Oct 25 2013 2:00pm

First Look: Nalini Singh’s Archangel’s Legion (October 29, 2013)

Archangel's Legion by Nalini SinghNalini Singh
Archangel’s Legion
Jove / October 29, 2013 / $7.99 print, $5.99 digital

Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force.

Vampires are dying impossibly of disease.

Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and the Archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels.

Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same…

In Nalini Singh’s Archangels series, angels aren’t the type to wear haloes and sing praise or go around doing good deeds and saving souls. These angels are the most dominant beings on the earth, and the oldest and deadliest of those are the Archangels. The Archangels have divided the earth into territories and they mercilessly rule over the humans and vampires in their provinces. The battle over these territories is neverending; an Archangel must always be on the alert for the scheming and plotting of the other Archangels.

In Archangel’s Legion, the recent rising from a millennia of sleep of an ancient Archangel has begun a Cascade. Even some of the Archangels aren’t old enough to remember the last time there was a Cascade. The Cascade will bring about climate anomalies and bizarre happenings, and most frightening, it will also be gifting the Archangels with new powers. The ensuing crisis is dramatically told, and provides the backbone of the book as the protagonists struggle to ameliorate the damage.

As one of the most dangerous and powerful of the Archangels, Raphael holds the northeastern territory and rules over it from up high. “Up high” in this case is the Tower which looms over the Manhattan skyline. He keeps control of the angels, vampires and humans with intimidation and fear. But there is an underlying fairness to his decisions. Yet not all the other Archangels rule with a sense of fairness, and some will do anything to take over Raphael’s prized territory.

The morning a black cloud covers the skies over Manhattan, it is not rain that begins to fall. On the day which will forever be known as the Falling, angels and birds alike start dropping from the sky as the clouds roll in. Although the phenomenon was over in minutes, it left over eight hundred angels from Raphael’s defensive force broken and shattered on the streets below.

The storm clouds had passed with only a single heavy shower and the air tasted of ozone, clean and fresh, erasing any final traces of the blood that had soaked into the earth on which they stood…but the scar remained. No one would ever forget the day the angels fell.

It is nearly impossible to kill an angel or a vampire, but it is not long after the Falling that the first vampire shows up dead from a new form of pox. As more vampire bodies are found covered in disease, Elena uses her Hunter skills to track the infected human feeding the vampires, but she is too late and the dead won’t be able to provide the much needed answers.

“The bad news is the pox shows every indication of being designed to attack vampires.” Turning to Raphael, he said, “Your instincts led you true—I detect an intelligence behind the disease. It is no natural thing.”

“First my angels fall from the sky, and now this.” Raphael’s expression was brutal.

When the Hudson River turns red with blood, Raphael’s concern of war might be premature. Unfortunately, an attacking Archangel cannot be defended against. There is no way to protect the City from cataclysmic changes of nature.

“What we just saw”—she stared at the water—“should’ve been impossible.”

“Did Jessamy not say something about blood raining from the skies during the Cascade? This would seem to fall along the same continuum.”

“And the archangels were not who they should be, and bodies rotted in the streets and blood rained form the skies as empires burned.”

“Jesus, Raphael,” Elena said, as the historian’s words rang in her mind, “this is really happening.” And it wasn’t just going to be a war. “It’s going to be an event that changes the face of our world.” Her brain could barely comprehend the scale of what was coming.

Natural disaster or an act of war? Raphael and Elena are left to question whether this is all an effect of the Cascade, or a devious attack by another Archangel. With most of his defensive force severely injured, Raphael may not be able to hold off an assault by an Archangel wielding a new and yet unknown power. But if this is all the effect of the Cascade, there won’t be a Legion large enough to save them. The action in Archangel's Legion is dramatic and well-told, and offers an even wider scope to the outcome of the events than in previous books in the series.

Learn more or order a copy of Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh, available on October 29, 2013:

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Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.

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