The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias
I picked up this book because it promised to be a thriller with a dose of history and religion – a mix I have come to enjoy since I got hooked onto read Dan Brown’s books. It doesn’t disappoint.
The Devil’s Prayer opens with the suicide of Sister Benedictine before thousands of revellers. It is revealed that six years ago she had disappeared from her home to become a nun. News of her suicide reaches her family in Australia. Her daughters, Siobhan and Jess, and her mother Edith are devastated. 23-year-old Siobhan is most affected. In search of closure she decides to go to the monastery in Spain where her mum Denise had lived as Sister Benedectine.
She is surprised at the less than hospitable welcome she receives. Despite being advised to go back she stays long enough to find her mum’s confession. As she starts reading it she is intrigued and then shocked. Even as she is going through the confession she realises that she is being followed by some extremist monks. With no clue what the monks want from her Siobhan makes her roller-coaster way across Europe to reach the sanctuary of home.
At the end of the confession her mum entrusts Siobhan with a task which, if not completed, could destroy the world.
What I liked
It is hard to categorise this book. All I will say is that it is an interesting melange of history and religion with some super natural element thrown in for good measure. There is also a revenge saga that forms a large part of the story.
It is most definitely a fast paced thriller and keeps you at hooked. There is enough intrigue and plenty of twists and turns through the narrative to keep you turning the pages. As you follow Denise’s confession along with Siobhan you are by turns surprised, saddened and shocked. Without adding spoilers all I’ll say is that Denise’s desperation and her unhappy compromise were well written. Finally the deal she strikes and the deception come as a surprise.
I loved the way the plot integrated the super-natural into Denise’s story.
What I didn’t like
The violence in the book is brutal and gory. I couldn’t read through some of it and ended up skipping the worst parts. Also, the religious explanations get complicated at places and I lost the plot in bits.
I found some of the characters very stereotypical but they were side characters so one could let them be.
Then there’s the supernatural element which might not cut water with many readers. Some of it is improbable and requires you to stretch your imagination but then that’s what the super-natural is supposed to do. Personally, I liked it.
The worst thing about the book, however, was that it ended just at the most compelling part. There simply HAS to be a sequel.
My verdict: Go for it.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from Writers Melon in return for an honest and unbiased review.