"Excellent alternate historical medieval fantasy"
In 1381 Europe is on the brink of destruction as so many no
longer believe the Church as is the center of their lives.
Rome has lost control with heresies arising everywhere and
the affluent increasingly demanding more; peasants doubt
scripture as they seek a better life on earth rather than
wait for their heavenly reward.
Much of the collapse is beyond Rome's control. Demons have
escaped their eternal prison and are poised to breech the
gates of Heaven. The Great Archangel Michael orders pious
monk Thomas Neville to destroy demons cloaked as humans.
However, on his quest for what he initially assumes will be
his ticket to heaven, Thomas begins to have doubts that he
is on the right side especially when he encounters heretics
who make sense in their criticism of the Roman Church.
Besides agreeing with dissenters like Father John, he also
concedes there are probably demons using mortal form to
cause dissension. Unbeknownst to him his soul is the
battlefield of Armageddon, but which side is good and which
is evil remain the question and the fate of the world rests
on Thomas's choice
The final tale in the Crucible trilogy is a terrific novel
that brings together this excellent alternate historical
medieval fantasy. The audience needs to read the previous
books first as the dangling threads from THE NAMELESS DAY
and THE WOUNDED HAWK lead up to this stirring climax.
Thomas is a fabulous representative of the age as he
satiates his mortal needs when he has a chance but also
begins to live up to his name as a doubter. Mindful of
James Blish's fabulous Heavenly War duet (see BLACK EASTER
and DAY AFTER JUDGMENT) though they take place in different
times, fans of angelic-demon war thrillers will appreciate
this miniseries as the fantastic whole is greater than the
Reviewed by Harriet Klausner
Posted December 30, 2005
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted January 25, 2007