Title: A Time to Rise
Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: NineStar Press
Pages/Word Count: 319 Pages
At a Glance: A well-paced and exciting story that grabbed my attention and didn’t let it go.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.
Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand firm against monsters from the dark depths. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil.
But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenberg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.
Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cris struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cris collides with Alain, and both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican…and of the world.
A Time to Rise contains adult content suitable for mature readers only.
Review: What do you get when you take history, paranormal, religion and romance elements and tie them together in a plot? In this case—a masterpiece.
I knew from the prologue I was in for something different, and ended up captivated from the beginning. That feeling remained until the last page. We have Alain, a hunter of evil paranormal beings, who happens to be a Sergeant in the Swiss Guard stationed at the Vatican. Alain’s duties are secret, and he is seen as just plain weird by those around him. Because of his peculiarities the other Swiss Guard and even priests give him a wide berth, and his only companion in life is his grumpy and crass priest side-kick, Lotario. He is a recluse and isolated and keeps everyone at a distance so he can never experience the soul crushing devastation of losing a loved one again.
Cris enters the book with a chip a mile wide on his shoulder and is fast becoming hated by his fellow halberdiers for completely separate reasons. He is alone and angry and makes himself an outcast from the beginning by his combative behavior. Who better to mentor the outcast who more than likely won’t make it through the first year than the other outcast Alain.
And so it begins.
Though there is a romance between Alain and Cris that builds through this book, the focus isn’t entirely on their romance. I would say it is split equally with the paranormal and religious aspects. It worked for me. The way the Knights Templar’s history overlaps with the Catholic religion’s, specifically the Vatican’s own history, along with the paranormal elements is something I haven’t seen, and I enjoyed every moment of watching it unfold. The way the religious leaders within the Vatican walls interacted with the halberdiers and the chain of command within the Vatican was very interesting. The attention to detail made me feel like I was right there in Rome, seeing the beauty as well as the darkness it masked with the Vatican’s secrets buried deep within.
The evil that lurks in the tunnels and shadows of Rome isn’t anything pretty, and the author made sure we read every gruesome detail. There is gore, and quite a lot of it, written so well that the reader sees every single injury. The fights and murders stayed with me as I closed my eyes. This book is not for the faint of heart. This is not a sweet romance with a mystery plot. It is a dark book, with dark elements, and both Cris and Alain are not the sweet kind of characters—because they can’t be with what they have been through.
As I said the romance isn’t the only focal point, though it evolves as the plot continues and is nicely paced. Not insta-love but instead, attraction which grows to more over time. The paranormal plot and mystery keeps things moving slowly for Alain and Cris, who each hold back for their own reasons. If you are a person that requires a lot of sex and the MCs to be on page together, you will not get it in this book. There is evil afoot and they each have their responsibilities.
The author crafts an excellent story where the characters are fleshed out and had distinct voices through the book. I absolutely loved Lotario. He was a conundrum and when he was on page, I was just waiting to see what he would do or say next. The mystery is crafted well, with plenty of twists and turns and several minor side plots that kept me intrigued and made it difficult to put the book down to do little things like eat and sleep.
This was my first book by this author, but I can say without a doubt it will not be my last.
You can buy A Time to Rise here: