A tarot reader with a dangerous secret. A priest whose scarred conscience won’t let him sleep. And a fallen angel bent on corrupting them both.
After decades of civil war, the Via Sancta has declared victory over humanity’s basest instincts. Anger, hatred and greed are suppressed by intricate Marks on the skin. Wards tame the wild psychic magic of the ley. The Church’s enemies, the once mighty nihilim, have been driven into the Void.
But even the most perfect of worlds has a shadow side.
Alexei is a priest in the storm-wracked southern capital of Novostopol. He hunts deviants whose Marks have inverted, driving them mad. When a prominent doctor violently turns, Alexei stumbles across a conspiracy at the highest levels of the Via Sancta. The trail leads to Kasia Novak, a cartomancer who is much more than she seems. The cards say their fates are intertwined — if the threads aren’t snapped short.
Now the ley is rising again. A nihilim has infiltrated the city. And Alexei discovers that his faith’s triumph over the darkest recesses of the human soul is more fragile than he imagined.
What is your deepest desire? Money? Power? Revenge? Lust? I’ll give to you.
Malach is many things. Seducer of the pious. Survivor of the Via Sancta’s bloody campaigns. Implacable foe of all it stands for. He’s primal desire made flesh, and the thing he wants most is a child. Half-bloods are fragile creatures, but if this one survives, it will be monster, a savior — or both.