Everything Vero has trained for in the Ether has led to this. In the third and final book of Laurice E. Molinari’s Ether series, the young guardian angel Vero is given the quest of locating the Book of Raziel—which was lost when Adam was forced to leave the Garden of Eden. And not even Raziel himself knows where the book is now. It soon becomes clear, however, that Lucifer is intent on finding the book for his own means.
When the C.A.N.D.L.E. library in the Ether is missing the information he needs, Vero, his sister, and his best friend, Tack, discover the clues to the book’s whereabouts may be right in front of them on Earth—and that Vero’s father’s new assignment in Sri Lanka may be no coincidence. As their quest begins in earnest, the lines between good and evil begin to blur. Vero will need to use every ounce of his training to take on not only the Devil and his hordes, but also Lilith, who may be lurking closer than anyone thinks.
About the Author
Laurice Elehwany Molinari, a veteran film and TV writer in Hollywood for over two decades, has penned over thirty scripts for various studios and networks. Her very first feature script, written while a fellow at the American Film Institute, became Columbia Picture’s critically acclaimed children’s classic, My Girl. She went on to pen The Brady Bunch Movie and The Amazing Panda Adventure. Laurice lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles, the City of Angels, where her lifelong love for our heavenly guardians inspired her to write a book about them.
Read an Excerpt
The Dragon's Descent
By Laurice E. Molinari, Randy Gallegos
ZONDERVANCopyright © 2016 Laurice E. Molinari
All rights reserved.
TRAIL OF LIGHTS
A panther's piercing gold eyes gazed through shimmering leaves as it relaxed on the well-worn curve of an ancient tree branch. As the large, black cat looked upon the green, conical mountain in the distance, it yawned, losing the fight to an afternoon nap. Above, a chattering family of langurs carelessly stuffed their gray-black faces to their heart's content, allowing shreds of leaves to fall onto their white beards. Below, in the marshy lowland, a small herd of shaggy-coated Sambar deer stood shoulder deep in the water, eating water lilies and refreshing themselves in the cool water. A petite white egret hitched a ride on the back of one of the deer, pecking insects from its fur while green and brown frogs made their presence known with boisterous croaks.
Silently, heavy clouds rolled into the jungle, burying the tranquil afternoon in mist. The vibrant ecosystem was transformed into a blur of fog in a moment's time. And then, just as quickly, the mist dissipated, revealing the now quiet darkness of night. On the face of the distant mountain, an illuminated trail wound its way up the mountainside. The zigzagging path seemed endless, lit up by thousands of flickering lights that stretched into the stars.
Clover woke with a start. After sweeping her long blonde hair from her face, she grabbed a small journal and a pencil off her nightstand and began to cover the blank pages with detailed images from her dream. Moments later, she glanced at her old princess alarm clock: 5:22 in the morning. She would need to be up for school in an hour, but something screamed to her that she had to record what she had seen before the images faded from memory.
Clover had kept a dream journal ever since she was a little girl. She felt her dreams were special, and as she grew older she found it harder and harder to shake them — in fact, her dreams had always been so vivid, so real to her, that she often needed to stay in bed for a few moments to reorient herself after waking. Clover knew the images she dreamt were trying to tell her something, and had discovered that many did hold messages. These visual messages used to terrify her, but finally, at the ripe old age of fifteen, she had learned to embrace them — and not only her dreams, but also her visions. She had once thought she was seeing hallucinations, that she was crazy. But in time, she had come to realize she saw real things other people could not see. And she saw them because of Vero, her guardian angel brother. Her prophetic gifts were meant to somehow support Vero in his mission. Of this, she was one hundred percent sure. And that's the reason she took such painstaking efforts to sketch the mountain, the animals, and jungle as accurately as possible.
* * *
Clover walked past Vero and playfully boxed his ear while he sat in the kitchen eating an egg-in-the-hole. It was his favorite breakfast — an egg fried inside a hole cut in the middle of a slice of bread.
"What was that for?" Vero scowled, tugging on his left ear.
Clover opened the refrigerator door and pulled out a peach-flavored Greek yogurt. "Making sure you were awake." Clover smirked then picked up a spoon from inside a drawer before slamming it shut with her hip. "Where are Mom and Dad?"
"Dad went in to work early," Vero said, shaking the salt-shaker over his egg. "And Mom's out jogging."
"Good. Hold on ..." Clover said, dashing out of the kitchen.
"For what?" Vero asked, but Clover was already gone.
When she rushed back with her dream journal, he had stuck his fork into his egg, and yolk spilled out onto the fried bread. Before he could take a bite, however, Clover slammed the book down on the table with a thud. It was open to a sketch of the landscape from her dream.
