cover image THE NAMELESS DAY: The Crucible Book One

THE NAMELESS DAY: The Crucible Book One

Sara Douglass, . . Tor, $25.95 (448pp) ISBN 978-0-7653-0362-2

The Black Death has decimated Europe, the Hundred Years War is at a turning point and the English and French peasantry are in open revolt—but is this revolution simply a change whose time has come, or is it due to something far more sinister? In this passionate first volume of a new trilogy by Australian author Douglass (The Wayfarer Redemption ), evil is afoot in medieval Christian Europe. The archangel St. Michael has given Brother Thomas Neville, a Dominican friar, a mandate to repel evil and restore order. A difficult man at the best of times, Thomas now believes he's above church strictures and secular control. On top of that, Thomas is trying to forge his way through Europe as it self-destructs, and he can't trust the people around him since the evil that's stalking the world can shift shape and take the form of anyone at anytime. Douglass has again brilliantly blended detailed research with religion and magic to reinterpret actual historical events, here the shift from extreme spiritualism to humanism that began in 14th-century Europe. And as in her Troy series (Hades' Daughter ), she manages to make the reader care about self-absorbed, flawed characters who often act out of fear, greed or stupidity. This captivating historical fantasy ranks with the best in the subgenre. Agent, James Frenkel. (July 24)