In movies, usually the second instalment is not as good as the first, but occasionally the latter outshines the former. I am glad to say that this is the case with this novel. It is very noticeable that Barber has upped everything here. I did notice that he has employed the services of an editor. An author friend of mine believes that every author should employ the services of an editor. Barber seems to have reaped the benefits of this in this instalment.
The plot is tighter, the characters developed further and more relational. There is noticeably less grammar mistakes.This novel runs at a faster pace than the previous and generally the overall effect is that the reader is engaged more than in the first.
Barber successfully advances the plot showing a further spiral into sin and depravity as the fallen angels gain more power over the human population suppressing them into blind obedience as servants of them as "gods".As just as this happens to this degree, the same happens to Arkadia and Sotiria. They both develop a closer relationship with God, but before this happens Arkadia is seduced into becoming a warrior but for the wrong reasons despite this role being foretold to him by Enoch via God's direction. Kasdaja, the fallen angel posing as a god, learns of this prophecy and encourages Arkadia to be a warrior for his purposes in order to derail Arkadia's relationship with God. He succeeds and Arkadia's bitterness and anger at the treatment of his marriage by Sotiria's parents fuel his motive for being a warrior and despite him becoming well respected and successful in this role, these negative emotions nearly overtake and destroy him. Meanwhile, Sotiria is forced to marry another in a prearranged agreement between her father and the future husband. They move to Enoch and start a family while Arkadia is away for many years fighting the Barbarians who are freed servants.
Barber does a good job of showing how some of the 'deities' that are recorded history and mythology have come to be. An example of this is Istahar who becomes Isis and the Queen of Heaven. It is her that destroys the relationship between Sotiria and Arkadia by granting an answer to Sotiria's prayer to her, but not the way she expects. Barber portrays this well, and this is an example showing the degree of hatred and deceit that even a human will allow to spiral into such a low level of depravity.
By the end of this novel, the power and deceit of the gods is firmly established, and both they and their human subjects have spiralled to a level of sin and depravity that will lead the way to God being saddened with the human race and decides to wipe the human race off the face of the earth which will be in a future novel in this Deceit Series.
It is good to see the novel being an improvement from the previous one. I look forward to the third novel, a snippet which is given at the end of this one.
Again, an enjoyable novel showcasing the improvements that Barber has identified and worked on from his debut novel.