Angels: The Discovery, by Starr Lee Bryant, is the touching and sometimes harrowing tale of one boy’s ascent to Heaven. As young Fraser awakens in an unfamiliar and empty room, he struggles to remember how he arrived there and why he feels simultaneously at peace and full of an unexplained energy. Fraser becomes acquainted with several other young people in the same boat. Soon enough, he and the others are oriented to their surroundings, briefed on the details of their arrival in Heaven, and allowed to choose jobs within the kingdom–except Fraser. Even amidst the serenity, Fraser finds himself fighting to understand his true place and purpose among the other angels.
I was immediately struck by Bryant’s depiction of Fraser’s first moments in Heaven. He is overwhelmed but, at the same time, curious and calm. His surroundings are described in the most vivid and tangible details. The reader shares the main character’s peaceful and comforting sensation as he/she enters the first chapter. Bryant spends a great deal of time illustrating the pristine and comfortable quarters to which Fraser is oriented by Gabrielle, his assigned guide.
Bryant uses her cast of characters to emphasize two major aspects of Heaven. She has created Fraser in order to show readers the freedom from pain and suffering found in Heaven and to underscore the fact that those who make it to Heaven are, indeed, believers of God (The Big Guy). I was moved by the flashbacks Fraser experiences with increasing intensity and clarity. As he begins to learn more about the way he reached Heaven, he sees scenes from his life on Earth in a new way–a way he never would have been capable of as a mortal. Each of Bryant’s characters contributes to the plot in a unique way. I am quite partial to Ms. Jamerson, Fraser’s orientation instructor. She’s unflappable and more than willing to provide detailed explanations to Heaven’s newest residents.
One of the most unique aspects of Bryant’s depiction of Heaven centers on the angels’ relationships with their loved ones. The grieving process is very much an earthly sensitivity. Fraser learns quickly that, though he still loves the family he left behind, his feelings toward them will be much less sad, and the expected pining for their companionship and closeness is a not an emotion with which he will battle.
As beautiful and as perfect as Heaven and the angels are drawn in Bryant’s work, her narrative regarding the dark angels is breathtakingly disturbing. The author draws chills from the reader with Fraser’s first encounter with the dark angel hovering above his family. Bryant goes on to describe amazing scenes in which the dark angels seem to be silently dominating life on Earth.
Angels: The Discovery, by Starr Lee Bryant, deserves every one of the 5 stars I am giving it. Bryant provides a thought-provoking account of life after a hero’s death for believers in Christ. I found Fraser’s “choice” of job as both fitting for him and a wonderful tie-in to his concern for his family’s welfare after his death. In addition, Bryant leaves the door wide open for a stirring sequel featuring young Fraser.
Pages: 206 | ASIN: B0788PXZY9
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The Nightbreaker follows a paladin named Daniel as we’re introduced to the conflict between the gods of darkness and light and their conflict on the Mortal Plane. What made you want to write this prequel novella to your Broken Pact Trilogy?
Daniel has a major impact on the history of the Mortal Plane. His secret affair with Lio is the catalyst that directly leads to Lio’s fall and the creation of the Grey God’s Pact. Without Daniel, the world as we see it in the Broken Pact trilogy wouldn’t exist. Without spoiling too much of the next book in that trilogy, Daniel and what happened to him plays a larger role in the story, and how Trent and Ren deal with their own parallels to the Paladin hero.
Daniel is on a mission to defeat Rexin before he plunges the Mortal Plane into darkness. Do you feel that Rexin is Daniel’s antithesis, or did you want them to compliment one another?
I first came up with the story as my spin on the classic dragon-slayer tale where a hero must travel away from the kingdom to kill the beast that threatens to destroy it. Daniel is a conflicted character though, as he struggles with the nature of his birth and the way that he is viewed by society. It made sense for Rexin to be a physical manifestation of the darkness that Daniel sees in himself. In order to overcome this external force he doesn’t just have to banish his own darkness, but accept it and use it.
The battle of good vs evil is a theme we see often in fantasy. Do you think the Gods of Darkness and Gods of Light represent this contrast or is there a grey area?
