This is the 3rd book in this series that follows an eclectic group of thirteen people--The Gifted. The Gifted are an odd mix of men, women and children, each possessing a special talent bestowed upon them by God to aid the group on its quest. They have been called to Avignon, the new home of the Church, and to the very place and people who may well destroy them all. Led by Daria (a healer), they make their way to fulfill an ancient prophecy--to rid the Church of corruption and to make God's message available to the common man--even as they are hunted by the purest darkness, intent on crushing not only the Gifted, but all things holy.
***** FOUR AND A HALF STARS! Somehow, the author has managed the incredible challenge of weaving a story that is rich in history, drama, spiritualism, romance, suspense and pure unadulterated Evil into a tapestry that is a thrill to experience! As they travel, they begin to gain supporters and believers, the elite that are needed to gain the Pope's ear and to stand with them during the ultimate showdown. Although exercising any of the gifts that these people are blessed with is no small thing, I was especially awed reading of Daria's healings--scenes so intense they left me with goose bumps! Conversely, I was equally creeped-out about reading of a very real Satan's successful manipulations and how easily even holy men were drawn into the web of deceit and depravity.
This is the first book of this series that I've read, and even with references to earlier occurrences, I didn't feel that I missed anything by not having read them first. This book is excellent and is able to stand all on its own! Given how intriguing the characters and message in this book are though, I can't wait to read the first two! The Blessed will leave you thinking back to these wonderful characters again and again. This is not your typical story of good vs. evil! Highly recommended! *****
Reviewed by Tracey Naylor for Huntress Reviews.