Triumphant conclusion to The Crucible historical fantasy trilogy (The Nameless Day, 2005, etc.) in which 14th-century Europeans struggle to secure the right of free will from the angelic and demonic forces that battle for their souls.
Former priest Thomas Neville is a servant of the Archangel Michael, charged to find and expose the demons that live among men. Hal Bolingbroke is now King of England, having deposed and murdered King Richard with the help of Neville. Neville and Bolingbroke were once friends, but after a series of betrayals, Neville is convinced Hal is in fact a demon and thus an enemy of God. Neville fears Hal will use his newfound political power to enslave mankind. But what Neville thinks he knows about the nature of angels and demons may not be true after all, and his soul will serve as the final battleground for the fate of humanity. The concept of angels and demons meddling in human affairs is nothing new, but Douglass puts a terrific spin on those familiar tropes and makes them feel fresh. The liberties taken with Christian mythology will likely offend some, but that the narrative takes chances and challenges what we know is part of what makes the storyline compelling. The prose is lucid and the characters fully realized, making for an enjoyable read.
Outstanding finale to a brilliant series.