I’ve tried to take the classic good vs. evil tale and add grey areas within each of the factions. Lio, the villain of the Broken Pact trilogy, is a fallen God of Light, who only fell because of his love for a mortal and his natural desire to avenge him. Daniel commits an objectively evil deed at the end of The Nightbreaker to defeat Rexin the Blasted. Although the Gods of Light and the Gods of Darkness represent that classic dichotomy, the individuals who makeup and serve those groups fall into somewhere between good and evil in their personal morality, which makes their interactions all the more interesting.
What is one thing that people point out after reading your book that surprises you?
I’m usually surprised at many of the little world-building details that people pick up on. I try to seed references to other stories and events in the world that I have planned so that sometime in the future when those stories are written the whole series will feel like a more cohesive whole. It’s a really cool feeling though when people catch some of those now, and ask me, “What’s up with that? When do I get to find out what that meant, or who they were talking about?” My answer: keep reading.
In the years before the Grey God’s Pact, the Gods of Light and the Gods of Darkness waged war upon the Mortal Plane. Fighting alongside them were armies of men and monsters. The Champion Daniel, a Paladin of the Light, leads a band of warriors into the wilderness to defeat one such being, Rexin the Blasted, before the creature engulfs the entire Mortal Plane in an endless darkness.
Daniel, scorned for his heritage as the child of a rapist, must first come to terms with his own identity and what he is willing to do in the name of the greater good. Sometimes wicked deeds can destroy wicked things.
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The Victory Perspective, by E. J. Kellett, reveals a new angle on the creation story complete with a dark and foreboding side. Five beings materialize, quite literally, in the first chapter and proceed to make their way through the world around them while one of them, Alpha, emerges as leader. Raphael, Michael, Lucifer, and Gabriel seek ways to understand Alpha’s powers as they develop, strengthen, and subdue the other four. Alpha’s abilities overwhelm the others as he levitates, forces the others into virtual servitude, and begins presenting them with stunning creations, including human beings. When Raphael disappears from their camp, Lucifer must begin a battle within himself as he searches for his friend.
I was immediately taken with the beautiful language penned by Kellett. The striking descriptions of the landscape and the amazing emergence of each of the five beings is breathtaking to behold. Kellett is a master with the written word and fashions fascinating depictions as they grow in their cognizance.
Kellett incorporates several episodes of violence in order to emphasize the differences between his characters and demonstrate Alpha’s dominance. Like the other four stunned onlookers, I struggled through the sight but find it a fitting method for establishing Alpha’s place in the world and helping the reader sympathize with Lucifer as the plotline progresses. Their horror at Alpha’s growing strength and their wonderment at the tools, weapons, and shelters he is able to fashion are highly relatable feelings.
I was, at times, taken aback at the rather familiar tone of the characters. To hear characters who I associate with angels speak in mundane terms, sometimes using slang, was a bit off-putting. The intensity of the creation story seems to call for a more formal tone, even though this is a far cry from the traditional story which most readers would readily recognize. I had a hard time resolving my discomfort with hearing Alpha, depicted as the creator, curse.
Some readers may find the description of evolution unsettling. As Alpha discovers his efforts to create humans go somewhat awry, readers will find that he is not in complete control of the process. The resulting beings are not pleasing to him. (This is only one of the ways Alpha is very much humanized throughout the reading.)
The closeness between Lucifer and Raphael is touching, and Lucifer’s insistence at finding Raphael at all costs keeps the reader involved in the plot. As the two discover more about themselves and more about Alpha’s intentions, their relationship mimics human exchanges. Again, this is not something most readers are used to seeing from depictions of divine beings. Making that transfer to a different mindset might be a struggle for some.
Lucifer’s reappearance in the Garden of Eden places a new spin on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. In fact, one of the most iconic scenes we know from the Bible story is, here, given all the qualities of a drama. Lucifer, though always a major factor in Eve’s decline, is personified by Kellett and shown to be thoughtful and not without worries of his own. In addition, Adam and Eve’s conversations are basic in language and have a commonplace feel.
While beautifully written with remarkable imagery, I was not completely comfortable with the take on the creation story. However, there is much to be said for this reimagining of the immediately recognizable story of the origins of our world.
Pages: 314 | ASIN: B078Y9QJW1
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A Deal With God tells the tale of sweethearts Rebeccah and Leon whos fates are intertwined after a romantic summer night. What were some themes you wanted to capture in their relationship?
