The first half alternates chapters between the extraordinary life of heroine, Mouse, in 13th C Prague (picking up exactly where the previous book left off) and a contemporary, globe-spanning chase thriller involving missing medieval manuscript pages, secret societies, sinister priests, and an epic battle between Good and Evil.
But Carpenter amps up the intrigue with the fact that the contemporary heroine is the same Mouse as the outcast healer, manuscript illuminator and purveyor of dark terrifying powers from the first book.
700 years later, she's perpetually on the move; she shuns personal relationships and never stays in one job long enough for anyone to notice that she never ages.
The first book is all about establishing Mouse's character as she comes to grips with her powers and — finally — discovers their source. This backstory is invaluable as Mouse's personal journey continues here, so read the first book first.
That said, when the second half of the book goes into full-on Da Vinci Code mode, I wasn't quite as interested. Carpenter writes with urgency, but the demonic assaults and near-death resurrections start to feel a little repetitive.
|Page from the real Codex: illuminating|
Btw, the so-named Devil's Bible is an actual book, The Codex Gigas ("giant book" in Latin), a mysterious 13th C manuscript of mammoth size and unknown origin, with glorious illuminations.
Including the disturbing image of the Devil (above) that Carpenter appropriates for her cover. (Feast your orbs here!)
Carpenter's tale-spinning about the origin and creation of this masterpiece is audacious and satisfying.
Sign me up for the final book in the trilogy, The Book of the Just due out in October!