Mythic, funny, violent and fast-moving, this thrilling adventure draws on the facts and mythology of the Knights Templar and their crusading missions. Slipping easily from today's London to gothic fantasy, Chadda weaves in heroine Billi SanGreal's Muslim background, too, as she takes up the challenges of her destiny. --The Guardian, Sat 18th July 2009
Forget the jacket blurb's come-on to paranormal-romance fans, this is an old-fashioned high-octane horror tale, dripping with ghastly portents, eldritch violence and an embittered heroine facing down the looming Apocalypse. Billi SanGreal has been training since childhood to fight alongside the remnants of the Knights Templar, the mysterious medieval order founded to oppose the dark powers. Now dwindled to a handful of battle-scarred men, none is more grim and cold than their master, her father. Billi takes comfort in her friendship with the young psychic Kay, but when he carelessly invokes a long-dormant evil, she must confront a force more powerful, more monstrous, more tempting than anything she could imagine. The glorious splendor of the Templar mythos is deftly contrasted with the squalid dreariness of their present, illuminating the refuge they find in the cleaner, simpler problems of ghouls and werewolves and the fleeting beauty of innocence they so brutally defend. But Billi, in her anger-from simmering to white-hot-and her pain-physical, emotional and spiritual-dominates the story with gritty, fierce humanity. Love, loss, betrayal and sacrifice, leavened only with the bittersweet grace of doing what must be done. Deus vult! (Horror. 12 & up) -- Kirkus Reviews
Chadda's fast-paced debut introduces 15-year-old Billi SanGreal, who is drafted into the modern remnants of the once-great Knights Templar by her fanatical, emotionally distant father, leader of the order ("How was school?" he asks while she's still "covered in slimy gore" after an exorcism). Though skilled in weaponry and educated in obscure religious history, Billi is a poor fit for the Templars: the lone girl in an otherwise all-male organization, of Muslim extraction but surrounded by Christians and lacking the unblinking ruthlessness required by the eternal war between the Knights and the forces of darkness. Nonetheless, she finds herself standing between the Angel of Death, Michael, who has become blinded by imagined glories of enforced salvation, and the multitude of innocents Michael would happily slaughter in the name of God. Scenes of spiritual warfare are gripping (and often gruesome), as is the undercurrent of supernatural romance. Chadda offers an original take on familiar creatures like vampires, the undead and fallen angels, but it's Billi's personality and tumult of emotions that will keep readers hooked. A promising beginning to both this series and Chadda's career. Ages 13-up. --Publishers Weekly, starred review
Excellent debut thriller, pitched at the Stephenie Meyer "goth-lit" audience. There's plenty to appeal to Twilight fans, and enough bloody action scenes to satisfy male readers too.
-- The Bookseller, 20th Feb 2009
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase award 2010.
Finalist of Spellbinding, Cumbrian Secondary Schools' Book Award.
Shortlisted for the We Read Award, 2010.
Winner of the SCBWI 'Undiscovered Voices' competition 2008.