Michael Hanlon and the Seventh Protocol

Book One of the Saints and Demons Trilogy

The year is 1949. In a small central Newfoundland town, 12-year-old Michael Hanlon finds himself going head to head with a powerful adversary sent to execute Sister Catherine, a young Presentation Order nun unfortunate enough to witness a gruesome execution in New York City. Sister now teaches English at Michael’s school in Mount Peyton, but warriors from the Lower Kingdom soon track her down. When a pair of grisly murders suddenly places the boy in the unlikely role of Sister`s protector, he arranges a meeting between Sister and family friend Sgt Ben Pearson of the Newfoundland Rangers so the officer can learn firsthand what is really going on in the community.

The year is 2011. The forces of evil are but two generations removed from taking control of the earth—if all goes as planned. National Socialism has failed; Lenin’s communist program has failed, and now Radical Islam, Prince Lucifer’s third and most ambitious attempt at world domination, is in jeopardy because of a woman overhearing a secret incantation being used during the course of a bungled execution. Susan Bartlett must be eradicated before this information falls into the hands of Vatican experts who may be able to use the incantation to wreak havoc against the Lower Kingdom.

Dr Victor Romanos is a Church mediary, one of a handful of special envoys appointed to assist those under threat of demonic annihilation. He is instructed by the Vatican to interview a terrified young woman who has taken refuge in a mid-town Manhattan church. Upon his arrival, Victor is able to distinguish the shadows of two demons lurking outside. As Susan reveals the details of her encounter with the Underworld, he is amazed to learn that she actually overheard the demons communicate with one another—an unheard-of occurrence! He is convinced they are waiting around because Susan has learned something that may be a threat to them, which tells him they intend to kill her the moment she leaves the protection of the church. Victor quickly arranges for his heavenly liaison, Saint Sophia, to transport Susan to a far away time and place where she can live out her life in peace.

With demonic incidents steadily on the increase and the Church rapidly losing ground to the Lower Kingdom, the Vatican Curia is growing desperate. But then, a spectacular coup! Antonio Cardinal Bellini, Director of the Department of Scientific Investigation for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, along with several members of his staff, manage to capture and hold a demon incarcerated in the lowest reaches of St Peter’s Basilica. Pope Benedict is appalled and wants nothing to do with this madness! But Bellini has a serious problem on his hands, as the cost of holding the demon captive is astronomical. Sooner or later, they will be forced to get rid of the creature, which could have disastrous ramifications. His senior scientist, Father Mario, has already tried using multiple versions of the incantation emailed to him by Victor to see how the demon reacts, but little progress has been made. Mario feels their only real chance of success is to bring Susan Bartlett to Rome and place her under hypnosis, where she will hopefully be able to reproduce the sounds made by the Manhattan demons during the course of their murderous activities. But Victor tells them the young woman has gone down a one-way street and will not be coming back. Then, when all seems lost, a hand reaches out from beyond the grave, and the Seventh Protocol comes onstage, which may provide Cardinal Bellini with the means to summon Susan Bartlett to Rome.

What Vatican officials do not yet know is that Prince Lucifer is fully aware of what is taking place, and will go all out to prevent the Upper Kingdom from squashing his third and perhaps final attempt at world domination. Lucifer orders one of his senior prefects, Hadrian, to ignore all protocols and to execute Susan Bartlett and this interfering youngster at once!

At the heart of this (128,450 word) story is a forbidden love that continues to flourish as the action moves back and forth between both eras, finally culminating in a heart-wrenching denouement that will turn the whole concept of time inside out and leave the reader breathless.