Deep in the Arizona landscape, Roland and Jarret are surrounded by angels — and demons. These beings fight each other, the angels to defend and demons to control their charge. Jarret’s angel, Ellechial is almost powerless to stop Deth-kye, the demon bent on seeing Jarret enter Hell. Neither boy can see the battle raging around them, but they can feel its effects. Jarret, due to lack of faith and few prayers for his soul, most often listens to the diabolical suggestions of Deth-kye. At the beginning of the story, Ellechial has no weapons to defend Jarret, but he offers up constant prayers to Heaven for Jarret’s protection and conversion. Roland’s angel, Nadriel has the power to come and go, carrying messages and news to the other angels, and swords to defend Roland from evil.
The most serious weapons, however, are prayers. Prayers from Caitlyn’s youth group, the Fire Starters allow Ellechial to defend Jarret from the ever-more heinous attacks of Deth-kye and other minions of the devil. The spiritual battles continue as Roland and Jarret travel with their father to his hometown near Tuscon. The Zamoranos, a family that Ignatius West grew up with have asked him to come and visit, and catalog their artifacts. While he and the boys stay at their hacienda, Roland gets interested in finding the thief who has been stealing from the family. Jarret has no interest in helping, only in getting close to the Zamoranos’ daughter, Selena and trying to forget Zoe. Deth-kye uses Jarret’s memories of sin to drive him further from his family and God.
Will Jarret escape the torture of the demons? Much hinges on his twin brother, Keefe, and his newfound religious fervor. Keefe encounters some Franciscans staying with the Brandts, and is drawn to their humble piety and their lifestyle. While he wrestles with his thoughts on holiness, Jarret and Roland’s adventure in Arizona is intertwined with the story of Jarret and his father visiting a monastery in California. Every action that the boys take is part of the drawn-out battle for each of their souls, and the demons are in it to win it. Once again, will Roland manage to save Jarret with some supernatural help? The grand showdown in a lonely canyon will have you on the edge of your seat.
I honestly haven’t read anything this riveting about demons since C.S. Lewis’s famous book, The Screwtape Letters. Major kudos to Linden for a work that is so profound in nature, yet so entertaining. She made me want to re-examine every aspect of my prayer life, especially praying for someone whose guardian angel needs all the help they can get. The angels are so tender, and the demons are so awful that it brings astonishing clarity to the spiritual battle for us all.