If you love a little bit of mystery along with some high intrigue, a family saga and a touch of the devil, then this book is for you! This one left me speechless, but I was engrossed in every second of it.
A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.
In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.
As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.
And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.
Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?
Explicit Content Warning: “The Devil’s Prayer” is a historical horror thriller that contains brutality, rape, sex, drug abuse and murder. Readers may find its content offensive and confronting.
Currently living on the beautiful Gold Coast in Australia.
I have recently released my first ebook called ‘The Devil’s Prayer’ on amazon, ibooks, googleplay and kobo. It is a historical supernatural horror thriller.
Book – The Devil’s Prayer
Author – Luke Gracias
Star rating – ★★★★★
No. of Pages – 294
Cover – Spooky!
POV – 3rd person, and 1st person diary entries
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – Horror, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Diary, Revenge, Religious, Devil
WARNINGS: Murder, violence, suicide, rape, self-flagellation
** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **
Wow! The first thing I have to say is: please bear with me because I’m a bit speechless after literally just finishing this book.
I have always been a major historical nerd. From true history, conspiracies, myths and legends, I love everything about the mesh holding history and religion together. I’ve studied ancient lands, secret societies and read about them numerous times in both fiction and non-fiction. Nothing packed a punch like this one.
If you’re looking for a mystery, then this is the one you want. Forget Dan Brown. He can read this and eat his heart out, because THIS is the one you want to read.
Intrigue, murder, a little gore, betrayal, revenge, religion, the Devil and so much more. But, it doesn’t feel over-saturated. In fact, this story folds together seemlessly, weaving the tales of Amalric, Denise, Siobhan and Zachary together into one tangled web of trickery, deceit and danger that had be hooked right from the get go.
Right from the Prologue, I was engrossed in the story. That never wavered once, as we were introduced to each character as and when it became appropriate. The writing was equal parts direct, dramatic and yet effective in portraying the immediacy, the intrigue and the path leading from one mystery to another.
And can I just say a huge “Thank you!” to the author. It’s one of the rare times that I’ve come across a book that uses a lot of foreign text/language and actually offers translations, without expecting me to be an expert linguist.
In terms of presentation – A+. I mean, from the cleverly placed and contained font variations, used for reasons that mean we recognise what we’re about to read – diary entry, note, foreign term, landmark – based on the font used. The chapter headings and the use of diary entries that are so clearly marked out for me, meant that I never once got lost in time or place. I never had to turn back and double check what year/time I was reading or who I was reading about. It was all so perfectly clear, without having to spell it out.
The attention to detail within the historical research and the respect and sympathetic approach to the more mythological and creative license aspects of the novel were incredible. As a history buff, I’m often infuriated by those who come up with implausible theories or conjectures for what “might have” or “could have” happened. Nothing in this book felt false, fabricated or even that far out of the stretch of reality. Everything was rooted in fact, science, religion and history, so much so that I quickly lost track of what was read and what wasn’t. I didn’t care, because it all felt real. It all felt as though every single thing in this book had really happened and I was just another version of Siobhan, reading it in a copy of someone else’s Confessions.
At first, I was engrossed with the mystery of it all, then the story of Siobhan’s search. It was all so captivating and had endless possibilities for what might happen next. Then she began reading the Confessions and I became completely spellbound by Denise’s story, which had the biggest emotional impact on me. The idea of a <spoiler> quadraplegic committing mass murder at night <spoiler> is not only brilliant, but the perfect alibi and revenge.
When it comes to characterisation, I feel like I personally knew Denise, Siobhan and even the Devil, for a short time. I was so enthralled by this world I had been led into by the hand that I didn’t want to let go. I had learned to love and feel protective over Denise, who had suffered so much in her life, but always fought against the injustices of the world to keep her daughter safe. I actually think I bonded more with Denise than anyone else in the story, sympathizing, feeling each emotion she felt, and searching for the same answers she sought. I learned to appreciate the subtle strength in Siobhan, to read this information about her own mother and doubt it, then begin to trust it and rediscover a piece of herself within the story. And the Devil – well, he was a refreshing take on the concept of the Prince of Darkness. Neither too benevolent or too horrific, he was simply a man with a means to an end, exploiting whatever opportunity came along, creating a few of his own, and finally getting what he wanted. As he always knew he would. The instincts and the affection that he showed within certain elements of the plot were surprisingly captivating.
Overall, this was an incredible foray into binding historical mystery with a modern day twist. While leaving me wanting more, there wasn’t one thing about this story or the writing that I didn’t love to pieces. There was action, adventure and a whole lot of mystery. And, what I really loved out of all of it, was the focus on the mother/daughter relationship that ebbed and flowed as Siobhan read her mother’s Confessions, learning who her mother really was, what she’d done in her life and how all of it had been done to protect the daughter she loved more than life itself.
If there is a next book – and I seriously hope there is, after that ending – then I will be first in line to get my grabby hands on it. I can’t wait to discover a little more about Jess, the enigma, and see what kind of adventure lies before Siobhan, now that she’s learned all she needs to know to get started.
To be honest, there’s probably a whole lot more I wanted to say about this, but I’m still processing, still grieving for the end and readjusting to my plain, boring life, that I don’t think I would ever be able to find the words to express it.
With plenty of intrigue, murder and mayhem, love and loss within these pages, I’ll be eagerly awaiting a time when I can come back, feeling like it’s the first time all over again, to immerse myself in the world between the covers one more time. I don’t doubt that each read will show me something new that I never noticed before.
“Like most people, I prayed the hardest in my time of need. My prayers were head by the Devil.”
“I felt a part of my life was robbed from me. Forgiveness was not an option. The time had come for the blood-letting to start.”
“Strangely, with one murder and abduction, the only thing that I felt guilty about was the petrol I hadn’t paid for.”
“My romantic soul had died months ago, but tonight I laid it to rest.”
“Religion is like a knife: in the hands of a surgeon, it heals, but in the hands of a murderer, it kills.”