As a former Whitehall and Cabinet Office employee, Sam Davey has lived and been somewhat moulded by the (often!) byzantine inner workings of Government. It's a unique career that now perfectly creeps into her compelling new novel.
'Angels of Islington' is, at its heart, a hybrid political satire and supernatural fantasy story. However, woven throughout are cutting-edge divine creations and myth-inspired perspectives that will leave readers reconsidering every shred of their existence.
"We don't expect to eradicate evil; but we must ensure that the balance remains in our favour. That there continues to be more good than evil, more kindness than hatred, more joy than suffering."
"And if we don't?" I asked.
There are three realms, terrestrial, celestial – and infernal; all engaged in a perpetual struggle between good and evil. For over five hundred years, the bastion of England's protection has been a small and little known agency, based in the Canonbury Tower, Islington.
Zach, a justice angel and one of the agency's most skilled operatives, has just returned from a harrowing mission working with the dead and dying in strife-torn Syria. The last thing he needs is to be sent back into the field.
But two humans on a celestial witness protection programme have just been abducted and Zach, saddled against his better judgement with rookie agent and time shifter Sara, is sent into the Inferno to rescue them.
Aided by spectres and beset by demons, Zach and Sara's 48 hour mission is a rollercoaster ride… at times terrifying, at times deeply touching and always laced with a dark and coruscating wit.
"This book is definitely unlike anything else written before!" explains the author. "Nowhere else can you encounter biometric/digital purity readers replacing St. Peter at the Pearly Gates, a heavenly call centre that uses cloud-based prayer recognition technology to deploy angelic guidance, or a celestial broadcasting network whose biggest new hit is "This is Your Next Life" – a show that gives people an opportunity to secure reincarnation as a celebrity or privileged individual!"
Continuing, "Of course, it's all written in the name of good fun, while deliberately seeking to leave readers with plenty to think about. In many ways, it's an anti-austerity text that I admit will satisfy those sitting on the left side of the aisle. It's also very philosophical in places; there really is something here for everyone."
'Angels of Islington', from Mirador Publishing, is available here:
The author, in her own words:
Until very recently, I was a Whitehall Civil Servant. I worked at the Cabinet office, in the Major Projects Authority when John Manzoni was its Chief Executive (before he became CEO of the entire civil service) and I have drawn on this experience to create a number of my more senior Archangels – and to satirise the austerity Agenda of so-called "efficiency and reform".
I now work and live in East Sussex – and am a very active member of Hastings Writers Group, which is one of the oldest writers groups in the UK.
I studied Philosophy and Politics at Durham University.
I wrote the book in six months, mainly on Sundays and in the nooks and crannies of borrowed time you sometimes find when waiting for things (like trains or your husband coming home for supper).