I believe the reason “Deal” has been so popular with readers and reviewers alike is because the interpersonal relationship between the characters are so real. The truth is there relationship between Leon and Rebeccah was very rocky. She blamed him for everything that was wrong in her life. The night before his marriage to Deana he tells her he is shocked to be remarrying because his first marriage was so bad.
This book is inspired by a true story. What were the real events that you used in this book?
The real event in question is that she actually died in the car wreck in chapter 2. Most characters in this book are based on actual people with real personalities and emotions. I love asking readers if they can tell me which parts of the book are real and actual verses what I made up.
We learn about Deana’s life and her hardships at the beginning of the story which builds a beautiful persona. What were some things that surprised you the most about Deana?
To keep the man who raped her from ever finding her when he got out of prison they changed her name and put in her in a boys orphanage in a different school zone. My old asst coach said it best: “If you asked Murphy (Deana) to run through a brick wall she would be back in a few minutes with a sledge hammer.” The story is unique in the feature it gives you the best of both fiction and non-fiction literary worlds.
Deana Murphy endured a life and death of brutality and hardship. She met every challenge God gave her and it made her stronger and stronger. God had a plan for her and she would need every ounce of this strength. Deana always dreamed of a bigger life. However, she never realized smaller can be just perfect. She wants romance and love, but she never realized sometimes it can take a little Divine intervention. In return, though, Deana senses the payback price will be steep. it is something big but God does not fully disclose the task. Desperate for a second chance, Deana agrees to do “anything ” God desires.
Deana Murphy had been unlucky at love. Yet the man who was perfect for her lived in one of the smallest towns in the United States. When God gave her a second chance at life, he was actually playing matchmaker. He sends her to rural Georgia, deep in the country to meet Leon Samuel’s. Sparks fly and love prospers as these two paths intertwine. This book features the greatest pick up line any woman can use on a man .“A Deal with God” is the romance novel readers have been waiting for.
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Sometimes stories challenge everything you thought you knew about something and this is one of those books. The Fall of Lilith by Vashti Quiroz-Vega is a dark fantasy of fantastical proportions. Centered around the anti-heroine, Lilith, we follow the creation of the angels and their life in Floraison or “Heaven.” Lilith chafes under the rule of God and rebels, enacting the traditional role of Lucifer, although the Light-bringer joins the ill-advised rebellion as well. These celestial rebels are cast out of Heaven, down on earth where their bodies are changed, and they must rise to the new challenge of surviving a new world.
In some ways, Quiroz-Vega’s novel follows familiar beats of other angelic tales and even the traditional Judeo-Christian scripture passages, but she goes further by using Lilith as her vehicle to rend Heaven apart and creates a whole new story to tell. The descriptions in the book are particularly rich, and clearly there was plenty of thought spent in developing what Heaven and even Earth would look like to the angels.
The book is long since it is two novels, but for the reader, it gives the story a full arc and even mythic cyclical structure. Lilith starts out as a typical heroine but slowly becomes more and more consumed with power and manipulation. Her development is done pretty well, even if somewhat expected. Then again, what else can happen in Heaven without a rebellion? The fact that it is Lilith who takes the reins rather than Lucifer is a modern take on the fallen angel story, but one that refreshes the form and takes inspiration from the Hebrew myths surrounding the figure of Lilith.
I found the second part to be a little more interesting on the basis that we exited Heaven and now life becomes hard on the rebellious angels who have to suffer from new forms and real pain. Lilith’s growth as a character continues, but by the end almost reaches a point of no return. And I found this disconcerting, since Lilith represents in a lot of ways, femininity taking over and dominating what has traditionally been Lucifer’s role in Judeo-Christian religion. Lilith’s stagnation as a character lessens the impact of the overall story for me, but the world building and fresh take on the story itself were enough to save the book.
All in all, this angelic fantasy is one that most readers will enjoy. The elements of world building and the cast of characters is more than enough to chew through and the meaty page number of these combined books will please anyone. Lilith may sit well with other readers, considering her dynamic characterization in the beginning. Overall, a wonderful read for anyone looking for a unique fantasy tale!
