Anne Rice’s magnificent Songs of the Seraphim series continues with another metaphysical adventure full of angels and assassins.
Barely recovered from his previous divine mission, former contract killer Toby O’Dare is once again summoned by the angel Malchiah to investigate the poisoning of a prominent nobleman and stop the haunting of a diabolical dybbuk. Together, they travel back to fifteenth-century Italy—the age of Michelangelo, the Holy Inquisition, and Pope Leo X—and this time Malchiah has Toby pose as a lute player sent to charm and calm this troublesome spirit. But Toby soon discovers that he is in the midst of plots and counterplots, surrounded on all sides by increasingly dangerous threats as the veil of ecclesiastical terror closes in around him.
You’ve written about many kinds of immortal or supernatural beings. What inspired you to turn to angels in this new book?
I have always been fascinated by the idea of angels—these perfect beings who are God’s messengers, sinless, bold, and unfathomable to the human mind. I was deliciously challenged to be biblically correct about them, and theologically correct: to present Malchiah as truly perfect, yet sent to interact with my hero Toby, and commissioned therefore to take a human body and reflect human emotions and respond to Toby’s human emotions.
How did imagining a character like Malchiah the angel differ from creating one like the vampire Lestat?
Well, again, Malchiah is perfect and sinless. And to make such a character appealing is a challenge; he has to reflect God’s love for human beings, God’s compassion. He’s not sent to judge Toby; he’s sent to guide him to salvation, and to enlist Toby in working for the angels on earth. He must feel things; he must have a personality, but with marvelous theological constraints. Doing Lestat was entirely different: Lestat is sinful and ferociously human, a rebel who wants to be good at being bad; a rebel who is seeking redemption but turning away from it all the time. There is a certain joy in writing about Malchiah because he is sent from God. There was never a perfect joy in writing about Lestat: Lestat suffers too much and does too many bad things with relish.