I think I left off last time with something along the lines of…
Because today we’re going to cover Chapter 30, and I assure you it’s going to be sucktastic. Are you ready to discover who Lucien’s angelic baby daddy (and Evangeline’s angelic granddaddy) was? No? Well suck it, because I had to deal with it and so will you.
For those of you sort of catching up and might be lost…well I’m sorry, because it’s really confusing, so it might be best to just start from the beginning? But I’ll try my best for a short summary of relevant events:
-The protagonist of the last book, Evangeline, turns out to have a different father than the story has been telling us up until this point, and he’s Lucien, a Russian angel hatched from an egg.
-Lucien is the son of the last tsarina of Russia and an unnamed angel.
-Lucien is alive and well and somewhere in range of our protagonists who are currently in the mountains of Bulgaria.
Azov, little character that he has, gets upset that Valko has had an actual good hybrid angel on hand to talk to and never told anyone about it for years. Which is a legitimate point; as far as we can tell, there aren’t different levels of clearance among angelologists, so Valko’s just been sitting on this information for no discernible reason. He could argue that he wouldn’t want to tell anyone about the angel because angelologists tend to see anything with wings and want to murder it, but instead his defense is “nothing has worked as we expected it would.”
“Evangeline was human,” Valko said. “Or so her mother believed her to be. Year after year, Angela’s hope that her daughter’s angelic inheritance would reveal itself diminished. With every extraction of her blood, her mother’s disappointment grew.”
That’s why Angela Valko kept taking Evangeline to Godwin when she was little—to have her tested to see if she had angelic traits. Of course, Evangeline didn’t exhibit these traits until the end of the first book, long after her mother’s death, so Angela decided that her attempt to use Lucien to breed a superweapon didn’t work. That’s why she decided to engineer a supervirus that would kill everything with wings—because her daughter didn’t seem powerful enough.
…I’ve said this before, but Angela would make a fantastic supervillain.
Valko points out that the virus wasn’t perfect though, and that Angela really wanted a super-angel to help kill the bad ones, which seems really dumb. Honestly, isn’t a virus is the better way to wipe out a population? Having people or angels individually kill all of them would take a long time and give the enemy space to work out a response. The angelologists haven’t been able to do it, so what makes you think good Nephilim would? They don’t have any ‘detect evil’ powers that we’ve been told about. As opposed to a virus, which is much harder to counter without scientists (which the Nephilim don’t have a ton of) and it weakens your opponents.
Anyhow, they talk a bit more about Rasputin’s Book of Flowers/Medicines, and mention a drawing of a Fabergé Egg in it that’s never been referenced before but it’s now plot relevant. Also apparently the book was not made by Rasputin, but his predecessor in Russia’s imperial court Monsieur Philippe, which makes me wonder why the Plot cared about Rasputin in the first place.
The characters discuss that Monsieur Philippe predicted that Empress Alexandra would be pregnant with a boy, and she announced shortly afterward that she was pregnant, but it turned out to be a phantom pregnancy which was awkward all around and Philippe got fired1. Vera suggests that the pregnancy was actually real and that the child was delivered in secret, and that the child in question is in fact, Lucien as an egg (which sounds painful, laying an egg).
Valko’s still not sure why Lucien was conceived at that point specifically, and Vera, not being an idiot in this one scene, says that obviously Philippe had a way to contact angels. You’d think this wouldn’t be rocket science, considering the book he owned actually has angelic language written in it, but evidentially no one else thought of this.
The others stared at her, unsure of what to make of such a theory.
…what alternatives do you have? It makes sense; the journal has angelic language, and an angel was very clearly involved. This shouldn’t be something revolutionary to a group that deals with this kind of thing on a daily basis. It’s as if a bunch of aurors from the Ministry of Magic were trying to solve a murder case, and none of them thought to say, “Maybe a wizard did it!”
Vera decides to go even further than that, and says (with no actual evidence other than a “maybe?”) that Lucien’s father is probably the Archangel Saint Gabriel, and suggests that it’s likely both Saint John the Baptist and Jesus were also sired by him.
I’m not kidding.
“Consider this: The Watchers were not the only angels who consorted with human women. I believe that the Annunciation of Gabriel should more accurately be called the Consummation of Gabriel, that Mary’s famous union with Gabriel was neither the first nor the last instance of human intercourse with a member of the Heavenly Host.
“You can’t be serious,” Sveti said.
“She’s serious,” Azov whispered. “Hear her out.”
