30 October 2012

New York City... and what might lurk there

NO disrespect meant to New York City, Long Island, or New Jersey communities, trying to recover from the terrible devastation of Hurricane Sandy.  I can't stop watching news or thinking about all the destruction and the long road back to normalcy that a lot of our mid-Atlantic neighbors have ahead of us.

But... I recently read YET ANOTHER book set largely in Manhattan.  Forget about vampires or zombies,  meet some sexy angels in Danielle Trussoni's Angelology.

There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. - Genesis 6:5
These children were the "Nephilim", kind of a hybrid of angels & humans.  Some thinkers (including Simcha Jacobovici of Naked Archaeologist fame) believe that these were really the offspring of Neanderthal and modern Homo Sapiens.  Others define the Nephilim simply as "giants;" suggesting that Goliath or other large men of the Old Testament were more-than-simply-human. Strange stuff indeed.

(Note: angelology is a genuine branch of theology.  However, this book is a novel.)

Trussoni's angels are not "angelic" at all.

It's only recently that angels have been represented
as beatific; for most of recorded history
they were fierce and frightening
These angels are supernatural, but most are FAR from "good."  They are the "fallen," imprisoned deep in the earth for thousands of years for their transgressions.  Thing is, they're also irresistably appealing - the curious humans who go searching for them are drawn to them, even against their own will.  They want to touch them, to be near them.  Oh, and by the way, full-blooded angels are radioactive; contact with them is deadly.

The Nephilim are not as toxic as the full-blooded angels, but they have tremendous power within human society.  I suppose you could consider them socially or psychologically toxic.  They're narcissistic, wealthy, and pampered.  They foster discord in civilization.  They have been the wealthy and powerful families of the world (Hapsburgs, Tudors, etc).  In contemporary New York, the wealthy Gregori family holds the cards.

Angelology is the battle between the Nephilim and humans, or more specifically, angelologists - scholarly experts in the angels and the Nephilim.  We're talking scientists and double agents, hidden treasures, hidden people, all the juicy stuff of a good adventure novel. 

So how is this related in any way to New York City? Angelology includes action in medieval Thrace/Bulgaria, Vichy Paris, and the fictional Convent of St. Rose of Viterbo on the Hudson River Valley (late 1990s).  And much the way Dan Brown's characters chase frenetically all over Rome or Paris, the final fifty pages is a Manhattan scavenger hunt involving objects hidden in Riverside Church, the MoMA, The Cloisters, and Rockefeller Center.  I'll never think about those places, or look at Prometheus over the skating rink, quite the same way!

Angelology is fun and thrilling in much the same way Anne Rice's Interview with a Vampire is thrilling: subtly erotic, mysterious, with the suggestion that these superhuman beings walk, cloaked, among us. It's fun in a frightening kind of way. 

A spooky, sort of Halloween way, even.

And to our dear friends in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, hope things get better, and dry out, soon. <3 <3

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