cover image Pulling the Wings Off Angels

Pulling the Wings Off Angels

K J Parker. Tordotcom, $16.99 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-250-83576-5

Parker (Inside Man) turns from demons to angels in this thorny, theological novella, set in a medievalesque fantasy world. The unnamed narrator, a seminary student who has abandoned his belief in the Invincible Sun in favor of gambling and womanizing, is captured by the gangster Florio, to whom he owes a massive debt. Florio offers to forgive all if the narrator can deliver the angel that the narrator’s grandfather, a PT Barnum–style impresario of objectionable entertainment, reportedly captured. The narrator agrees only to buy himself time. Imagine his surprise when he and Florio head to his grandfather’s chapel and the angel is actually there, held captive in a room designed by theologian Saloninus, “the most brilliant genius who ever lived,” to be undetectable by god. Both Florio and the narrator’s lives change forever with the existence of the divine thus confirmed: Florio contemplates what it will take for a man like him to avoid damnation, while the narrator discovers that he will have to pay for the sins of his grandfather. The result is a complex treatise on morality, justice, mercy, forgiveness, and fate disguised as a fantasy adventure, with Parker’s trademark acerbic wit keeping things from getting too dry. This will give readers plenty to chew on. (Nov.)