“For the past years, I have been documenting historical representations of angelology and the virgin birth—and Luke’s narration of the annunciation in particular—to discover if there is any truth to theories that Jesus could have been the result of a sexual encounter between the virgin and the Archangel Gabriel. Mind you, this isn’t an entirely new idea. The controversy surrounding the annunciation was once a debate that occupied theoretical angelologists for centuries. One camp believed the birth of Jesus to be accurately depicted by Luke: Jesus was the product of the Holy Spirit descending upon Mary, God’s son, a scenario that placed Gabriel in the position of messenger, the traditional role of angels in Scripture. The other camp believed that Mary had been seduced by Gabriel, who had also seduced her cousin Elizabeth before her, and that the children both women conceived—John the Baptist and Jesus—were the first in a lineage of what would have become a race of superior creatures: moral, divine angels whose presence would have been a tonic to the evil of the Nephilim. Of course, neither John the Baptist nor Jesus had children. Their lines died with them.
Alright, it will take me a while to deconstruct this. But let’s start with—
And now a
Remember back in Chapter 13 when I asked if my juice was spiked? Yeah, this is another one of those moments. I told you when I started to realize when the book sucked (my first time reading Chapter 28); now is when I began to realize exactly the depths of its suckiness. There are so many things wrong with this idea that I need to make another list. The obvious problem I have here is the blasphemy and insult to my religion, but we’re not here to talk what I believe or why this is offensive to me. We’re here to criticize bad literature. And no matter how you slice it, this entire schtick doesn’t make a lick of sense. Because:
ONE: the Watchers were thrown out of the angelic hierarchy for having kids with humans and teaching forbidden knowledge. If Gabriel was apparently the type to go around having sex with human women, wouldn’t he get thrown out of Heaven too? Does God not notice that sort of thing? Or are we supposed to presume that God approves of Gabriel’s affairs? Because that would imply that Gabriel being summoned to have sex with the empress of Russia in the early twentieth century is something God approves of, and I don’t understand how that would work or why. Why could Gabriel seduce women, but Semyaza and Azazel can’t?
TWO: We’re told time and time again that angelic beings fit certain descriptions: tall, blond, absurdly handsome, pale, with wings and blue blood. If we’re assuming that the stories of Jesus and John the Baptist in the Bible and apocryphal/non-canon gospels have some shred of truth to them, then why did none of them mention any of these traits completely unusual for men born in the Middle East in the first century? That’s sure to have made it into accounts of their lives. We’ve seen Evangeline isn’t particularly tall or blonde, true, but she is pale and she does have wings and blue blood, so we can assume those are common traits. Since both Saint John the Baptist and Jesus are traditionally accepted to have been publically and brutally executed, then why did no one chronicling the executions mention this? You’d think that in the days of the Roman Empire, a man with wings and blue blood being crucified or decapitated would be mentioned at some point. Especially in crucifixion, where the victim would have been spread out without clothes and nailed to a cross. You might argue that the accounts we have weren’t written until afterward, and so the story got distorted, but leaving out these incredible details doesn’t make sense; over time, these alien traits would be the parts that would be kept in and exaggerated, not left out entirely.2
THREE: Why on Earth and in Heaven should Gabriel want to create a new race of angels? Didn’t the last time human/angel hybrids were created, they went downhill fast? What the deuce would make one think that it was a good idea to make more?
FOUR: Alright, if Gabriel or God or someone wanted to create a militant race of angels to fight against the Nephilim, why start in Israel? Why not Rome? Germany? China? Anywhere else? In Christianity there’s a particular reason why everything happens where it does, but if we’re throwing that out the window, why on Earth should Gabriel pick Elizabeth, who by all accounts was pretty old at the time and the wife of a priest, and Mary, the betrothed of a carpenter, to carry it out? Wouldn’t it make more sense to pick a soldier’s family or something? Vera indicates it didn’t work out, which raise a bunch of other questions that don’t get answered. If Jesus and John were Nephilim brothers, why didn’t they start a new war with their evil counterparts? Why did they pursue lives of peace, celibacy and religiousness instead?
FIVE: Why didn’t Gabriel try again between Jesus and Lucien? And if he did, why did he fail so badly? Because the Nephilim are still doing their thing. Or is he just coming up with an excuse to bone as many women as possible?
SIX: What evidence is there that Gabriel is Lucien’s father? We don’t even have a photo of Saint Gabriel the Archangel to compare to Lucien, but Vera says it must be because maybe Gabriel is also the father of Jesus and John the Baptist. This assertion hinges on the guess that Gabriel had sex with Elizabeth and Mary, and that Gabriel is always the angel one summoned if one wanted to bone an archangel. Even if Gabriel is Jesus’s father, it doesn’t prove jack. If the works of actual theologians means anything in this universe, there are millions of angels in Heaven, and possibly a good amount in Hell too. It could be any one of them.
