Something More Than Night

Something more than night: tales of the noir city
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Something More than Night by Ian Tregillis « Fantasy-Faction

By Ian Tregillis. It's a noir detective story starring fallen angels, the heavenly choir, nightclub stigmatics, a priest with a dirty secret, a femme fatale, and the Voice of God.

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Somebody has murdered the angel Gabriel. Worse, the Jericho Trumpet has gone missing, putting Heaven on the brink of a truly cosmic crisis.

Book Review: Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis

But the twisty plot that unfolds from the murder investigation leads to something much bigger: a con job one billion years in the making. Because this is no mere murder. A small band of angels has decided to break out of heaven, but they need a human patsy to make their plan work.

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Something More Than Night is a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler- inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas's vision of Heaven. It's a noir. “The Coldest War is like a cross between the devious, character-driven spy fiction of early John le Carré and the mad science fantasy of the X-Men eloquent.

There is the Raymond Chandler aspect, but there's also a lot else going on. A low-level grifter angel named Bayliss is tasked with finding a quick replacement for Gabriel, to plug the hole in the firmament left by Gabriel's death. And that needs to be a human who's converted into an angel.

Novel: Something More Than Night by Ian Tregillis

So Bayliss goes to find a human who won't rock the boat when he joins the Heavenly Choir — but instead of the docile Martin, Bayliss accidentally gets Martin's troublesome sister, Molly. Soon Molly is getting mixed up in all sorts of trouble — including problems with whoever killed Gabriel.

The dead angel was the guardian of the Jericho Trumpet, a device of unthinkable cosmic power, and now the Trumpet is missing and a bunch of Heaven's major players want to get their mitts on it. Meanwhile, there are other mysteries inside mysteries, all of them pointing to a strange conspiracy. The book is told from two viewpoints: Molly's straightforward third-person POV, as she adjusts to becoming an angel and dealing with the Pleroma, the plane where angels live outside of the mortal realm; and Bayliss' Chandleresque first person narration, in which Bayliss is a gumshoe who starts thinking of Molly as his client and uses old-timey slang to describe everything.

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Bayliss' parts of the narrative are entirely shaped like an old pulp detective novel, to the point where all of the cosmic events of the story are reshaped into a hard-luck story of a sad sack who's in over his head. The juxtaposition of the two kinds of narrative — Molly dealing with the anguish and dislocation of losing her humanity and becoming a strange immortal super-being, and Bayliss, getting knocked around by Cherubic bruisers and nabbed by the angelic cops — creates something that's thrilling as well as poignant.

Both of these angels are out of their depth in ways that ratchet up the tension and create a nifty kind of suspense. Especially after Molly makes one or two crucial mistakes, and Bayliss gets himself into some brawls he can't win.

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What makes Something More Than Night more than just a noir parody crossed with a cool story of angelic politics is the amount of cleverness jam-packed into the world-building, which winds up crossing over with the intricate plotting in a nifty way. Without giving too much away, Tregillis has come up with a whole cosmology that has a lot in common with Aquinas but is also its own thing, complete with an origin of the universe and the nature of existence.

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Neither fiction nor non-fiction, the film produces the rhetoric of both narrative and document, in all probability because of its working principles. Mccartney The dead angel was the guardian of the Jericho Trumpet, a device of unthinkable cosmic power, and now the Trumpet is missing and a bunch of Heaven's major players want to get their mitts on it. He is angry and he is alone, with only the books on his shelf for company. Jane

Plus despite its fantasy trappings, Something More Than Night turns out to be very much rooted in science — Tregillis is a physicist, and he comes up with a strange science of angel existence, rooted in quantum chromodynamics and other ideas of particle physics. Some of the most dazzling leaps of prose come when Tregillis intermingles Bayliss' detective-novel slang or Molly's grounded perspective with the radical physics of the universe. The proximity of so many angels intersecting in one plane creates the consensus view of reality that we humans take for granted, which they call the Mantle of Ontological Consistency, or MOC — so the only reason why the laws of physics work and are consistent is because of these angels.

There's a lot more in the worldbuilding department, too.

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It's the near future, and there's been some kind of space war, and the atmosphere is full of deadly debris and humans can no longer go into space or deploy satellites. And the oceans have basically died off due to acidification and plankton death, and the whole planet is dying.