Book Review of Angelology by Danielle Trussoni, a Novel Based on the Book of Enoch
Angelology, a novel by Danielle Trussoni, builds an exciting thriller around the Book of Enoch. This ancient text was well known at the time Jesus, is referenced in the Bible, but disappeared from use in the West around the 5th century. Copies of the Book of Enoch turned up in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and this intriguing text has been getting more attention in the past few decades.
A translation of the text of the Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch
The Book of Enoch expands on Genesis 6: 2-4, “The sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves of all whom they chose….There were giants on the Earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them.” Enoch proceeds to tell the story of how a group of angels called the Watchers were entrusted by God to watch over humanity. Instead, they became captivated by the loveliness of human women. 200 Watchers procreated with women, resulting in a powerful and evil race called the Nephilim. Eventually, God sent the flood of Noah to destroy the evil Nephilim, and He imprisoned the offending Watchers for their role.
All of this is great fodder for a novel. Angelology presents a world where the Nephilim have infiltrated human society from the beginning, and effectively guide major historical events. They are capable of passing for human beings, and so keep themselves a secret from everyone except a few human collaborators. The only humans to oppose them are a secret society of “Angelologists.” The Angelologists study their enemy, spy on them, and make every attempt to protect humanity from the agenda of these evil creatures.
Trussoni introduces us to the Nephilim in an early passage in the book. It tells a story of a Nephilim who moves among humans in the guise of a British aristocrat with financial interests in the British East India Company. In retaliation for the Revolt of 1857, this Nephilim calmly organizes the murder of 200 children in an Indian village. This tale characterizes the merciless nature of the Nephilim, and demonstrates their secret integration in human affairs. It was an excellent method for the author to introduce us to her villains. We loathe them immediately.
Angelology’s strengths are an imaginative alternate world, a vivid cast of characters, and plot twists and turns. The book’s great weakness is structure. The novel has two story lines: one set in 1940’s Europe, and one in present day New York. Instead of switching back and forth between the two throughout the novel, the author stays in New York for over a hundred pages before switching abruptly to war torn Europe. We then stay in Europe for over 150 pages, before suddenly leaping back to New York. The European plotline, which involves Nephilim disguised as Nazi officers, is so brooding and atmospheric that returning to New York is a let down. The reader has been gone too long, and not only lost interest in the New Yorkers, but half forgotten them as well. Another sort of structure, integrating the two plotlines in a more fluid manner, would have worked much better. In spite of this flaw, I hope Trussoni writes a sequel.