And finally, SEVEN: If the Heavenly Host, or Saint Gabriel, or God or someone is soooooooo invested in seeing an end to the Nephilim on Earth, why in Heaven’s name don’t they just flutter down here and take them out? The last book indicated that the archangels had battled Nephilim before (it goes so far as to claim the event that inspired The Song of Roland was actually a skirmish between archangels and Nephilim, which makes no sense). And everyone acts as if all of the Old Testament and apocryphal books are true historical accounts. Why not just march down and take them out? From what we saw of last book, where an archangel actually appears, it can kill evil Nephilim better than Yana’s “Gibborish charm.” There’s no indication that this is a “humans must work it out for themselves” situation, which is how it kind of works in Dresden Files, and no one in the story says anything of the sort. So why not?
“There are people in these parts who would burn us at the stake for making such claims,” Sveti said.
Yeah, like me! Because this entire thing is idiotic! There’s no proof, only random speculation that is meant more to shock Trussoni’s readers than to examine any evidence. I can claim that because I have Corsican ancestors that I’m actually descended from a bastard child of the Bonaparte family, but that doesn’t make it true.
Vera makes some statement about Lucien’s angelic and Nephilistic lineage equating “Lucien is descended from the exalted and the damned” and then adds that since Angela Valko is the daughter of Percival Grigori, it’s a “truly unholy cocktail.”
“Enough,” Valko said, his voice steely. “You’re speaking about my daughter’s work, all that she lived and died for. I won’t let you trifle with her legacy.”
Angela Valko’s work was eugenics, twatwaffle! Your daughter’s legacy is that she was a eugenicist attempting to wipe out and replace a genetic population! Don’t try to sugarcoat and handwave it with “it was her life’s work” or it was for the greater good. She was trying to breed a race of beings to fight and kill their corrupt counterparts. That’s a horrid and twisted goal, man.
[Random side note: Valko talks about how brilliant it was for his step-daughter Angela to have seduced Lucien to produce an angelic child. Azov points out that he said Angela and Lucien were actually in love, to which he replies “That was an unintended consequence.” Meaning Angela originally just saw Lucien, an angel with little interactions among humans and the outside world, described in childlike terms of innocence, as a means to producing her weaponized angel baby. Why am I not supposed to be cheering that she’s dead?]
And there’s no mistake that Evangeline was meant to be a weapon. “The ultimate weapon” claims Valko, by virtue that she was an angelic being to be twisted to her own purpose of destruction and violence against the enemy. Well, not worded like that, but basically. Angela apparently decided that “the power of an angel must be measured against the power of another angel” which again makes me wonder why they didn’t just call down archangels to fight off the Nephilim. It can be done, as the last book proved.
She knew that false creation—the genetic modeling of automatons, golems, clones, or any such engineered animate being—would not work, as it went against the divine hierarchy of beings. Angela also knew that in order to defeat a creature of human and angelic origin—a monster of the heavenly order—she must create another, more powerful creature. And so she attempted to engineer a new species of angel, one that was stronger than the first.”
Are golems things that exist in this universe? ‘Cause I’d rather be reading about that. Oh right, the actual Plot….
If Angela was so sure that it had to be angel vs. angel (which is bullshit), why the bloody helicopter did she make a super-virus? That seems to fit under ‘engineered’ and she totally made it.
There is honestly a ton of evidence in this book that Angela Valko was a delusional asshole. She has these convictions that have no evidence or facts backing them up and constantly claims moral superiority or that her work was making her closer to God, even when it involved eugenics and genocide. There is no basis for her “angels must fight angels” mentality, and the characters offer no reason why she’d gotten that impression. Furthermore, she didn’t clue in anyone on this, as all of these high-ranking angelologists are only hearing about her research and projects for the first time now in 2010 when Angela Valko did most of this in the 1970’s and 80’s.
Valko backtracks and says that Evangeline wasn’t meant to be a weapon, precisely, despite having explicitly said so not even a page ago. No, she was meant to be the new Eve of angels! Get it? Evangeline? Eve angel? It’s stupid, I know.
Angela was convinced Evangeline was a failure, so she went back to Russia to have sex with Lucien again. The baby conceived did have wings and was a boy, but Angela was killed while pregnant so that kid never had a chance. Valko assures us that child would have been a warrior that would have saved the world, but never got the chance. Although if Jesus was a Nephilim, I think there’s a good chance the kid would reject Angela’s manipulations and become a pacifist religious leader. I’d read a story about that.
