by Gregory Bellarmine
Italy. A tough master of novices, Father Dante encounters the bold young priest Antonio who challenges his identity and accuses him of being the Saint Nicholas. But despite the Father faking his death, a determined Antonio discovers a rather alive Dante arrayed in kilt and armor.
In return for Antonio’s silence—and to protect the town from attracting all manner of darkness—Dante agrees to tell his life story. Without explanation, Dante orders Antonio to meet him at night in the abandoned Cathedral, the site of a former battle that the Church has kept secret for a generation.
The Criskindl. Ice Steeds. The Unborn. Saint.
From the Dark Ages’ when Poet-Sorcerers ruled kings, to the Holy Land when a new civilization was rising, to Revolutionary France where love is lost and gained, Father Dante pursues the one responsible for both his master and his mother’s deaths: Black Peter, his brother.
I stood up and snarled. "All this for a romp?"
Catherine walloped a blurring slap across my face. Though lights danced in my periphery, I fiddled with my jaw to click it back into place.
"My flesh is pure, Nicholas. Is yours?"
She spun on her heel and wheeled towards the night-dark palace. Wrath trailed her like her billowing fur, an anger punctuated by images that flashed into my mind. One vision showed Catherine as a girl: enraptured, she listened to stories of a man of powerful purpose; another had her beat an armored opponent twice her age in straight-sword combat, but her thoughts always wandered to a future where some day she would find me.
A wind billowed my vestment. "Befana gave me a wife? Why?"
Once the darkness had consumed my Catherine, a dread poisoned my heart. I ran after her, and the second I took my first stride, I partially understood why Befana had sent her. I was alone.
A giddiness filled me, only for a terrible fear to steal into my soul. What had I done?
I headed for the balcony and midway up the stone steps, she paused in a half turn, her lips parted just so. I took a deep savoring breath.
Gregory Bellarmine is the author of the bestselling Monthly Roman Breviary. He lives a happy though sometimes sleepless life in the UK with his wife, two children and rather cheeky Parson Russell Terrier.
“The Blood That Cries in the Ground will grab the reader by the throat with a death grip from which it is impossible to break free.” -Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite - Read the full review HERE