The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias
The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias is rated as historical/horror fiction. I had a bit of a problem putting it into a specific category.
First, I’d like to thank NetGalley, the publisher, and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Twenty-three year old Siobhan Russo, and her seventeen-year old sister Jess, lost their mother six years ago. Denise Russo went out the door and never returned. When Siobhan recognizes her mother as the nun who committed suicide by hanging herself from a bell tower, in front of thousands in Spain, she has many questions. At the funeral service, Siobhan meets Father Jakub, who knew her mother as Sister Benedictine, and who came to give Siobhan her mother’s bible. Searching for answers, Siobhan boards a plane from Australia and heads to the convent where her mother had been living. There she discovers her mothers’ written confession, where she had recorded the details of her “deal with the devil”. She tells of the brutal rape and betrayal of her friends which ended up leaving Denise paralyzed. To be healed, and to get revenge, Denise makes her deal with the devil, but ended up wagering Siobhan’s soul.
In Siobhan’s search, she learns of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text that, if read by the wrong person, can unleash apocalyptic mayhem on the world. The pages are in the back of her mothers confession. Unfortunately her mother had enemies, and they know Siobhan is in possession of those pages. Extremist monks are after her, and although Father Jakub says he is helping her, she doesn’t really know who to trust. As she reads more and more of her mothers diary, her disbelief starts to lead to terror. And then there is Jess….
Luke Gracias writes very well, and I really liked the way the story was told, alternating between present-day with Siobhan, and the past being told through her mothers confession. The characters really came to life. The research the author did was extensive, and on his website, he has pictures of many of the places he visited.
One of the things things I did not like was the depth of the history which was related. We went from present day back to 1222. Too many historical dates, people and place names. I understand that some information regarding the origin of the Devil’s Prayer and Bible had to be told, but it was too much….way too much. Part of that may be that I do not normally read historical fiction. As well, there was a lot of detail provided about each town/convent/monastery that Siobhan visited. Again, too much detail. I guess the final problem I had with this book (apparently other than its length), was that it didn’t end. Nowhere was I told that there was going to have to be a sequel, but now there had better be! (the author has since assured me that there will be).
Anyway, without the reasons given in the above paragraph, I would easily have given this book 4 stars, because the story itself and the writing was really good.
p.s. can I complain about the font of the ebook — I had to change it immediately. It was very small and faint. Okay, now I just feel like I’m being picky.
Favorite Quotes from The Devil’s Prayer:
“I see God in every creation, in the staggering beauty of this fragile world.”
“We are not killing the planet. It is our arrogance that makes us believe that we are capable of such destruction. The earth will be here at the end of it all, long after we’re gone. The only thing the human race is destroying is our ability to inhabit it.”
‘For the existence of God and the Devil are intertwined: one does not exist without the other.”
Read: February 2017
About the Author: Luke Gracias is an environmental specialist who has been working part time in the film industry since 2006. An avid photographer, Luke traveled through Europe during the development of the film script for The Devil’s Prayer in 2014 and 2015, documenting a 13th Century conspiracy between the Mongols and the Papal Inquisition on which The Devil’s Prayer is based. This is his debut novel.