Reviewed by Susan65
Title: A Time to Rise
Author: Tal Bauer
Heroes: Alain Autenberg/Cristoph Hasse
Genre: MM Paranormal
Length: 319 Pages
Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: May 2, 2016
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.
Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand firm against monsters from the dark depths. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and from the evils that exist beyond the Veil.
But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenberg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.
Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cris struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cris collides with Alain, and both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican… and of the world.
Review: Wow, what a ride! Tal Bauer is a new author to me, but one I will be keeping an eye on for future books, and maybe a sequel to this one. This story was an amazing combination of the paranormal, Vatican history, and the slowly forming romance growing between two Swiss Guards. The history lesson is one that totally grabbed my interest and I spent a long time on this book because I kept going to Google to look up some of the things I was reading. Normally I would hate that info dump, but in this case, it was not just words thrown in willy-nilly but a more accurate and realistic representation of the story being told.
This book reminded me a lot of Dan Brown (from the Da Vinci Code) mixed with some Stephen King for the violence and paranormal thrills. It’s graphic and gross, I won’t kid you, but it wasn’t gross for the sake of being gross, but a more precise representation on the events occurring. There were also some less than stellar actions by a few priests, so prepare for some unpleasantness there. Some may rebel but the truth is the truth.
Alain is a Special Ops Swiss Guard, one that no one, besides the Pope and Swiss Guard Commandant, know of his real duties…and title. Alain is basically ostracized from the rest of the guard because they think he’s just weird. Showing up with his uniform all askew and covered in blood could do that. Cris is a newly avowed Swiss Guard who has a chip on his shoulder, which only becomes much worse when he is given Alain as his mentor.
These two do everything in their power to fight their growing attraction and it’s a true slow-burn romance before they finally get together. Don’t expect it to be fast or simple, there is nothing fast or simple about this whole book. The main focus is fighting the evil released on and around the Vatican with the romance simmering in the background.
I must admit it that it did drag a little bit in a few places, but it quickly picked up soon after. The last quarter of the book was edge-of your-seat, and I did not foresee any of the twists and turns that were revealed. Luca was a big surprise, and the Alain “issue”…I am still unsure how I feel about how that played out. A part of me felt the story ended too abruptly because I needed to know more on Lotario after the big finale, why Angelo wasn’t available when Cris called, and how the Luca and Alain situation plays out now that all the cards are on the table. Still shocked over Luca, I gotta say, but Bravo to the author for creating a surprising and attention-grabbing story. Highly recommended.
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*