"Does this mean anything to you?" she questioned urgently and curiously.
Vero's gray eyes narrowed as he studied the drawing. He looked thoughtfully at it, as if trying to trigger some sort of recognition. He focused on the winding trail of lights up the side of a steep mountain that rose high above hills, and the exotic animals below.
Vero shook his head.
"Are you sure?" Clover tapped her index finger on the drawing. "Because I have a really strong feeling about this."
"Nothing," Vero mumbled in between bites of egg. "Maybe in time, it'll make sense."
The front door opened and quickly shut. Clover snatched the journal from Vero and snapped it shut just as their mother, Nora, walked into the kitchen. Nora's face was bright red. Sweat had formed on her forehead.
"The bus is almost here! What are you doing still eating? Go! Get ready!" Nora yelled, out of breath.
"Shoot! I gotta brush my teeth," Vero exclaimed, jumping up from the table and sprinting out of the room.
"I'm ready," Clover said to Nora. "But I totally miss when Molly would pick me up."
"Well, you better make friends with the bus, because Molly graduated, and I'm sure not driving you." Nora studied Clover's face. "Why do you look so tired? Were you on your phone last night? Because you know, no electronics in your room."
"No, Mom." Clover rolled her eyes. "I just woke up super early."
"You probably heard Dad. He went to work while it was still dark," Nora said as she pulled a bottle of flavored water from the fridge. "He's worried about his project."
"He worries about every project," Clover said.
"Why don't you want me to see that?" Nora asked, motioning to the journal tucked under Clover's arm.
"You don't have to show me. I'll just sneak a peek like I normally do once you're on the bus." Nora smiled.
"You do?!" Clover asked with a look of outrage.
Nora laughed. "Oh yeah! And I also throw out all your old toys too!"
Clover eyed her, not sure if she was joking.
"But you have no problem showing Vero," Nora said, a bit hurt.
Clover considered for a moment. "Fine," she said as she handed her mother the well-worn journal. "It's on the next-to-last page."
Nora flipped to the sketch of the mountain. Clover watched her mother's eyes soften as she studied the drawing. At forty-two, Clover thought her mother looked great. Sure, she had to highlight her hair to remain a blonde, but she could still fit into most of her college clothing, and last week when Nora bought a bottle of champagne for a housewarming gift, she was carded! Clover hoped she had inherited her mom's genes.
"You're really good."
"Thanks, Mom." Clover blushed.
"Was this in one of your dreams?"
Clover nodded. Down the block, the school bus horn blared.
"Gotta go!" Clover snatched her journal from Nora's hands and zipped it inside the front pocket of her purple backpack. "I'll take it with me. That way you won't be tempted to snoop around for it." Clover smiled.
As Clover left, Vero ran down the stairs with frothy toothpaste around his mouth. Nora chuckled to herself.
* * *
Clover got off the bus before Vero. The high school was the first stop, followed by the middle school then elementary. Vero always felt a tinge of sadness when he watched Clover step off the bus without him. Even though he would join her at the high school next year, it was of little consolation because he knew that someday the separation would become permanent. He hoped and prayed they'd both be given the strength to survive once that time came.
"Hey, move over," a boy's voice cracked.
Vero looked up and saw Tack standing over him. Sometimes he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him when he looked at his best friend of twelve years, because Tack no longer resembled the pudgy little kid Vero had grown up with. Tack was now nearly six feet tall, and all the places that once had been prone to baby fat had transformed into well-defined muscles. As Tack sat down next to him, his hairy, long legs bumped up against Vero's, who had also grown considerably. And Vero had even started wearing deodorant a few months ago, after Clover complained that he stunk up the whole room with BO, as well as mentioning the pungent aroma whenever he took off his socks.
But it wasn't only Tack's physical appearance that had changed — he had become more serious. He no longer held the title of class clown and had even made honor roll for the first time in his life. Most people attributed the change in Tack to the natural transition to maturity. But as Vero glanced at the stack of books on Tack's lap, he wondered — was Tack being prepared for whatever part he was to play in helping Vero find the Book of Raziel? The archangels had told Vero that it was his mission to retrieve the all-knowing book. It blew Vero's mind when he thought about all the knowledge contained within its pages: the laws of the universe and of creation, the names of every human ever born and those yet to be born, and the names and duties of each angel. It was mind-boggling. The book had originally been given to Adam to console him after he was expelled from the garden, then passed down for generations until it eventually became lost. And though it was up to Vero to find it, the archangel Uriel had told Vero that Tack would play some part. Maybe Tack could somehow sense he had a higher purpose ... he was a proven dowser, after all, and could sense things ordinary people could not. Perhaps that was why childish things were falling so quickly by the wayside?
