The Armies of Heaven by Jane Kindred-A Review and Interview with the Author
THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN (The House of Arkhangel’sk #3) by Jane Kindred
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date June 25, 2013
Full-scale war has broken out in Heaven, and Anazakia must embrace her destiny, leading an army of Virtues into battle against a Host of enemies to restore the House of Arkhangel’sk. Furious with her for putting her trust in the angel who has done them all irreparable harm, Vasily tries to ignore his growing resentment, while Belphagor returns to the world of Man with a cadre of beautiful androgynous Virtues to restore the sundered alliance between the Fallen and the gypsy underground. Without their help in enlisting the terrestrial forces of Grigori and Nephilim, Anazakia’s Virtues are hopelessly outnumbered. But there are more things in Heaven and Earth than any of them have dreamt of, and those they cannot see will mean the difference between victory and losing everything.
REVIEW: THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN is the third installment in Jane Kindred’s The House of Arkhangel’sk series. I cannot stress how highly I recommend you read this particular series in order as the character and world building are intricately detailed throughout the books, layering jeweled information, bitter rivalries and political infighting between the demons, angels and arkangels of Heaven. There is betrayal between friends and family; the powerful and the elite; the slave and master. To which I will also add, no one is safe from the pain, sorrow and heartbreaking death of those they love and hate.
Much of the storyline is a reflection and interpretation of the Russian Revolution and of the Russian Imperial House of Romanov that is applied to the political infrastructure of Heaven’s Royal House of Arkhangel’sk. The storyline vacillates between our heroine Anazakia’s POV and third person as many of the novel’s characters and plotlines occur simultaneously and in various parts of Heaven and the world between Heaven and Earth. Jane Kindred blends the beauty and power of the angel in a world that is embattled in a fight for the right to rule Heaven.
Anazakia is a strong heroine but one who knows sorrow and heartbreaking loss first hand. With her daughter still missing and in the hands of the woman hoping to destroy Heaven and its rulers, Anazakia sets out to command an army of Virtues whose only sin is to be loyal to the rightful Queen. Although strong, Anazakia is also a mother, a sister and a daughter who has lost much more than many and those losses fuel the fires and the burning push to claim what is hers; but finding her daughter may put everyone in jeopardy as those loyal to Anazakia will meet evil and betrayal at every turn. They will risk their lives for the rightful heir and the woman to whom they have pledged their loyalty and their love.
Many of the characters from the previous storylines have integral roles in The Armies of Heaven and at times the betrayer became the betrayee when the ultimate goal was hidden behind a mask of evil and revenge. Trust is an issue that is not gained lightly and in many cases is the ultimate act of betrayal.
The battle for Heaven’s throne is awash in political intrigue and betrayal, torture and mutilation, love and hate. And the overall residing drive for Anazakia is her determination to find her daughter before she is irrevocably lost forever. But a few unexpected revelations will force Anazakia to look more closely at what happened the night her entire life was destroyed and in doing so, will see that not is all is at is seems.
THE ARMIES OF HEAVENS is a fascinating and detailed storyline. Jane Kindred’s world of The House of Arkhangel’sk is a modern and colorful fantasy storyline adaptation blending the contemporary with the past and, the result is an amazing series that should not be passed up. Every nuance and minute detail of the story serves a purpose. Nothing and no one is safe in The House of Arkhangel’sk.
The House of Arkhangel’sk series is not a study in theology but a story that uses the power of Heaven and the angels blending fantasy with the reality of the 20th and 21st century world.
Copy supplied by the publicist.
Reviewed by Sandy
With the release of THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN, The Reading Cafe would like to welcome author JANE KINDRED.
TRC: Hi Jane and welcome to The Reading Café. Congratulations on the release of THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN, your final installment in The House of Arkhangel’sk series.
Jane: Thanks, Sandy, and thanks for having me on the blog today.
TRC: We would like to start with some background information. Would you please tell us something about yourself?
Jane: As my bio says on my website, I grew up as a bookworm and a sci-fi/fantasy nerd in Tucson, Arizona and I currently live in San Francisco with my son, two cats, and an evil cockatiel. I’ve been writing for most of my life (and I’m still a bookworm and a sci-fi/fantasy nerd).
TRC: The House of Arkhangel’sk series centers in and around Russia and has a very detailed theologian premise. What was the deciding factor to use such a mixture of characters, supernatural beings and anchor it all with the reality of war-torn/snow bound Russia?
