Contemporary fantasy from the Ireland-resident author of the Deryni series and, more recently, various yarns centered on the Knights Templar. Once one of God’s avenging angels, now in gargoyle form, Padraig guards St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin—one of many such guardians of notable buildings. Notified by angelic higher-ups of a break-in and vandalism at a nearby church, Padraig and his colleagues must determine whether the mummified head of a crusader has gone missing. Happily, the head’s safe; back in Crusader times, however, the Knights Templar confined the dreadful demon Baphomet in a head-shaped sarcophagus—hence the angelic concern. Now buried in Ireland, the receptacle’s confinement spells are weakening. Padraig needs human help to locate and deal with the demon. Old Francis Templeton, descendant of a different crusader sect, the Knights of Malta, helps Padraig on another case, meanwhile accidentally glimpsing Padraig’s true form. By the rules, Francis must die. But he’s old anyway, with a weak heart; and so he agrees to help Padraig tussle with the demon.
Slow and mostly vaporous, despite some well-meaning religious discussions: even staunch Kurtz fans will find little satisfaction here.