A first novel.
"The Succubus was newly born, nurtured by the loving care of a horned prince from the pummeled soul of a camp-following whore (who had, in fleshy life, serviced one of Napoleon's best officers). With skilled hand and eye, like a master jeweler, he fashioned his child from this twisted spirit, purifying and distilling her ... burning and sculpting this ghost of a once human thing into a crimson-skinned siren--her form holding the secret fire of cinnabar and the muted light of a November sunset."
According to Michael Marano, there are two great powers in the depths of Hell. Belial, the Unbowed One, is the horned prince who treasures beauty--the beauty of individual human souls, the beauty of a future when all is "despair and the terror of the omnipresent sublime." Leviathan, the Enfolded One, is an enormous armored worm, a blind idiot whose only purpose is the perpetuation of ugliness--the banality of evil, human souls entrapped in a gross, undifferentiated mass. The battle between these two comes to a head in Boston, at the end of 1990, the dawn of the Gulf War. The combatants are a newborn succubus and a handful of benighted human beings. The backdrop is the darkness of the River Charles, the lavender-gray of the winter sky, and the millions of lonely voices of the city.
Dawn Song is an ambitious first novel, enriched by the author's grad school background in medieval history, alchemy, and the kabbalah. Marano's measured, often lyrical prose uses a host of gritty details to evoke the desperation of a handful of Bostonians--their unique, yet sadly predictable, plights, and their multilayered inner worlds. The complex plot is skillfully woven together around the themes of evil-as-beauty vs. evil-as-ugliness. The book's only flaw is that the ending is rather muddled, but you'll have been treated to so many poignant moments and amazing horrors by the time you get there, you'll hardly mind.
Source: Fiona Webster, Amazon.com.