One cold night, a young woman who is the reincarnation of a powerful angel asks a question of another woman, who is — brace yourself— a book.
“Sophia,” Angela had said, grasping the Book’s small hand, “tell me what it was like when you were in Hell for all that time. I want to know.”
“It was dark,” Sophia whispered. “Endlessly dark. And stifling. There is an acidic river coursing through the deepest parts of Hell, and I can still taste the vapors stinging and numbing my tongue.” She took a deep breath, like the memories called for a gathering of her strength. “I don’t remember much else. I try not to. But I do know I passed countless years wishing. That’s part of my punishment, you see. Ever since I died … I’ve been wishing.”
If you wish to learn more about Sophia and Angela, whom you may have encountered in Sabrina Benulis’ first book, “Archon,” you can turn to part two of The Books of Raziel trilogy in “Covenant,” her just-released sequel. The cover depicts Angela, with blood-red hair and blood-red wings, sitting on a wicked-looking throne.
“She’s definitely much more mature,” Benulis, 30, of Drums, said of her protagonist. “She’s more open to friendships. Her relationship with Sophia healed her a lot.”
As the battle between good and evil rages on, Benulis brings back such characters as Kim, Angela’s one-time love interest, who opens “Covenant” by reaching for a snake-shaped iron door knob that comes to life and sinks its fangs into his palm.
The author also introduces new characters, such as Juno, an owl-eyed Jinn who is much more pleasant than her ferocious, ready-to-rip-people-apart aunt, Troy.
“You get the feeling Juno is how Troy would have been if she hadn’t grown up in a touch, kill-or-be-killed atmosphere,” Benulis said.
Describing “Covenant” as “still a Gothic story but not as grim and dark” as the first book, Benulis said the third book is due April 15. HarperCollins published “The Covenant” under its imprint Harper Voyager, and Benulis expects to attend a book-signing event from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Book Sellers at the Arena Hub.
Also signing books in the near future at Barnes & Noble will be Allan D. Ondash, 52, of Courtdale, whose session begins at 7 p.m. April 13. His book “The Paper Tigers” is subtitled “A Knock-Down-Drag-Out Look at Modern Martial Arts” and explains his belief in the importance of the basics.
“You cannot simply scrape the chocolate chips from the top of martial arts and not be willing to learn how to bake the cookie that supported them,” he writes.
Nobody wants to be a “paper tiger,” and Ondash lists 52 ways to become one, with such dubious distinctions as “you go to class but never practice on your own,” “your sidekick looks no different from your roundhouse” or “you go to the Dojo because there are cute girls/guys there.”