Pages: 504 | ASIN: B074CPKLHH
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Wrath of the Fallen by Kristopher Jerome is the first book in a series about the battle of good vs. evil with mankind stuck in the middle and suffering because of it. The war went on for thousands of years until one side seemed to beat the other into submission. It seems as though mankind gets a break as the demons and their minions seem to be disappearing. Trent, a Paladin of the Light thinks something’s not right and follows them with his friend Devin to discover what is truly happening in their world. What they find is more than they bargained for.
I personally find stories about battles against good and evil to be right up my alley. I’m a fan of shows like Supernatural that portray angels and demons in a different light than just wearing halos or poking people with pitchforks. The characters in this book are well written and easy to visualize. The battles were bloody, which didn’t bother me in the slightest. After all, this is a book about a war. If there wasn’t violence I would have been disappointed!
Trent has some issues that make him a realistic character, in my book. In reality, people are a bit twisted from their past and current situations. He was very lucky to have his friend Devin with him on the journey to keep from losing himself. I won’t say how, sorry. Read for yourself if you want to know!
The twists and turns of Wrath of the Fallen kept me reading when I should have been sleeping. I don’t often stay up to read a book, but I had problems finding a place to really stop at so that I could get some rest. For some reason, I had thoughts of Frodo taking the ring to Mordor with Sam. I am not quite sure why, since it was a bit of a different situation, but what can I say? Perhaps it was the adventure itself with two friends.
While the ending was abrupt, I get it. There are other books to the series and a cliffhanger was needed to keep you wanting more. I don’t mind this at all. If anything, this shows the art of a true storyteller. They can suck you into this new and magical world and leave you wanting more, not ready for it to end just yet. While I had not read a fantasy novel in quite a while, this book put me in the mood to go back to this genre for the next few books.
Overall there was lots of intrigue and drama to keep me reading, and the characters were very well written. I tend to get put off by things like paladins and things like that, but that is just me and one of my many quirks. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys epic fantasy stories about good v. evil.
Pages: 322 | ASIN: B01COENGR8
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Days Gone By follows Caleb as he struggles with agoraphobia and the loss of his nephew in a car accident. What made you want to write a story about this topic? Anything pulled from your life experiences?
There are a few things that are taken from my past. At the time of my writing Days Gone By my nephew was five years old. He is now seven and a joy to be around. No tragic car accident; however, I wanted to write a heartfelt, emotional, character-driven story and if I had to go through what Caleb did, I don’t know how I would deal with it, but hiding seemed like a safe choice; and that’s exactly what Caleb is doing.
Many of Caleb’s visitors are based on real people in my life. His grandfather, for one, is based on my Mother’s father who did live in The Azores, Portugal. His story he shared about a possible angel telling him to return home due to a dangerous road ahead was true. Since he also lived so far away I did not see him that much and do wish I had more memories with him.
Caleb’s Irish great, great, great grandmother is also mine from my father’s side who also emigrated to the U.S. from Cork, Ireland. Miss. Di Coco was my second grade teacher and Jessica was my real life childhood friend.
The writing in your story is very artful and creative. Was it a conscious effort to create a story in this fashion or is this style of writing reflective of your writing style in general?
To date all my books are adaptations from my screenplays. So they all share this style of writing. I also marketed it to a local theater to be a play, but my character list ended up being too long. The stories I’ve written before my scripts and now after will follow more traditional book layouts.
Caleb’s has physical and psychological difficulties, but the spiritual burden of guilt for being the cause of his nephew’s death is overwhelming. What were the driving ideals behind the characters development throughout the story?
I knew Caleb’s journey was going to be a hard one. Feeling sadness because of a tragic event is one thing, but Caleb is terrified of it. He’s afraid to feel that deep sorrow and face that reality. This fear became an illness that spread to all aspects of his life. He put up a wall to protect himself and now everything outside of his home and daily routine is scary.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book will be written as a regular novel and takes place in 1885, but further advanced than in our own history. I think I’m on page five. 🙂
Three days after Christmas an auto accident left Caleb partially disabled and took the life of his five year old nephew. Now on the anniversary, four years later, Caleb is afraid to leave his house; even to attend his brother’s upcoming wedding.
