they gain too much knowledge of the devil’s plan to swoop into power. Sharp language, well-painted imagery and believable characters combine for an enthralling story, which, unfortunately, doesn’t quite end where the book does; the lack of a true conclusion will leave readers begging for more.
A devilishly good debut with an ending that’s pure evil.