Title: Something More than Night
Author: Ian Tregillis
Genre: “… a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas’s vision of Heaven.”
Source: Galley received from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewer: Kristen R.
The angel Gabriel is dead and the Jericho Trumpet has gone missing. Why was Gabriel killed and by whom? What connection does his death have with a possibly crooked priest, the recipients of a plenary indulgence and body-mutilating penitentes?
Bayliss is an angel and a hard-boiled detective, complete with the dialogue to accompany the roll. When he kills Molly, a human, and turns her into a fellow angel, he fills the hole left by Gabriel’s murder and keeps order in the universe. Bayliss is a poor mentor and Molly causes havoc due to her lack of knowledge and her human way of thinking. The pair is roughed up by angels who do not like the questions they are asking about Gabriel and this causes them to push harder for the truth, if only to preserve themselves.
This story presents an interesting take on the manner of the universe. The heavens, angels, and reality are not the typical sort that one usually imagines. This is in no way the common Christian idea of the angels and heaven. There are no souls of the faithful departed amongst the heavenly Choir, nor are the angels at all concerned with the affairs of humans (who they call “monkeys”). The universe is held together by a disinterested Choir of angels who live in the Plemora, the wilderness where most angels make their home.
Complex prose and complex concepts. Due to the nature of the story there are many philosophical themes and explanations. There were times in which there was so much technical description going on that it was hard to follow. However, because I found it confusing I was able to understand how confusing all of these concepts were for Molly.
The world building is smoothly integrated into the story. This is not quite the Earth of today. We are sometime in the future, sometime that has different technology and a slightly different culture. Tregallis interweaves these details lightly and delicately throughout the narrative and the reader is fed little bits of this information as the story progresses. Nicely done.
4 out of 5 bookmarks. Beautiful and engaging prose. I recommend this book for someone looking for a mystery with philosophical underpinnings. This is not for everyone, but is certainly great prose and an interesting premise.