This was my first Anne Rice book. I never read all her vampire stuff because they just seemed too creepy for me so I really had no idea what to expect with this book. Apparently lately she has been writing religion-based novels, first a series about Christ and now this one which is the first in her "Songs of a Seraphim" series.
Toby O'Dare is a professional assassin and has been for 10 years. Despite being assured that he is on the side of the "good guys", O'Dare feels that he has lost his soul when an angel appears and offers him a chance to gain back his soul by going to the 13th century to save a persecuted group of people, Jews living in England.
I enjoyed the book but felt that I was misled by the blurb on the book jacket which talked about about ritual murders and children disappearing. The first half of the book was about Toby and his past, including his family's difficult history. The second half was about the Jews in England but it focused solely on one family and their story. It's not an action-packed and exciting book but much more reflective and introspective than I was expecting. It was really more of a personal journey for Toby. I did like the story and felt that it was quite clean except for the violence of the assassinations. Some aspects of Toby's youth was disturbing, the physical abuse and what happens to his mother and siblings is awful but it is done without much profanity. I thought that Toby's redemption found in the second half dragged a bit at times but had a lot of worthwhile moments as well. Rated PG-13 for the violence.