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<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">SHADES OF DESPAIR There were omens from the beginning. First off, I didn't want to do a job at the Mission Inn. Anywhere in the country, I would have been willing, but not the Mission Inn. And in the bridal suite, that very room, my room. Bad luck and beyond, I thought to myself. Of course my boss, The Right Man, had no way of knowing when he gave me this assignment that the Mission Inn was where I went when I didn't want to be Lucky the Fox, when I didn't want to be his assassin. The Mission Inn was part of that very small world in which I wore no disguise. I was simply me when I went there, six foot four, short blond hair, gray eyes--a person who looked like so many other people that he didn't look like any special person at all. I didn't even bother to wear braces to disguise my voice when I went there. I didn't even bother with the de rigueur sunglasses that shielded my identity in every other place, except the apartment and neighborhood where I lived. I was just who I am when I went there, though who I am was nobody except the man who wore all those elaborate disguises when he did what he was told to do by The Right Man. So the Mission Inn was mine, cipher that I was, and so was the bridal suite, called the Amistad Suite, under the dome. And now I was being told to systematically pollute it. Not for anyone else but myself, of course. I would never have done anything to harm the Mission Inn. A giant confection and confabulation of a building in Riverside, California, it was where I often took refuge, an extravagant and engulfing place sprawling over two city blocks, and where I could pretend, for a day or two or three, that I wasn't wanted by the FBI, Interpol, or The Right Man, a place where I could lose myself and my conscience. Europe had long ago become unsafe for me, due to the increased security at every checkpoint, and the fact that the law enforcement agencies that dreamed of trapping me had decided I was behind every single unsolved murder they had on the books. If I wanted the atmosphere I'd loved so much in Siena or Assisi, or Vienna or Prague and all the other places I could no longer visit, I sought out the Mission Inn. It couldn't be all those places, no. Yet it gave me a unique haven and sent me back out into my sterile world a renewed spirit. It wasn't the only place where I wasn't anybody at all, but it was the best place, and the place to which I went the most. The Mission Inn was not far from where I "lived," if one could call it that. And I went there on impulse generally, and at any time that they could give me my suite. I liked the other rooms all right, especially the Inn keeper's Suite, but I was patient in waiting for the Amistad. And sometimes they called me on one of the many special cell phones I carried, to let me know the suite could be mine. Sometimes I stayed as long as a week in the Mission Inn. I'd bring my lute with me, and maybe play it a little. And I always had a stack of books to read, almost always history, books on medieval times or the Dark Ages, or the Renaissance, or Ancient Rome. I'd read for hours in the Amistad, feeling uncommonly safe and secure. There were special places I went from the Inn. Often, undisguised, I drove over to nearby Costa Mesa to hear the Pacific Symphony. I liked it, the contrast, moving from the stucco arches and rusted bells of the Inn to the immense Plexiglas miracle of the Segerstrom Concert Hall, with the pretty Cafe Rouge on the first floor. Behind those high clear undulating windows, the restaurant appeared to float in space. I felt, when I dined in it, that I was indeed floating in space, and in time, detached from all things ugly and evil, and sweetly alone. I had just recently heard Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in that concert hall. Loved it. Loved the pounding madness of it. It had brought back a memory of the very first time I'd ever Excerpted from Angel Time by Anne Rice All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
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Library Journal Review
In Rice's latest, an assassin meets an angel who puts him to work for God. Although "Lucky the Fox" has always justified his contract killing by letting himself believe he was really working for the proverbial "good guys," the seraph takes Lucky back to the 1200s and gives him the task of preventing a pogrom against Jews accused of ritually murdering Christian children. Readers of Rice's "Vampire Chronicles" and "Mayfair Witch" sagas develop a deep connection with protagonists Lestat and Rowan Mayfair, but it is hard to relate to Lucky. However, the novel is more fluid and action-oriented than Rice's recent trilogy about Jesus. At the heart of this odd mix of metaphysical thriller and historical novel is one man's rediscovery of his religious beliefs. Verdict While smoothly written and full of Rice's noted descriptive detail, this title may disappoint fans of her wildly popular series about vampires and witches, while Christian readers who know Rice only as a paranormal writer will probably avoid it unless they have read her Jesus novels. Finding the proper audience may prove to be the hardest battle for this intriguing book. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/09; with a 250,000-copy first printing.]-Amanda Scott, Cambridge Springs P.L., PA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.