Soon past friends and deceased relatives mysteriously begin showing up in his home to deliver their messages and help him through his phobia by showing him glimpses of his past, present and possible future.
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Angels’ Whispers chronicles the harrowing struggle between two ultimate forces, Angels and Demons. What was your inspiration for this captivating story?
The idea of a female Angel had been knocking around in my head for a quite a few months and, ever so slowly, a story began to be woven around her. But it hadn’t occurred to me to write down the story. The last time I had written anything was when I was 17 years old, and that was many years ago. The only thing I was putting to paper all these years later were comments I jotted down about the books I was studying. But, at some point, I began to mark some of these comments with asterisks as a way to make a note of some topics that I could highlight in the story; and then all of a sudden, one evening I decided to write about the ideas I was developing. This story is the outcome of my need to express some unconventional views based on my inner contemplations.
The struggle between Angels and Demons is consistently explored by literature, but you bring a playfully crisp air into the work. What were some things that you wanted to do differently from standard tropes?
Modern-day readers have different demands. To make the age-old myth of the battle between good and evil more attractive and approachable for readers, I created a more intricate plot and added more suspense and romance, which nevertheless does not detract from the book’s objectivity, but instead enhances it.
I loved the intelligent yet candid way Angels scrutinize the notions of truth and freedom throughout the book. What were some themes you felt were important to highlight in the novel?
Balance is a key topic. Corporeality is the essence of human existence and one’s physical needs have to be met to attain intellectual and spiritual balance. This is why love and passion do not remain on the notional-platonic plane. The search for the source of existence and the changes that define it are a pivotal aspect of my work and my heroes’ actions. As they search, my characters gain self-knowledge. Emancipation is another topic. Many of the heroes in my story strive to break the bonds of the power holding them hostage – primarily spiritually – so that they can achieve their goals. They are even prepared to pay the price for this freedom that they must now handle on their own. Their weapon in this fight for freedom is doubt. As the enduring foundation of philosophy and science in general, doubt is what has led to the human being’s intellectual qualities and consequently to the creation and ongoing development of civilization. Of course, I do not fail to highlight the predominant role of love and passion, which together transcend space and time and even unite opposites – the human and the transcendent, good and evil – as their common denominator.
This is book one in the War Eternal series. Where does book two take readers and when will it be available?
The second book will be released in April 2018. There will be more action, earth-shattering revelations and unexpected twists that will propel the story to a new plane for readers.
Alex Meyers, a dynamic, global entrepreneur, has an advantage that no other human has ever had: he is protected by Aranes, the Superior of the Angels. While he is skiing, he dies in an avalanche, but his all-powerful protector breaks one of the ethereal world’s most important Rules and brings him back to life. Alex falls head over heels in love with the beautiful Angel, who appears to him in human form. But she disappears just as suddenly as she had appeared.
While he searches for Aranes, Alex discovers her true identity and that he actually might be the high-ranking Celestial Abaddon, who is mentioned in the Revelations prophecy as the one who will defeat Lucifer.
The man who fate has thrust among the world’s superpowers is now living a nightmare. He wants to evade Lucifer’s pursuit, find out who he truly is and once again see the only being he has ever loved. And the only way to do it is to make the ultimate sacrifice.
Angels’ Whispers is the beginning of an epic tale set in modern times. The eternal war between Light and Darkness is at a critical turning point: Angels and Demons, invisible to mortal beings, battle for dominance in the physical world, while Guardians, vampires and werewolves, who live among the humans, find themselves on opposing sides in a deadly power game.
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In this captivating tale of cosmic design, Angels’ Whispers, author J.F. Cain chronicles the harrowing struggle between two ultimate yet necessary forces, Angels and Demons. As intelligent as they are graceful, Angels have been metaphysically observing mankind for an eternity, lovingly tending to humanity’s journey towards spiritual awakening. The recent advent of free will has brought with it the potential for deviance though, and the balanced tides of spiritual harmony hangs in the balance. As the fallen angel Lucifer schemes to lure society towards the err of self-indulgence, the philosophically pragmatic Angel Aranes, the most superior of celestial beings, must challenge her own age-old wisdom and routines for the sake of serving not just humanity, but all intelligent creation.
