I got to know Anne Rice through a long email interview with her for the St Austin Review. She was very friendly, and spoke at length about her return to the Catholic faith of her childhood. I first began to read her Christ the Lord series of books, and after our correspondence she kindly sent me Called out of Darkness –her memoir and ‘reversion’ story.

Now she has sent me he latest novel, Angel Time. It’s an enjoyable read. The main character, Toby O’Dare is a solitary person–a lost soul, hardened by suffering who has fallen into a profitable profession–he’s an assassin. When a guardian seraphim enters his life he is given the chance to time travel and redeem himself by saving the lives of others. I won’t give away the plot, but the story is written in Anne’s usual sensual, yet crystal clear style of writing. Once again she has researched the time periods she works with and moves effortlessly from modern day America to England in the Middle Ages.

Here’s a fantasy novel by one of the best Christian writers on the scene today. Like Dean Koontz (also a Catholic) Anne Rice writes marketable fiction with strong spiritual themes and a powerful sense of the supernatural pulse running beneath the observable world. Catholic commentators sometimes speak of the dearth of Catholic culture today, but along with Koontz and Rice, Pat Conroy is another contemporary Catholic writer doing good stuff in the mainstream.

My only problem with Angel Time is that with the jump in time there really seem to be two stories here. I was just getting interested in Toby O’Dare’s downtime life in decadent and amoral modern America when I was thrown into another time and place. Once I got used to the jump I enjoyed the story. I was moved by Toby O’Dare’s growth towards redemption, and would recommend Angel Time highly.