Running through the night without much chance of survival or escape, Mariutza feels their presence closing in upon her. Her grandfather has been murdered by these obscene cloaked figures, but his last words still linger within her ears—it’s as if he spoke just moments ago. Her life is forfeit at the hands of his murderers, but she will do what she must to bury her grandfather standing.
The badness is oozing its way into the heart of New Orleans, the many government agencies becoming toys in the hands of those infected. Jazz is not familiar with the badness, but his internal alarms begin ringing when he becomes the hunted. The puzzle laid out by his grandfather becomes a challenge for truths that could change everything Jazz has ever known about himself.
Those of the standing often stay hidden among the forests and swamps, training and practicing their arts, learning stories that have been passed down for generations, and actually living according to oaths described in the Bible. Their lives and powers are intertwined, though their youthful ignorance and naivete makes them appear to be much less than they really are. The standing live according to a pact made with God, and Jazz is at the center of their mighty tales.
When Jazz encounters Mariutza, the world seems to spin out of control. He knows her, but he does not know how this meeting could be possible. Together, Jazz and Mariutza must decipher the clues his grandfather has left while fighting for their lives. Only by joining forces with other standing will they have a chance to learn the truth and help Jazz discover who he really is.
This novel by John B. Olson follows Shade, the first in this series. Olson creates an unusual mix within the plot by incorporating both the supernatural and a Biblical storyline into one. The opposition of the two elements creates a range of characters, events, and developments that are somewhat baffling until the novel nears its end.
The storyline itself is intriguing and can be a successful draw to readers of many faiths and beliefs. While some specific points of the story and/or characters undoubtedly target Christianity as the belief system upon which this story is constructed, the novel itself does not press the opinion. For a clean, entertaining tale filled with non-stop twists, Powers is a definite success.