Sir Derek de Molay, a Templar Knight, died under the torture methods of the Inquisition. His spirit traveled to Purgatory, and there he received enlightenment that the sufferings of the Templars were not due to Lucifer and his minions but to corrupt men. He saw the order for which he sacrificed his life fall into ruin and disgrace. Derek became angry with God for seemingly abandoning him and his fellow knights. The archangels couldn’t persuade him out of his anger and so closed the gates of Heaven to him. Derek is still willing to serve God, though, and agrees to fight for God as a warrior angel.
Centuries of fighting passed. Derek receives a summons from the archangel Michael and learns that some angels are working for the dark side and have allowed some of Lucifer’s angels to escape Hell. Those dark angels are now on Earth, and Michael wants Derek to find out their plans. Derek’s starting point is a woman whose guardian angel is missing and believed slain by the dark angels. He’ll assume human form and work as a doorman in her condo building to watch her.
Rachel Duncan is a trader on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Not only has she survived in a profession reportedly dominated by men 200 to 1, she is one of the best. She makes lots of money for her employer, earning a hefty salary and large bonuses in return. Rachel has started dating a client, Zanus, because he’s handsome, rich, and thoughtful.
Derek meets Rachel on the first day of work. He’s incredibly rude, and she walks away thinking he’s a big fat jerk, albeit a devastatingly handsome, big, fat jerk. Derek isn’t comfortable being human. He has just realized being a spy is demeaning for a man of his noble birth, being a servant compounds the humiliation, and topping both insults, being a servant merely to spy on a frail, feeble woman! But Derek’s rotten mood vanishes when he sees with his powers that Rachel is all alone, completely alone now without a guardian angel protecting her and therefore completely vulnerable to the dark angels.
Derek is a solid commander of soldiers of angels, but a lousy human male. In his next encounter with Rachel, he’s rude and bullying toward her, embarrassing and annoying her as before. To his credit, Derek quickly realizes he is behaving horridly and apologizes quite prettily to her later.
“I am sorry. It is just that I love the taste of shoe leather.”
She looked at him, puzzled.
“That is why I keep putting my foot in my mouth.”
Yes, Derek is a Neanderthal, but funnily enough, his character is endearing and real because of his faults. Once Derek starts watching what comes out of his mouth, Rachel notices his better qualities, and a relaxed and delightfully goofy courtship begins.
As for Rachel, she may be the smartest heroine I’ve read. Mother and daughter authors Margaret and Lizz Weiss make the fast-paced, complex world of commodities trading fascinating, and it’s simply amazing to me that anyone can understand that world and be successful at it. But, Rachel is also appealing as an ordinary woman: sometimes nervous, sometimes scatter-brained, generous-hearted, and messy, with non-existent cooking skills.
I liked the main characters and their offbeat romance, but not so the book’s premise and setting…or lack thereof. I didn’t understand why Rachel decided to date a client, knowing it could get her into all kinds of trouble. Understandably, her boss would not take it well if he found out about it and she could lose her job and career if Zanus turn on her and insinuated their relationship in a complaint against her. I also didn’t understand why the dark angels didn’t just use their powers now that they’re on earth, instead setting up a convoluted scheme involving a human, Rachel, to start chaos and mayhem. But the most serious problem was the lack of world building. There weren’t any descriptions of the powerful weapons the dark angels used or the battles waged between the sides of good and evil. The details of what the angels and demons look like were conventional and superficial. There was one interesting paragraph about cherubs, and that they don’t look like chubby baby angels, but that wasn’t enough to satisfy.
Warrior Angel is a fantasy romance with a nice romance, but a notable lack of fantasy elements. I did a brief Google search on author Margaret Weis and found that she is a prolific fantasy author, and as such, the lack of world building is particularly disappointing.