The Eyes of the Republic are Everywhere.
The victim of what she believes is a malicious kidnapping, seer Delilah Desjardins quickly realizes that her abductor is on a mission to save her from assassins. Rafe, a fallen angel, must ensure that Delilah, blessed with the gift of foresight, reaches her true calling as an oracle for the Republic–and if his divine calling results in a more earthly relationship between the two of them, well, he doesn’t mind that at all.
Drawn to Rafe, but fearing the loss of her gifts should she surrender to his charms, Delilah knows she has to leave him. But fleeing his guardianship sets the assassins on her trail again. As Rafe races to save Delilah, he knows he isn’t just saving her for the good of the Republic, for the angels, or for the future–he’s saving her for himself.
Guardian, the second book in my Fallen Angel series of fantasy romances, became available this week. This series is set in a gritty future, one poised on the cusp of yet another nuclear war. The hero in each book is one of a series of volunteers, angels who choose to surrender their wings in order to become mortal men and try to save humankind from ourselves. They each are given an assignment, one that puts them in contact with a human woman, and it probably won’t be a spoiler to tell you that by the end of the book – and the completion of that assignment – each hero chooses to remain on earth with his lady love.
This fictional society of mine is a cynical one, and when the angels are first “discovered”, there is an article in the press called “Angels Among Us?” Of course, it’s a digital press in 2099, and there are hotlinks to this article in the subsequent reporting on the almost-end of the world. Every time I see that headline, I stop to think.
Angels among us? Are there?
People have believed in angels for a long time. Our conventional understanding of angels is that they are celestial beings, the closest form of life to the divine. They are made either of light or of thought, although they are often depicted with feathery wings. They usually male but considered to be above earthly concerns and desires. They are believed to intercede on behalf of humans, to be our guardians on earth and our defenders when we are judged after death. They are also believed to be excellent guides, presumably because they see more of the future than we do – or maybe because they can see the consequences of our actions more clearly. When an angel gives you advice, listen!
Each of the Abrahamic faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – includes angels in their respective cosmologies. In the Jewish tradition, which is the source of many angel stories, angels are the messengers of God – and they appeared appropriately to the prophets. Raphael makes a cameo appearance in the Old Testament, escorting Tobias and protecting him from the demon Asmodeus, while remaining “under cover” as a mortal man. The Arabic name for angel is Mal’ak or malak, meaning messenger. They are closer to God but not superior to mankind. Munkar and Nakir are said to be angels with black skin in Muslim tradition, with blue or green eyes. Munkar, in particular, is said to be able to read the secret hearts of men. The Christian tradition built on all of these stories – Thomas Aquinas debated the precise nature of angels and their powers within his work the Summa Theologica and earned himself the title Doctor of Angels for his work. When people refer to the orders and ranks of angels, they are often citing Aquinas.
Perhaps because they inhabit a realm between us and the divine, angels are said to be guardians of mortals and our concerns. There are angels associated with certain buildings, certain occupations, certain activities, and of course, many of us believe that we have a personal guardian angel, looking out for us. The archangel Michael leads just troops to war, and figured prominently in the literature about the crusades. Joan of Arc heard the angels, who told her how to lead the French people. There are hundreds and hundreds of angel stories.
My favorite angel story is an old one. It tells of how the archangel Gabriel teaches each child every thing he or she needs to know, whispering to the baby while that child grows in his or her mother’s womb. Just before the baby is born, Gabriel kisses the child, ensuring that he or she forgets all that vast knowledge until necessary. And the mark of the kiss of archangel Gabriel is the indent each of has between the upper lip and the bottom of the nose.
What’s your favourite angel story? Do you have a guardian angel? Have you ever seen an angel? Tell me what you think – we have a raffle prize today of a signed copy of Guardian. The winner will be chosen from among those who comment.
Thank you, Ms Delacroix!
Leave a comment to enter the drawing, and visit Ms Delacroix’s website for more information on her Fallen Angels and other novels.