"Did you figure out what you're going to do for service hours?" Tack asked Vero as the bus drove away from the curb.
"I'm not sure yet," Vero said. "How many do we need to do?"
"Fifteen hours or else they won't pass you to ninth grade."
"My mom wants me to volunteer at the hospital. She says lots of kids do. Plus, I can drive in with her to work," Vero said.
"I'll do it with you," Tack said. "My sister volunteered there and said she was delivering flowers and reading books to little kids, stuff like that."
"I can handle that," Vero said.
"Then ask your mom to sign us up."
"Oh, but I can't do Saturday mornings," Tack said. "That's when my dad takes me out on dowser jobs with him."
Vero nodded. He knew how important being a dowser was to Tack. Up until last year, his friend had shown no aptitude in the ancestral talent; then Tack's abilities sprung forth with a vengeance when he sensed that a busted pipe had caused water to pool in the gym's ceiling. He'd led everyone outside moments before disaster hit.
Vero and Tack looked up and saw Davina Acker quickly move to the seat next to them as the bus rounded a corner. Davina always made Vero smile. She was stunning, with sparkling blue eyes and soft brownish hair, but it was her warm smile that Vero found most endearing.
"Hey, Davina." Tack nodded.
"I thought I heard someone say service hours," she said. "I worked this weekend at the nursing home."
"How was it?" Vero asked.
"Sort of sad at first, but then you start to notice how grateful all the residents are that you're there, and then you're glad you went," Davina said.
"I hear you. My grandma lives in one in Virginia," Tack said. "When you first get there, the place kind of smells like mothballs ... sort of like Vero's feet."
"Hey!" Vero looked offended.
"But then my grandma and her friends are so happy to see me, it kind of becomes fun."
"Then you guys should volunteer with me," Davina said.
"We're gonna do the hospital," Tack said as the bus came to a stop in front of Attleboro Middle School.
"My mom works there," Vero added.
"Oh, there's Danny." Davina smiled dreamily, glancing out the cracked, finger-smudged window.
Vero followed her gaze. Danny Konrad stepped off his black skateboard and kicked the tail with his right foot, flipping it into his hands. Danny looked like the all- American boy — blond, dimpled, and confident.
Tack nudged Vero. "And this is where we become invisible."
"That's not true!" Davina exclaimed indignantly.
"Really?" Tack smirked.
"Well, maybe a little, but only because I need to talk to Danny," Davina said as she walked up the aisle.
Tack rolled his eyes as he and Vero followed her off the bus. Danny walked toward the school's metal front doors as Davina chased after him.
Danny stopped and turned around. Vero and Tack stood behind Davina.
"Hey ... How come you didn't text me last night?" Davina asked.
"I was busy." Danny shrugged.
"My dad was home ..."
Vero watched as a flicker of anger crossed Danny's face.
"And what? I don't have to tell you stuff that's between my dad and me," Danny snapped.
Hurt instantly clouded Davina's eyes as Danny turned and walked away. Tack elbowed Vero, who was concerned.
"The universe must be off," he whispered to Vero, watching Danny make his way into the school.
* * *
Deep beneath the ground wriggled the bodies of creatures — so many that they crawled over and under one another like clumps of earthworms. These beasts lived underground because light was the enemy. Darkness sustained them.
Each monster was equally hideous. Sparse, matted bunches of fur clung to their nearly emaciated bodies — bodies that resembled decomposing corpses. They hissed with grotesque, dirt-covered fangs. Their clawed hands swiped at one another, cutting into scaly, sallow skin. The lone eye that penetrated their heads could not see beneath the dark earth, yet somehow they knew the master had come into their presence. Their anger intensified, their attacks becoming more furious. The violent frenzy pleased the master. The creatures were tired of waiting for the master to release them so they could do the thing for which they were created — spread hatred. But it was not the right time. So their master kept them hidden beneath the surface, seething with chaos and hunger. When the time came, their festering hatred would erupt with a vengeance.CHAPTER 2
Tack pushed the hospital's hospitality cart down the hallway as Vero walked in front guiding it. A balding male aide hurried past, offering the boys a slight smile.
"Ouch!" Vero yelled, spinning around to Tack, who had run over Vero's right foot and hit his ankle with the heavy cart.
"Sorry," Tack said with a guilty look.
"Watch where you're going!" Vero complained, as he hopped on his left foot, waiting for the pain to subside.
"This thing is so tall, I have a hard time seeing around it," Tack said, craning his neck.
It was true; the top of the cart reached Tack's eye-level. While the lower half of the cart had small drawers for candy, decks of cards, magazines, coloring books, and crayons, the upper part held a large coffee and hot water dispenser along with cups, tea and sugar packets, creamers, and freshly baked cookies.
