In this religious fantasy debut, an angel chronicles his adventures in heaven and on Earth.
Before the creation of the universe, Earth, and humanity, Sabrael is an angel in heaven. His task for the Almighty is to decorate the seven halls with “all manner of flora.” A quiet being, Sabrael is surprised when fellow angel Lucifer becomes friendly. He charms Sabrael into his confidence, and the shy angel’s stature grows in association with Lucifer, who is the closest among the host to the Almighty. Eventually, Lucifer comes to believe that life shouldn't be directed by, and full of praise to, Him. The resulting exile of Lucifer and his fallen host decimates heaven. To keep the fallen from preying on the recently created humans, God sends seven angels—including Michael, Raphael, Sabrael, and Barachiel—to Earth. There, they will protect God’s son, Jesus, through childhood and adolescence so that he might “cleanse mankind...and live perfectly in accordance with the Father’s law.” While on Earth, they each possess superpowers, such as enhanced speed, strength, and the ability to manipulate appearances. But they are trapped there—and can have no further communication with the Almighty until Jesus is summoned back to heaven. By turns emotionally rousing and graphically violent, Smith’s novel opens the Heavenly War Chronicles. The narrative initially feels like a straightforward adventure about Lucifer's jealousy and banishment from heaven. However, war between the two winged camps merely sets the stage for even grittier battles on Earth. While disguised as a human, Sabrael can heal wounds instantaneously and use divine weaponry. Only the removal of his heart can immobilize him or any of the fallen; in one vicious scene, Sabrael reaches into the chest of the demon Caim, who “clamped a hand on my forearm and dug his nails in, bit my hand, begged me to stop.” More surprising still is that the book becomes increasingly episodic, and the mission to protect Jesus is subsumed by the chaos of the wider world. Sabrael’s addiction to humanity and the further lives he leads are riveting to behold.
A vast, Conan-style saga with an inspiring protagonist who battles demons.