The premise of this book is Matt Hollis, the protagonist of the first book, is forced to team up with a group of Vatican-backed monster hunters. The relationship is tense because the Valducan order is a group of excommunicates from the Catholic faith for a long-ago offense. The Catholic Church and Valducan have a bigger enemy than each other, though.
A hunter of demons from centuries ago has become corrupted by his misuse of black magic and, worse, has corrupted a holy weapon to create a monstrous evil from the sword Redemptor. He's killed dozens of hunters and destroyed many holy weapons. Can our heroes stop him? If they do, what will they do with the fallen sword? The holy weapons are too valuable to destroy but this one has proven to be not only corrupted but a danger to all hunters everywhere.
I really liked this book and enjoyed the dramatic irony Seth Skorkowsky made of the holy weapons. We, the audience, know the holy weapons are greater demons rather than angels. However, the Catholic Church is entertainingly wrong about them. However, there's just a hint that angels are real enough that the conflict muddies the waters considerably. Matt doesn't have any interest in theology, though, so he mostly just keeps a laser focus on killing the villain.
I'm a huge fan of the Valducan series and recommend it as one of the darker, more mysterious urban fantasy series out there. It has excellent world-building, hardened antiheroes, and a coherent mythology that keeps building without undermining what has come before. The protagonists thought they'd struck a killing blow against the monsters in the first book but it turns out they're much more adaptable than the order ever gave them credit for.
Matt Hollis is my favorite of the Valducan book protagonists and I'm very glad to see him make a return. While I liked the other book leads, I have to say I wouldn't mind following him as the permanent "star" of the series. He has a sly, dry wit about him and his crappy upbringing means that he's got a cynical edge that gives the story its signature feel.
This is a straight forward adventure story in the style of Indiana Jones with Mayan ruins, evil immortal conquistadors, and lots of supernatural relics. I believe it's one of the best stories in the series but it's also definitely a lot more black and white than most of the Valducan stories. For a series that tends to focus on the moral ambiguity of its heroes even as they face genuine monsters, this is mostly a monster hunt. That doesn't hurt its score in the slightest, though, and I loved its Pulpy modern age goodness.