Title: The Cult
Author: Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year: Hartwick Publishing 9/14/21
Length: 268 Pages
Series: The Cult #1
I see his wicked smile in the theatre. I see it in the apartment across from mine.
I see it everywhere.
Before I can run, I’m taken.
And when I wake up…I’m in the middle of nowhere.
The man who’s taken me claims to be a demon.
And claims I’m his angel.
What happens when he finds out I don’t have wings?
I’m not the only prisoner in this forest. There’s a little girl too. Her name is Claire. She’s beautiful, happy, wonderful. It’s my responsibility to protect her–and I will give my life to accomplish that.
She says her father will save us both.
She says he’s powerful, formidable, that he’ll burn this entire forest to get to her.
I hope she’s right.
WOW – that’s all I can say about this one – it’s a sick and twisted version of all that we love from Penelope Sky and i’m here for it. If you remember back to the Chateau series – we were in the Alps in a camp that was used to package and distribute drugs. Women were kidnapped and kept there to do the dirty work because they came at no cost- and their lives were held solely in the hands Fender and his brother.
Once they abandoned the camp, someone came in to take the land over. Someone who believed in all that was good and perfect and beautiful in the world – Angels. Because they themselves were demons. The worst form of Hell and they needed Angels for redemption. And so, the history of kidnapping women and bringing them to the camp continues, in a new form, because Forneus and his men kidnap women that they believe are angels who can help get them forgiveness for all they’ve done.
We start this story with our leading lady Constance – she’s a ballerina and she’s just finished a performance when a man, Benton, walks in – holding up a picture of another ballerina who has gone missing. We don’t know the story there – but we know that he’s in despair. This is the night that Constance’s life changes forever.
Benton’s ex-lover has been kidnapped along with his daughter Claire and he’s trying to hunt them down. No one can help him find her and while he wants to find Beatrice, he wants his daughter more. Constance has this memory in her mind when she performs the next night and discovers a man, all in black, staring at her with a smile that is so creepy that she’s scared out of her mind. She goes home and discovers him in the apartment across the way staring at her, and then when the police won’t take her seriously, we know her moment is about to come. The next night at her performance, the man is there again, with an entire team of men dressed in black, with horns on their heads. The police won’t help her so she tries to find Benton, knowing that he knows she’s not lying.
She goes to him to try to get protection and that’s not enough – she’s captured and we now have no idea what her fate will be or the fate of Beatrice and Claire.
We then learn that Benton is connected to a man from The Chateau. Bartholemew and the Chaussers. The group that tried to overthrow Fender and Magnus and destroyed the camp in entirety. He’s able to find out about The Cult and what they are doing, and where they are. Be barters to get Beatrice and Claire’s freedom, by trading distribution help for Forneus and his team. (they deal in LSD). When Benton goes to retrieve his daughter, he’s told that she’s dead and handed a bag of bones. Once they realize that they’ve been crossed, the story takes another turn.
On the inside of the camp, the women learn that the cult, the demons believe that they are truly angels who will help save them from hell. Each demon has an angel and each demon has their own method of getting forgiven for their sins. Constance has Forneus who’s the leader – and he’s not resorted to harming her in any way which is a plus, but we haven’t figured him out yet. He’s terrifying and he even gives her the pill (LSD) in the hopes that she can lead him to being saved, but that doesn’t work.
Beatrice’s demon on the other hand is dark and mean. He gets angry when she’s not able to make her true wings come out and he cuts her back open to force them to come out. He allows another demon to try to do the same with Beatrice’s young daughter and Constance comes to her defense and kills the demon that goes after her.
we watch a transfer of power and authority here – the men are afraid of the angels, but they are even more afraid of Constance. She has a knife and she’s killed a demon, and for that, they cower. She’s not afraid of them and she protects Claire in that sense because she knows that she can’t be hurt. The question now becomes how can they break out and how can they get their freedom. We know that Benton tried and failed since he believes they are dead, but the tide will turn once he knows they are alive.
The story for the back half is a roller coaster. Benton some how manages to get Beatrice and Claire free and Claire won’t leave without Constance. Beatrice is on the brink of death after being tortured some more by her demon, and yet Constance has managed to keep Claire alive, happy and protected. So Benton has no choice but to bring her with them but he wants nothing to do with her once they are back in Paris.
Forneus believes that Benton has something that’s his – Constance. And he’s not willing to give it up. He finds her in Paris, hunts her down, and scares her even more. The only safe place for Constance to go is Benton’s house but he wants nothing to do with her. We are left at a point in this story where we know that Constance means quite a bit to a lot of people, but will she mean enough to the people who can save her. We just don’t know yet and that’s where we have to wait until November when book 2 comes out. So…on that note – please read this one. it’s sick and twisted in a way that none of Penelope Sky’s books have ever been and it’s a treat. Enjoy!