"Look where you're going," Vero said as he resumed walking.
Tack placed his hands on the cart and pushed it while Vero held one hand on its front, guiding it.
"Leland! Kozlowski!" a harsh voice rang out.
Startled, Tack accidentally gave the cart a shove right into Vero's other ankle, tripping him.
"Tack, you big dummy!" Vero yelled, falling to the floor.
Rubbing his new injury, Vero looked up to see the hulking figure of Nurse Kunkel standing over him. Vero had always thought that Nurse Kunkel was as wide as she was tall, and from his current vantage point, it seemed to be true.
"What are you two doing here?" she barked.
Nurse Kunkel held out a hand to Vero, who grabbed it. She pulled him to his feet with such a force that his head nearly hit the wall.
"Our service hours," Tack said.
"Very good," she said as she grabbed a warm chocolate chip cookie from the cart.
Tack nodded to the sign hanging over the cookies. It read, "Patients Only."
"Are you a patient?" Tack sheepishly asked.
"No," she said as she shoved the cookie into her mouth. "I pick up a couple of extra shifts a month to pay for my synchronized swimming classes. They're not cheap, what with budget cuts and all." Cookie crumbs shot out of the side of her mouth.
Vero and Tack exchanged looks. Synchronized swimming?
"Well, carry on, men," Nurse Kunkel said, snatching another cookie before walking down the hall.
"Come on," Vero told Tack. "We've got to finish our rounds."
Tack resumed pushing the cart. As they continued down the hospital corridor, Vero heard the faint whisper of a voice.
Excerpted from The Dragon's Descent by Laurice E. Molinari, Randy Gallegos. Copyright © 2016 Laurice E. Molinari. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Contents1. Trail of Lights, 11,
2. Hospital Rounds, 21,
3. Faith Maze, 31,
4. Dry Bones, 49,
5. Vero's Mission, 59,
6. Tack the Magnificent, 69,
7. Worlds Collide, 81,
8. Ready or Not, 97,
9. Severe Beasts, 109,
10. Rahab, 125,
11. Sri Pada, 143,
12. Flying Coach, 155,
13. Tracking Sapphires, 165,
14. The Other Side of the World, 175,
15. Local Tour Guide, 187,
16. Chiko, 199,
17. Ascent into the Night, 213,
18. Bridge in the Sky, 221,
19. Path of the Panther, 233,
20. Disappearing Act, 239,
21. Benaiah's Cave, 247,
22. Book of the Angel Raziel, 257,
23. Adrik, 277,
24. The Mountain's Shadow, 291,
25. Demon Dogs, 303,
26. The Ziz, 317,
27. Pax, 331,
28. Morning Star, 343,
29. Paradise, 357,
30. The Angel Vero, 369,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Ithot it was the best
Must read them aall!
For some reason, I keep winding up with books that are part of a series- and I land someplace in the center or end of it all! I really don't like that, but this book was good enough to help me along without feeling too lost. The story's summary says everything Vero has trained for in the Ether has led to this. In the third and final book of Laurice E. Molinari s Ether series, the young guardian angel Vero is given the quest of locating the Book of Raziel which was lost when Adam was forced to leave the garden of Eden. And not even Raziel himself knows where the book is now. It soon becomes clear, however, that Lucifer is intent on finding the book for his own means. So I liked this book! It's full of action and the story about guardian angels is amazing! I never imagined angels living with earthly families, like changelings and then leaving. Well in this story, Vero is called out on a quest and pretty much has to beat Satan to it. It's his final test. For full review: http://tinyurl.com/hsfj725 **Book provided by BookLookBloggers.com, for an honest review.
From my wife: “The Dragon’s Descent” is a fantastic conclusion to The Ether series by Laurice Molinari. My daughter and I really enjoyed the first two books (“Vero Rising” and “The Pillars of Fire”) but we both felt the conclusion to the series was the best Ether book yet. We particularly enjoyed how the author brought Vero’s two worlds together. As with the prior Ether books, it was a fun read with very creative ideas. We’re hoping the author will consider creating another series about Vero’s subsequent adventures! GREAT BOOK – WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!
My thoughts: The Dragon's Descent is a good book. I wouldn't recommend this for eight-year-olds because it might give them nightmares, but other than that it is thrilling. It captured my interest and didn't let go until I reached the end of the book. It is very challenging for the guardian angels to actually become guardian angels, because the angels-in-training have to stay in their earthly families and they don't live to adulthood. But the highlight of guardian angels being guardian angels is that they get to know the future of the person they are guarding. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good thrill. I am going to look up the first two books in this series: The Ether and Pillars of Fire. 5 stars.