Just looking at the cover of Sons of Cain will send a shiver through you. This novel by Val Bianco is a true Catholic thriller. A fascinating story of grand proportions, Sons of Cain wraps around your very mind, heart, and soul, and refuses to let go.

The prologue provides a stunning beginning--even more so because it is based in truth, on Pope Leo XIII's frightening vision that occurred in 1884. After reading this vivid prologue, you will forever have a devotion to Saint Michael, the warrior archangel.

Sons of Cain is a cleverly-written, well-plotted, solid story that deals with the battle between Good and Evil--but not merely as a vague, abstract concept. On the contrary, physical and spiritual battles erupt on very personal levels. Nick Rieper, ex Navy Seal with a tumultuous past, has formed a band of warriors, the Knights of Longinus, who dedicate themselves to fighting Satanism. Father Picora, who has risen above his own broken past, is Rieper's confessor and friend. Together, these strong Catholics must stop the Cainites from destroying America, even if it costs them their lives.

Interestingly, while Sons of Cain is geared for male readers, I can attest that females will enjoy it, too. One of the main viewpoint characters, Robyn Alexander, is a beautiful, smart young woman who faces some mighty challenges. After circumstances bring her together with Father Picora, Reiper (whom she is attracted to), and the Knights of Longinus, Robyn will find her life forever altered.

While there are many characters in this book, they are all believable and intriguing. The author includes in-depth background, insight, and motivation. Thus the story has some slower parts, but these offer interesting and necessary information and are well countered by intensely gripping action scenes. The good characters are easy to empathize with, and they are not sugar-coated goody-goodies. And the bad characters? (Pause here to shiver!) The bad characters are terrifying. I must caution: Do not read this book when you are alone at night! Also, this is not a book for young readers or the faint of heart. Be aware that there is some foul language, due to the nature of the subject matter and some corrupt characters.

At the same time, Sons of Cain offers a wealth of traditional Catholic teaching without bogging the reader down with dry preaching. I loved that the scriptural references were taken from the Douay-Rheims Bible, something you rarely see in fiction these days.

Sons of Cain is shockingly pertinent to the times we live in, times filled with issues of abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, government corruption, and other unspeakable evils. The strong sense of reality makes this book all the more frightening. It is chilling to realize that so much in the story is actually based in truth, and leaves you wondering . . .

After you finish reading, you must check out the "What's real?" page on the author's website. Still need more? Keep your eyes open for the sequel!

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Therese Heckenkamp is the author of Past Suspicion, a young adult suspense novel that has received the Catholic Writers Guild Seal of Approval.  Therese is also a book reviewer for TraditionalCatholicNovels.com and IvoryTowerPress.com, and she is currently working on two new novels.  She lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two young children.  

Copyright 2012 Therese HeckenKamp