The first title from the War Eternal series, Angels’ Whispers delves into the popular and alluring trope of angelic and demonic forces at constant odds, a concept explored by literature and media since the earliest eras of civilization. Although the splay of archangels and demonic characters may be ancient in a scriptural sense, Cain brings a playfully crisp air into the work, using an intensely illustrative style to make the story feel modern. Main character Alex Meyers is a cocky young entrepreneur, chock-full full of cynicism and self-conflicted inner monolog. He’s as well-intentioned as he is troubled, and that struck me as oddly endearing. Finding himself on the receiving end of an Angel’s attention, he struggles to explore his own convictions, all while being thrust into the throes of the eternal power struggle between these all powerful creatures.
In a style oddly comparable to J.R.R. Tolkien’s work, Cain writes densely, wasting no opportunity to develop a particular scene with lush descriptiveness. The grandiose and mystical surroundings of the Elether, the metaphysical plane of the Celestials, is the perfect backdrop for the gorgeous amount of attention Cain has poured into the setting. I absorbed the rich details, easily imagining them with all the vividness of a wide-screen cinematic. This would seriously make one hell of a movie!
I loved the intelligent yet candid way that Angels’ Whispers scrutinizes the notions of truth and freedom throughout the book, making use of an enormous splay of theological and philosophical knowledge. It was fascinating to read about the various ideologies of so many influential individuals and cultures in such a condensed form, and I found some of the sentiments to be deliciously thought-provoking! I can’t even recall the last time I had been prompted to explore my own thoughts on religion so earnestly, so I appreciated the casual way that Cain wove that into the story. The intellectual sparring between Celestial beings was enthralling in that same way, and maintained a strong presence through the book. It felt reminiscent to me of the zesty energy of a passionate debate between two best friends – engaged and impassioned, but respectful and surprisingly explorative.
Without spoiling anything, I’m still happy to say that this first title sets up beautifully for the next work. I’d recommend it to fellow readers with a love for the supernatural and philosophical niches. I’m looking forward to the next title of War Eternal, which will surely follow up on the consequence to life’s most powerful forces – love, death, and ultimately, free will.
Pages: 355 | ASIN: B06Y4XDY8T
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Coming Darkness is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a fantasy, romance, and a sprinkling of religious fiction as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
Both. I knew Kai and Lucifer were in a relationship and so I had to build the religious and fantasy aspects into the world around them. It was an interesting challenge to create a world where they would not only interact, but fall in love as well.
The supporting characters in this novel, I felt, were intriguing and well developed. Who was your favorite character to write for?
All of them! It may sound cliché but it’s true. They all touch places in me — I can wear so many personalities through them and I love that opportunity!
However, if I must choose, I guess Te may inch out the others because he gets to be the grown-up. While he’s perfectly willing to go along with the crazy, he’ll also step back and say “Well, maybe that’s not such a good idea. Here’s an alternative.” In a way, he’s the father figure — he loves his “kids” and has always been there (in whatever form) and even if they may not like him, they know they can trust him.
You were able to seamlessly blend characters from many different genres. All of them, I felt, were unique while still be relatable. What were the morals you were trying to capture while creating your characters?
Thank you! I was thinking a lot about responsibility when I wrote both Lucifer and Kai. They’ve both been living in this kind of neutral space for so long, I wanted to challenge them, make them take an active part in their world. We tend to judge a person’s morality by how they respond to responsibility — responsibility to others as well as how well they take responsibility for their own actions — and I wanted to play with that.
I find a problem in well written stories, in that I always want there to be another book to keep the story going. Is there a second book planned?
Oh yes! I’m working on that now. The next book goes deeper into the world, and I’d like to say that 95-99% of unanswered questions from Coming Darkness will be answered!
Archangel Lucifer’s spoiled life comes to a halt as he learns that Heaven is empty, and his Father missing. Seeking answers, he’s brought face to face with a race of Creator-Gods unhappy with his Father and the world He created. Planning to wipe out this heresy and letting Darkness reclaim the earth, they imprison Lucifer in Hell.
Meanwhile, the Archangel’s lover sets out to prove his opponents wrong. But Lucifer’s influence runs deeper in Kai than he suspected, and the fear that he’s merely Lucifer’s pet becomes all too real.
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