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Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle - Jane Lebak

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle
Jane Lebak
Philangelus Press

ISBN 9781942133261
eISBN 9781942133278
ASIN B07G5L16Y9


This volume contains four previously published volumes and a few extra stories. Prior to picking up this collection I had read the four volumes but grabbed this to be able to read the extra stories. But reread all the stories as they appeared in this collection because they are so good. The stories in this collection are:

Even A Stone 
Rent An Angel 
Mice In The Pantry (Gabriel) 
Guardian Angels Online 
How Angels Fledge 
A Rock For Christmas 
Hired Man (Gabriel II) 
Right Behind You 
Inhuman Resources 
Never Pray For Patience 
The Gold Star Saints 
Damage 
Winter Branches 

The stories encompassed a wide rang of themes, and span from the far past to today. The portrayal of angels, their lives, their work, and even to some extant their hopes is intriguing. I have yet to read any of the novels in the Seven Archangels Series but know that I will read them all. For the sampling of stories, we get in this collection is just brilliant. And now a brief review of each story:

Even A Stone 

A humorous story about a Knight with questionable intent, who encounters an Archangel sitting on a rock as punishment. An interesting twist of fate in this story. Dragons, Knights, and Angels oh my.

Rent An Angel 

What could go wrong when two angels decide to get into the entrepreneurial spirit? They offer their services for compensation. That compensation can be a call to your mother, a good deed, write a letter to grandma, and more. But soon business is spiraling out of hand and between growing business and repeat customers things are about to come to a head. And that happens when the Archangel Gabriel appears in the office of the two and begins an Audit.

Mice In The Pantry (Gabriel) 

This is one of two stories that appears also in the volume Hired Man. In this story Gabriel is working as a hired hand in the house of Tobias. Yes, that Tobias from the book of the bible, but based on this story it is many years after the biblical account, or an alternate time line. Gabriel feels a great strain trying to save a child’s life without his angelic powers. It is a moving story.

Guardian Angels Online 

This short piece is written as entries in an Angelic online form. With Subjects, poster name, and number of replies. There is a lot of humour in this piece like a reminder from the admin: 
“-if you’re using your charge’s computer, please be sure to log off after each session and clear the cache and the history.  
-please no “me too” postings”
The wit and witticism in this piece is exceptional. 

How Angels Fledge 

A powerful poem.

A Rock For Christmas 

A guardian angel of a Star? “And so, with no planetary guardians to banter with, Orithnael had settled in for a few billion years of catching up on his reading. That and what he’d come to know was the norm for guarding a fusion reactor: long days of boredom punctuated by moments of panic.” His friends all celebrating Christmas on earth. But he receives a surprise gift. 

Hired Man (Gabriel II) 

We return to the angel Gabriel in this story and to the family of Tobias. For a second time during his year of service Gabriel is called upon to help in a medical emergency. This time a birthing. And now I am desperate to read more of Gabriel’s time in the house of Tobit. 

Right Behind You 

This story so skewers the Left Behind series and phenomena in mainline Evangelical Christianity. It is satire at it’s best. I did laugh out loud. 

Inhuman Resources 

Another piece of Satire. Satan comes home from a day at work to his apartment. It has been invaded by one demon who just cant seem to keep his post, and soon a few others join the pity party. One of the best lines in this one is: “Satan dropped onto the couch. Sometimes he wondered why he’d rebelled: in Heaven, God handled the staffing issues.”

Never Pray For Patience 

This offering is a chapter from a novel, Honest and for True, I have not read the novel, but this story sure makes me want to. I found myself losing patience for the main character myself! 

The Gold Star Saints 

This one is social commentary on the participant award generation. The generation where everyone is supposed to feel special, everyone gets a medal or ribbon, and no one fails. 

Damage 

This is one hell of a story. Literally. A demon is assigned to be a guardian angel for a baby who is anencephalic. But a strange connection develops. It is also a powerful testimony for the pro-life movement because of being written from personal experience. It is a very moving read.

Winter Branches

The story of an angel whose charge did not convert. An angel who feels like a failure. Who does not feel worthy of having another charge to care for. A story of grief and of loss. 

As can be seen from those brief summaries this is a masterful collection of stories some funny, some ironic, some with deep insight! One of the great things about this collection is that before each story Jane tells us the story of how the story came to be. These brief introductions are some times a few lines to a few paragraphs.

In summary this is a wonderful collection. My only regret is that it is not longer. I have found out there is another standalone published short story Once Only: A Seven Archangels Story, which I will be pursuing shortly! A few of these stories had me laughing out loud. A few inspired moments of prayer, for friends, and family. But not sure I am ready to pray for more patience just yet. Not sure I would survive the effort. Writing short stories, writing any short fiction is a craft unto itself. I know many readers who do not like anthologies, or short story collections but I love them. And this book is a masterfully written collection of stories about angels, and a demon or two. It is more then worth the price of this collection. I am sure there will be at least a few of the stories that move you. I have now read four novels, 4 published short story books and this collection, with everything I read I have a greater respect for Mrs. Lebak and her skill with the pen. Pick up the book and give a few stories a try! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Jane Lebak:
Pickup Notes
Love's Highway
Forever And For Keeps
Half Missing

Relic of His Heart
With Two Eyes Into Gehenna
Rain in Hell
...

Father Jay Series:
Bulletproof Vestments
The Boys Upstairs
A Different Heroism

...

Seven Archangels:
1.0 An Arrow In Flight
2.0 Sacred Cups
3.0 Shattered Walls
4.0 The Wrong Enemy
5.0 Annihilation


Seven Archangels Short Stories:
2.1 Damage
2.2 Even A Stone
2.3 Hired Man
2.4 Winter Branches
5.5 Once Only

Seven Angels Short Story Bundle 2.1-2.4

The Adventures of Lee and Bucky:

0.5 Upsie-Daisy
1.0 Honest And For True
2.0 Forever And For Keeps


Rails of Sweet Grove:
2.0 Love's Rules of the Road

Non-Fiction:
Carrying to Term: A Guide for Parents after a Devastating Prenatal Diagnosis

...

Author profile and interview with Jane Lebak.






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