Danielle Trussoni has taken some slack from critics and fellow authors for "selling out." It's true that Angelology is a vast departure from her debut -- the memoir Falling Through The Earth, about Trussoni's troubled Vietnam vet father, landed on the New York Times' Best Books of 2006 list, and clearly displayed her literary pedigree.
It's doubtful that Angelology will end up on any Top Ten Lists. Not because it's not great, but because it's not really the kind of book that ends up there. After all -- "angelology"? What the heck does that even mean? It's a thriller, not a character-driven novel. It involves angels, nephilim, Nazis, Paris, New York, the Rockefellers, and that's just the beginning of the vast conspiracy. It really is Dan Brown, but for smart people.
You can't fault Trussoni in this troubled literary climate to capitalize on angels' popularity. I heard someone say that "angels are the new vampires." If Angelolgy is any clue, I would heartily agree. The book opens at a convent in upstate New York, where the young nun Evangeline begins a regular, routine-filled day organizing papers in the convent's archive. But when she stumbles across a rather strange letter from Abigail Rockefeller to the Mother of the convent in the 1940s, it triggers a chain of events that will lead her eventually to the discovery of nephilim in our society (half-fallen angel, half-men) and The Angelological Society (and her grandmother) in New York City.
Along the way, the reader obtains back story from old journals, another nun, Celestine, and Evangeline's grandmother. The search is on for a treasure that Mrs. Rockefeller hid for the Angelological Society, a treasure so precious and powerful that both the nephilim and the angelologists are scrambling to find it. And Evangeline finds out more about her heritage, perhaps more than she ever wanted to know.
The rest of the twists and turns in the story I will leave for the reader to uncover. But I will tell you that I listened to this as an audiobook, and for days straight I was completely riveted -- listening in the car, the gym, at work, wherever I could find a few minutes. It's a fantastic, clever, and fun read that leaves the reader hungry for more. Luckily, I've already heard that there's a sequel in the works.
Angelology by Danielle Trussoni jumps on The DaVinci Code bandwagon with a suspenseful story about the battle between angels and angelologists that has been fought for millenia. Sister Evangeline has lived most of her life at St. Rose Convent's Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. She knows that her parents were involved in dangerous research regarding angels, but nothing more. Verlaine has been hired by Percival Grigori to track down some mysterious letters between Abigail Rockefeller … more
Through the door opened by The DaVinci Code comes Trussoni’s entry in the hugger-mugger religious-society suspense subgenre, its textured prose as seamless as the never-ending stream of prayers offered up by St. Rose Convent’s Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. In that institution, celebrated for its angelic texts, lives Sister Evangeline, who prays, tends to library matters, and has become “a creature of obedience and duty” since her father brought her there when she was 12, two years after her mother’s death. The scholar Verlaine seeks concrete evidence linking the convent to Abigail Rockefeller, and before you can say, “I found this letter,” the multilayered process of Evangeline’s transformation has begun. The story takes flight in eminently readable fashion, effortlessly folding in technical information about things angelic and the religious life. It’s hard not to enjoy the secrets unearthed and appreciate what wings are to the angels who secretly walk among us—“a symbol of their blood, their breeding, . . . their position in the community. Displaying them properly brought power and prestige.” Powerfully entertaining. --Whitney Scott