Jane: I wish I could tell you I had some grand plan, but it’s just what happened. The story of the murder of the Romanovs had always seemed so tragic to me, and I could understand people wanting to believe one of them had have survived. I thought I’d write a fictional version using a similar premise and let my “Anastasia” actually survive. I honestly don’t remember what drew me to a celestial setting, but once I saw the name of the city of Arkhangel’sk while doing some research, it all came together.
TRC: THE ARMIES of HEAVEN is the final book in The House of Arkhangle’sk series. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Jane: The Heavens are on the brink of war as demon revolutionaries and a separate faction of angels are in rebellion against Queen Aeval. Grand Duchess Anazakia is preparing to lead her army of angels against both the demons and the queen’s army to take back the throne. The leader of the demons has also stolen Anazakia’s child, so she and Vasily and Belphagor are anxious to defeat the demon leader and take Ola back.
TRC: We have heard there is a spin-off series featuring Anazakia. Would you please tell us something about the premise and how many books do you plan in the series?
Jane: I’m sorry to say that the sequel trilogy, which features Anazakia’s daughter Ola, has been shelved for now. I’m currently working on some m/m erotic romance featuring Belphagor and Vasily.
TRC: Vasily and Belphagor storyline would be a welcome addition. 😉
TRC: The series is dark and the characters are emotional, raw and edgy. How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Jane: I don’t think predictable plots are terribly believable. Life is unpredictable and messy, and more often than not, pretty dark, so it seems natural to me to throw twists and turns at my characters along the way.
TRC: How thoroughly do you plan out your characters and story before you begin the first draft?
Jane: I don’t outline. I’ve tried it and it just doesn’t work for me. I have to have a general idea of who the main characters are, where the relationships will go, who the antagonist is, and how things will end, so I do a bit of stream of consciousness writing to work out what I think is going to happen. Usually, the story is completely different by the time it’s done.
TRC: If you could virtually cast the lead characters of The House of Arkhangel’sk series, which actors and models would be represent your ideal image?
Jane: Emma Watson would make a good Anazakia, and I see Belphagor as Robert Downey, Jr., only a bit younger. I think Jason Momoa is probably the only one who could play Vasily.
TRC: What challenges (research, historical, theological) did you face writing this particular series?
Jane: I did a lot of research on Russian history and culture, including traveling to Russia to try to learn the language. I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. Creating my own hierarchy of angels and the seven heavens was also a challenge, as was inventing the game of wingcasting, but all of that was also a lot of fun as well.
TRC: Do your storyline characters speak to you and tell you the direction of the story or do you direct the characters?
Jane: They pretty much have their way no matter what I do. I have a general direction for the story, but how they get there is anybody’s guess until it’s done. And Belphagor is the biggest pain in butt. 😉
TRC: How do you deal with the stress and anxiety of writing deadlines?
Jane: I gave myself deadlines before I was published, so that part isn’t really much different. I find promotion much more stressful. It doesn’t come naturally to me, and trying to fit it in with my writing while working a full-time day job leaves me little time or energy for anything else. I don’t really have time to deal with stress in a healthy way, but I try to do little things that make me happy, like taking time out for afternoon tea and watching my favorite TV shows after I meet my daily word count quota. (And The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson is a must, no matter how many words I’ve written.)
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about yourself?
Jane: I think some people are surprised when they find out I was raised as an Evangelical Christian, given that my books have naughty leather demon heroes. On the other hand, some people are surprised that despite my conservative upbringing, I’m actually a bisexual atheist with pagan leanings, and that my books aren’t in any way religious even though they’re about angels and demons.
TRC: What five things would you like to accomplish in the next ten years?
Jane: I’d be happy with one thing: being able to write for a living without having to work another full-time job to pay the rent. I’d love to have a bestseller, but who wouldn’t? I try to keep my goals realistic: managing to write two or three books a year and get them published without having a complete breakdown seems reasonable.
TRC: On what are you currently working?
Jane: The Belphagor/Vasily erotic romance project.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Jane: I’d just like to repeat “Belphagor/Vasily erotic romance project.” 😉
Favorite TV Show
Torchwood, but there aren’t any more of those, so Doctor Who (but only
with Matt Smith, and I’m going to have a tantrum and hold my breath when
the next Doctor shows up).
Last Move You Saw
Star Trek Into Darkness (I haven’t changed much over the years).
Dark or Milk Chocolate
Dark. Very, very dark.
Last Vacation Destination
TRC: Thank you Jane for taking the time to answer our questions.Congratulations on the release of THE ARMIES OF HEAVEN. We wish you all the best in your writing career.
Jane: Thanks so much for having me. 🙂