Lost knowledge and ancient wisdom entangle wealthy artist Diana DeMarco in a battle against a Second Inquisition to expose and kill Italian witches. The loss of her baby and husband in a car accident leaves Diana in grief and desperation, but when she finds that her husband had been less than candid about his past, including his possession of a villa in Rome and a mistress he’d been visiting even after their marriage, Diana resolves to travel to Rome and discover the depths of her husband’s deceptions. What she finds is both breathtaking and treacherous: her husband was involved in witchcraft. She finds that not only do witches exist, they surround her. Some of the Italian witches are healers. Other witches, called the Maladanti, use “sex magick,” the focus of an energetic field created by sexual arousal. In their elaborate rituals that take place in catacombs underneath the streets of modern Rome, the Maladanti launch a full-scale war against the Catholic Church.
Diana is unaware that she is a key player in the coming battle. As a devout Catholic, the world of these witches does not fit her view of reality. Caught between the tempting erotic magick of the Maladanti and the deep compassion and honor of the Italian witch healers, Diana awakens from her mourning. For her, everything is new, and she paints her canvasses with fierce abandon. Each painting shimmers with a light that the Maladanti can perceive, and this puts Diana and the Italian witch healers in mortal danger. As one Maladanti says, Diana is “giving us the key to the other dimensions.”
The danger to Diana is clear. The Maladanti seek her for a final ceremony. Within the realm of their underground grotto, they didn’t have to keep their rites a secret anymore. “For the first time, they would have sex magick in the place where it was meant to be done—beside the well, in the heated pools and atop Pan’s face.”
In this first book of the author’s “Simultaneous Dimensions” series, the settings are richly painted. The plot swirls, as villains become heroic and heroines shift into harlots. Love is a palpable force, not a sentimental notion. The candidly erotic rites of the Maladanti are just as much a part of “the grid” as the priests in the Vatican above them, and there are no guaranteed outcomes.
Readers will find enchantment in this international edition, with its environmentally pure leather-like binding fashioned from sugar cane waste and the iridescent gold edges of the pages that promise a magical journey. The author traveled to Rome and researched the subterranean sections of the city in order to capture the feel of these caverns as well as the pulse of the Italian capital itself to craft books that “reveal the places and events that may seem unbelievable but exist in our world today.”
Carol Lynn Stewart
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