Dear Catholic Sistas (and Brothas),
I am so happy to be able to share with you an excerpt of Val Bianco’s first novel, Sons of Cain. I was quite excited to read the book, and my review is published at Integrated Catholic Life (TM). I tried to give a potentially interested reader a full picture by comparing Mr. Bianco’s research and reality-based fiction style to Tom Clancy’s novels (yes, women read Tom Clancy); by comparing his narrative style to John Grisham’s (used to be his neighbor, but I doubt he knew it); by comparing this description of a cosmic war between good and evil to The Left Behind Series (read the whole thing with my husband); and by comparing the story a bit to Dan Brown’s The Davinci Code (but thankfully Sons of Cain is wonderfully catechetical and true to Catholicism). Now, if all of that doesn’t have you interested, you can read some Teaser Questions at the end of the review at The American Catholic, and…drum roll…for the first time ever, read an excerpt from the book below. I selected this passage because it gives a taste of how the book will capture you, and I apologize in advance for the thug’s profanity, which is censored out so as not to taint this lovely website. Please see the end of this article for one more fun tidbit.* Enjoy!
From Chapter 3:
The priest could hear the commotion outside as he slid back the bolt and threw open the massive door in a single motion. The woman tumbled into the vestibule just as her attacker grabbed the hood of her sweat shirt. Instinctively, the priest threw a shoulder into the man, knocking him to the floor and allowing the woman to break free. She rolled across the vestibule.
Stunned, the man forgot the woman and turned his attention to the priest, who now stood, hands raised in a classic boxing stance, directly between the young woman and her attacker.
“There’s more of them!” She screamed from the floor as she flipped open her phone.
“Lock the door!” ordered the priest.
The woman jumped to her feet and moved back to the door, carefully keeping the priest between herself and the thug. She threw the bolt shut just as the tires screeched to a halt in front of the church. The sound of a booming base accompanied the catcalls from the car. “Ven aquí p***! We got you now, b****!”
Seconds later, as they violently kicked and rattled the massive doors, she screamed into the phone. “Hell yes, it’s an emergency! I’m being attacked!” Inside the locked church, with a fighting chance, the woman began to regain control. “Father, where are we?”
He responded without turning around. “St. Elizabeth’s, on 12th Street.”
Back on his feet, eyes glazed over in a drug-induced haze, the hood reached into his pocket and screamed. “She’s mine priest. I saw her first and the p*** is mine!”
“Get out!” ordered the priest. His eyes never moved from the glint of the six-inch stiletto blade, which was now being waived by the enraged man.
“No padre, the b**** is mine!” His cackling tone was malevolent. “You can have the leftovers.” The smirk was pure evil.
The priest felt the hair on the back of his neck rise. He had confronted the devil often in his life, and at this moment every warning signal in him screamed that the man before him was deeply engrossed in evil. Demonically obsessed, if not fully possessed. He mentally began the prayer: “St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle…”
Steeling himself, the priest commanded, “You will not harm this woman in the house of God. Now leave! Be gone from this Holy place!” His rebuke was directed as much to the man’s soul as to his body.
The assailant’s scream was beastly. “What do you want with her, maricon? Get out of my way; SHE’S MINE!”
Lunging forward, he took a vicious slash at the face of the priest, who neatly ducked under the wild roundhouse, thanking God that street punks had no formal training. As he came up, Picora delivered a crushing right uppercut under the man’s ribs, doubling the poor fool over. It was, by far, the hardest punch the stunned punk had ever felt. Though he tried to get off another slash, he was simply no match for the former professional prizefighter.
In all, it took the priest only five blows. He followed the initial body punch with a classic one-two, three-four combination; one he had thrown thousands of times. Though his movements were instinctive, the physics were precise, having been relentlessly drilled into the fighter over the years that he’d spent learning the craft.
His left arm flashed a solid left jab to the nose. Reversing his shoulder turn, he pounded a straight right to the left eye, then with a hard hip and shoulder turn to the right, he looped a short, stunning left hook to the right temple. Finally, pivoting off his planted left foot, he led with his hips, followed by his full weight, as he delivered the “widowmaker” – a crushing one hundred and ninety-seven pound right cross, which exploded on the thug’s left cheek like a thunderclap.
The entire sequence took less than two seconds. The cadence of the combination was lightning fast, like a drum roll: pap, pap, thud, CRACK! Out cold before he hit the floor, the punk crumpled into a heap at the priest’s feet.
Flushed and panting, but still on his toes, the fifty–seven-year-old minister of God bounced back lightly, hands still raised in self defense. It took a moment for him to return to his senses. Then, breathing deeply, but steadily, the fighter receded as the priest returned. He bent over and picked up the knife.
From her vantage point, the woman had seen the priest duck the knife, but the rest was hazy. She saw Father Picora’s hands move in a blur, and she vividly remembered the whip-cracking sound of the last blow. She thought it odd that the hood actually froze, looking like he’d been shot, before he dropped. Having just witnessed what she could only assume was some sort of mini-miracle, the stunned woman eyed the man who had quite probably just saved her life. After a moment, somewhat in awe, she spoke. “You are a priest, aren’t you?”
It took a second for him to refocus. “What… Ah… I mean… I beg your pardon, miss?”
“I said, are you sure that you’re a priest?”
“Why yes. Yes, of course I am.” Now fully returned to himself, he quickly inquired, “Are you injured, miss? Did they hurt you?” Keeping his eyes on the thug, he moved toward her.
“No, Father. Just a little bruised. The police are on their way.”
“Thank God,” he responded.
So there — sorry to leave you wondering how that all started and how it all ends, but Fr. Picora and the young woman have a very touching talk about the Gospel later. That’s all I can tell you. This would be a great book to curl up with in the sun for the summer. Now, for the fun tidbit. Mr. Bianco is a builder by trade, and often takes a break to put down the hammer and read the articles at Catholic Sistas on his iPad.
*Although he is hush-hush around the boys, Val Bianco, loving, devoted husband and father of 10, is a HUGE fan of Catholic Sistas. I suggest all you other fans go follow him on Twitter and send him some sista-ly love.
And grab a copy of the book!