Part Buffy-the-vampire-slayer, part the UK's "Hex" series, and other recognizable fan/cult themes dealing with a secret world under the skin of the one we knowingly inhabit. Ancient religion of moon worship, female power, and goddesses. For millenia, men have had the upper hand but now women are taking back the world. Secret societies, prophecies, destinies, inherited powers, suspicious or auspicious births and deaths, and the lives of a few ordinary people get caught up in the web of plots and counterplots, deceipt and treachery starting from their time together at a bizarre university. But it is really an accident that these particular people meet one another? Originally written in 1995 some of the shock value seems weak given many other more explicit films, tv, and books on similar themes since then but it is well written and fast paced with some good twists. I will look out for more by this author and wish I'd heard of her back in '95!
I realize that I'm in the minority...but I felt this was overwritten and wordy...and not in a good way. Ugh. Unreadable...author WAY too enchanted with the sound of her own voice. Trying to be super-descriptive and poetic...like classic Anne Rice, and somehow, failing miserably...at least for me.
Rich, textured, depth, realism, emotion.
Despite a few clumsy transitions from description to action here and there, and despite an awkward timesharing between super-magical and super-real, this book is excellent. The characters are vivid, real enough to touch. The historical magic is handled intelligently and with a sense of high drama (if even well-done melodrama turns you off, beware). The book has style and strength. The prose is evocative, richly texturely, deeply involving. The topics range from practical love and human conflict to cultural issues spanning time and country. There's enough romance - of people, of place - to fill your head until you're breathless. I highly recommend it. Highly.
Excellent book for those interested in gothic themes.
This was a great spooky ghost story. REally good!!!
Be seduced, November 7, 2001
Reviewer: Green Melusine "green_melusine" (Columbia, MO United States)
Leaving her protective parents to go away to college, Sweeney Cassidy goes wild. She skips classes, stays out all night, and basically spends her first semester constantly drunk. Into this haze come the ethereal Oliver and the seductive Angelica, who become her best friends, and with both of whom Sweeney falls in love. The only trouble is, the school is controlled by an Illuminati-esque secret society; Angelica is a chosen avatar of a vengeful goddess; and Oliver is marked as her first sacrifice. This situation plays out tragically, and a shaken Sweeney transfers to another school, where she gets her degree and settles into "normal" life. Then, eighteen years later, her college ghosts come back to haunt her, as old friends come out of the woodwork, and Angelica prepares for the final denouement with the secret society. Sweeney is suddenly back in the mysterious world she glimpsed as a teenager.
Mixed in with this hypnotically written story is a political battle between the Matriarchy (represented by Angelica) and the Patriarchy (the secret society); between the Goddess and the world that has ignored her for millennia. One of the best touches of Hand's book is that she doesn't really take sides, except maybe to hint that the fault of both philosophies is the extremes they go to. Even when Sweeney makes her decision at the end, she makes it for personal reasons and not because she agrees with either side. This was the book that got me investigating Goddess mythology several years ago, and it's also a fever-dream of a story, with a sympathetic heroine and a unique style. I've read it a gazillion times.
Katherine Sweeney Cassidy is a new student at the University of the Archangels and St. John the Devine. One evening she learns what she was never supposed to know: the university is controlled by a clandestine order which secretly manipulates governments, countries, churches and institutions of the world since long before the Fall of Rome. Now the time of the cult is over, the Moon Goddess has returned and she wants her world back.
A sexy gothic thriller of good vs. evil that has become a cult classic. VG+
shades of the Da Vinci code .... a secret order of monks contolling the world. now they must do battle with a blood violent cult that dates further back in history.
Mysterious, sensual re-awakening of a dangerous feminine power. Three lives are drawn together and shattered in different ways. I like this one, it kept me up at night.
A gothic fantasy? An espionage thriller? A techno thriller? A romance? A religious intolerance polemic? There's no way to categorize this book, but I highly recommend it!
Like all new students, Katherine Sweeny moves with caution at Washington D.C.'s University of St. John the Divine. It is a strange place of brooding shrines and gleaming towers, guarded by androgynous stone angels. For Kate, college is a time to experiment with sex, to explore new friendships; a time of freedom and discovery--until she makes the wrong discovery.
She learns that the university is controlled by a clandestine order which secretly manipulates governments, countries, and churches all over the world and has done so for centuries.
But there's an even darker secret behind that secret society and it's coming to light . . .
FAntasy thriller. Captivating, hard to put this one down.
Hand's "college novel" and a good one. I was pretty young in the 1970s, but Hand seems to capture the feel of the era pretty well. But the campus portions of the novel are actually the weakest, much better is the late-80s-ish later portions, where her magical young people have grown up into much more plausible middle-agers. Not that there is no magic, a revived goddess cult (a la The White Goddess) is planning on wresting control of our civilization from the boys club of sky-god worshipers, with much attendant blood sacrifice. One of the better novels I've read along these world-historical-conspiracy lines.