Hell keeps growing, because nearly everyone who dies ends up there. Hardly anyone goes to Heaven, because
they are all riven with doubt, in one form or another. God refuses to intervene. Lucifer is seriously annoyed with both God
and the situation. A conference is held. It is decided to send Lucifer to Earth, to see if he can do a better job than God
when he went down as Jesus. Naff idea? Maybe. Recipe for a disastrous book? Possibly. Result: complete failure? Absolutely
not. This is an outstanding novel and I really hope someone picks it up and runs with it, because it really deserves mainstream
I was doubtful when I started, both because of the premise, which I must admit didn’t strike me as
particularly promising, and because of the language in the opening few pages, which is very "earthy" and full of swearing.
OK, Lucifer swearing might be acceptable, but the Archangel Gabriel blaspheming?
Then we get past the set-up and Lucifer is born on earth as a baby, David Brookes, and the rest of the novel
follows his life. Although having only the attributes of a baby at the beginning, the muling and puking stage, Lucifer is
always self-aware and he has the company of Gabriel as a disembodied voice. We follow him through school and subsequently
college while he tries to work out exactly how he is going to improve the prospects of humans getting into Heaven.
All along I am really enjoying this book and getting more and more absorbed into it, but then it takes the
first of its giant, unpredictable leaps which makes it more than just a good read: David, as an adult journalist, gets captured
by South American terrorists/gangsters. This section is so powerfully written, with Lucifer’s isolation so well presented
(God takes Gabriel away because he can’t resist helping Lucifer) that I realised something special was going on here.
Later the book becomes a religious and political thriller, while also being a spy novel and almost a police
procedural while, all the time being a philosophical and theosophical treatise. And it all works. Even when Brookes/Lucifer
is on stage pontificating, the book never feels as if it’s pontificating to you. It’s entertaining you in the
richest of possible ways while simultaneously making you think. How often can you say that?
Even the end, which, of course, isn’t a good one for David Brookes, shows an improvement for the state
of mankind. Maybe not the whole answer, but a start. And then, there’s an epilogue and we have another idea, and what
I really enjoyed The Songs of Angels and I haven’t even mentioned all the great characters like
God himself, David’s wife, Rebecca, the Archangels Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, The US President and all the people
around him, etc., etc. Come on, if there are any mainstream publishers reading these reviews (and if there aren’t, what
are they doing?), pick up this book before I run out of superlatives!