Anyhow, Lucien was imprisoned in Siberia in the angelologist prison, the panopticon. Vera notes that it’s an urban legend among angelologists, which doesn’t match up with what we’ve seen. Bruno didn’t seem to act like it was new info, so I assumed that all angelologists knew about it. But Trussoni’s Plot has more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese, so there ya go.
Sveti asks how anyone could lock up Lucien if he wasn’t a bad angel, and Valko admits that he’s “not sure the guards would have known the difference” between good and bad angels. No shit, Sherlock, Bruno admits that he instinctively wanted to murderize Evangeline the second he saw she had wings. The exact quote from Chapter 9?
He’d repressed an instinctual desire to destroy her.
Angelologists probably can’t go to a Buffalo Wild Wings without turning homicidal.
And then Valko drops the bomb that Merlin Godwin runs the panopticon, the angelologist prison. Vera is like, “What the hell? He’s a traitor!” and Valko admits “Godwin has been in the Grigoris’ pockets since the beginning.” So why the eff is he in charge of the angelologist prison? You guys will love this.
Keeping him in Siberia is a form of containment: He is a permanent resident of the panopticon…his power lies only within the walls of the prison. His work with the Grigoris is something he has somehow managed to maintain, apparently, although I have no idea how.”
In my notes in the book, I wrote: “That’s dumb as shit and you know it.”
Yes, the angelologists thought that if they made sure he could never leave the prison, Godwin would be under control. They didn’t revoke his privileges; oh no, those chuck muffins put him in charge of the place! And now they’re surprised that the known traitor has found a way to contact your enemies! And weirdly, Valko knows about Godwin’s current machinations, implying others in the society know about his treachery-in-progress too, but none of them have seen fit to march down there and make him stop!
Shit, Arkham Asylum has crappy security, but I’ve never seen a Batman story where Gotham’s mayor puts Joker in charge of the place! That’s pretty much what the angelologists have done! How the fudge did they think it would turn out? If a guy betrays your organization, you don’t just let him carry on his duties! You kick him to the curb! Which in secret society terms generally means you leave him in a ditch, because he’s too dangerous.
Anyway Valko suspects that Godwin is trying to create a super-race of Nephilim too, only to help the Grigoris and the evil Nephilim instead of opposing them. That may have been what he was doing with Lucien, and what he’s doing with Evangeline now. Valko again says that he freed Lucien, which makes Vera ask “He’s here?” and that makes no God damn sense because Valko said that at the end of Chapter 28! Were you not paying attention? It was the closing line!
There’s also a bit where they mention the excavation of what is supposed to be John the Baptist’s body at St. Ivan, which I mentioned in Chapter 19. And the angelologists discuss over whether genetic testing would work, but if John the Baptist was a Nephil in this universe, wouldn’t the body have wings?! At the very least it’d have a physiology that’d be plainly different than an ordinary human’s. This isn’t rocket science, guys.
Somehow the characters remember the Plot with the recipe in the Book of Medicines, and Valko mentions that he had a couple of seeds of one of the ingredients, silphium, and traded one to Godwin for Lucien’s freedom. Azov is furious that he would do that, because for all he cares the innocent angel can rot in hell I guess.
They then decide to go find Lucien, as his blood is an ingredient in the Nephilim poison they’re vaguely trying to make, and Valko explains that he used to live with him there in that house, but now he stays in the Devil’s Throat cavern with the Watchers, the fallen angels who originally fathered the Nephilim thousands of years ago.
Perhaps it is the proximity of his fellow angels, but he finds comfort there, close to the Watchers. There is something in his soul that finds peace in this circle of hell.”
Okay. So we have an angelic being, and instead of keeping him somewhere safe… you’re letting him stay near an angel prison? Isn’t that unwise? Isn’t taking an angel and letting him hang out with a bunch of fallen angels who can tell him who knows what a bit risky? That’s dangerous. That’s like dropping your kid off at Arkham for Sunday School.
The Watchers were locked up by the orders of GOD. I’d assume the Big Man Upstairs had a damn good reason for locking up those angels. I understand the angelologists looking for the site and studying it for a bit, but leaving an ally down there to live? That sounds very unwise. You don’t know what they’re telling him, or if they’re trying to get him to do something stupid, like, say, freeing them, which might be in Lucien’s power to do.
And that’s where the chapter ends! We crawl ever closer to finishing this monstrosity of a novel, and so ends this part of the book. The next part is titled “The Seventh Circle: VIOLENCE.” Maybe next time one of these stupid characters will get killed?
1 Alexandra’s phantom pregnancy is actually a piece of real-life history.
2 At some point Ridley Scott came out and said that in the universe of Alien Jesus was an Engineer , which of course doesn’t work for much the same reasons: why did none of the gospels mention him being super tall and white as marble?