As someone who likes to study religion, but is not religious themselves, I often find myself drawn to historical fiction that seeks to explore saints, gods, angels and religious wars. This book, The Book of Whispers by Kimberley Starr, seems to be a well researched historical fiction centered around the Crusades but with additional fantastical elements. Or at least, I consider them to be fantastical, because Luca, our main character, can see demons and he and his father carry a secret book with an indecipherable language. And predictably, the demons connect to the seven deadly sins of Christianity.
Luca de Falconi joins a crusade with her father, the Conte, and their journey takes from Tuscany to Anatolia to Jerusalem. Along the way, Luca takes pity on a girl named Suzan, who as luck would have it can read the secret book that he carries. The mixture of the real-to-them demon war and the blood-soaked fighting around them leads to quite an interesting and tangled tale. The morality lessons were a little heavy handed, but overall the book was enjoyable and fast-paced. The setting was strong and the descriptions well crafted. I think overall this was not a perfect fit for me, but it was worth the read.
Note: Thank you to NetGalley and Text Publishing for this book in exchange for an honest review.