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Angelology by Danielle Trussoni

abstract:MyAltTextHere Oddly enough I have actually studied angel iconography as part of my English Language degree. I shied away from the phonetics and advanced syntax classes on offer and delved into the eclectic mix of subjects that made up the Folklore Department. We covered supernatural beliefs, place name study, and eventually we were allowed to choose a subject to research that would give us the larger portion of our marks. When I saw the cover of Danielle Trussoni’s second novel Angelology I was immediately drawn in. The dramatic black front with a white winged figure in chains sets the tone for the book - the story is as dark as the image suggests. These are not the angels of self help books, or the ones on the front of Christmas cards, this book depicts them as more demon than angel. In a modern world obsessed with vampires, myth and legend, secret sects, and anything dark and sexy, Danielle Trussoni could be adding angels to the aforementioned list.

article:
Doubleday Canada
May 06, 2011
MyAltTextHere Like many people I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of angels and what they represent. Angel iconography has been around since man could etch drawings on cave walls. However, the meaning of these winged beings has evolved and changed over time. Trussoni’s angels are a hybrid form of their predecessors “The Watchers” who were imprisoned on earth after breaking God’s rule and procreating with human women. My summary does not do Trussoni’s intricate explanation justice, however it took me a few chapters to get my head round it so this is the short version. The Nephilim were the result of the union between human and angel.

“Their daughters grew to be taller and more elegant than human women; they were intuitive and psychic; they possessed the physical beauty of the angels. The boys grew to be taller and stronger than normal men; they reasoned with shrewdness; they possessed the intelligence of the spiritual world.”

A dilution of angelic traits occurred and human characteristics started to dominate. Powerful angelic families resided over lesser “human” ones, and with superior strength and power they ruled throughout history. They saw love and compassion as human weakness, and rule with ruthlessness and gory brutality.

MyAltTextHere “The creatures were lovely and horrifying at once. They were beautiful, iridescent monsters.”

However their power is diminishing and a disease is ravaging some of their most elite angelic beings. It has now become a race between a set of humans called the “Angelologists” and the higher echelons of the angelic world to see who can find the cure. One wanting to obtain it, and the other destroy it. This is the task that faces our protagonist, a young nun, who’s suddenly thrown into a battle hundreds of years in the making. Unknowingly Evangeline starts to untangle her family past, along with those of the nuns who live around her and the angels that seem to infiltrate every part of her life. Peeling back layers of secrecy Trussoni leads the reader on page after page, revealing parts of a story that involve several narrative voices.

Extraordinary characters such as a rich New York benefactor, martyred nuns, an estranged grandmother, and supernatural beings mean this book is certainly a page-turner. Trussoni’s novel doesn’t have the action packed pace of a Dan Brown novel, but personally I liked the attention to detail that Trussoni painstakingly adds to the story. The ending seems a little rushed, and although enjoyable has some similarities with a few other books that cover this genre; with a race to the finish style ending. I could actually have seen this book as two novels rather than one, the characters and plot were only just becoming clear and I feel I only just caught up when it ended. However, the two love stories that run alongside the main theme give this novel an added depth. One is set in history, and the other plays out in real time, an intriguing sideline to the main thread.

MyAltTextHere Trussoni is a clever storyteller, intertwining diaries, maps, letters, the Bible, mythology, and history; moving them around to suit the plot of her story with amazing adeptness. Trussoni is an award winning writer with her first book Falling Through the Earth: A Memoir winning her the 2006 Michener-Copernicus Society of America Award as well as hitting The New York Times top 10 books of 2006. She is currently working on a sequel to Angelology called "Angelopolis"; I can’t wait to see where she takes this amazingly complex story next.

 

 

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