Picking up the story of God’s own chosen, the Gifted trilogy that began with The Begotten resumes in Venice of the 1340’s as the group tries to figure out where they need to go next. Forces of darkness in the form of power hungry Lord Abramo Amidei torture innocents in an attempt to track the whereabouts of Lady Daria d’ Angelo, the Gifted’s healer. He plans to capture the Gifted and corrupt them to his purposes by every means at his considerable and inventive disposal with Lady Daria as the key. Lord Amidei is not the only one intent upon using the Gifted to further his cause; Cardinal Boreli sees them as a way of securing a solid powerbase when he becomes Pope. Imprisoning and torturing Lady Daria, Lord Amidei sets his plans in motion as other members of the Gifted are captured and used against her. No “weakness” of the human spirit including love, is beyond his abilities to exploit it to his own ends. Father Piero rises to his calling as the keeper of wisdom and direction for the Gifted as they undertake a valiant rescue attempt against overwhelming odds and a young boy steals a couple of key items from the evil lord that will help chart their future, but only if they remain unshakeable in their faith. Doubt and despair threatens the Gifted as never before and serves as an effective forge to either bring them together or doom them to Amidei’s dominion forever.
Bergren has crafted a richly textured, finely nuanced tale of good and evil that maintains suspense from start to finish. The Gifted group dynamics continue to evolve as they become more confident in their faith-based abilities while facing extremely potent advisories. The doubts they entertain are believable and the mysterious, segmented glass map provides an interesting subplot to this complex story that sends the Gifted straight into harms way.