The Vessel of Ra (Klaereon Scroll, Book 1)
by Catherine Schaff-Stump
The book, set in the 1800s, starts with a nice young man, Carlo, a hidden descendant of the Italian renaissance’s famed evil Borgia family, rescuing Lucy Klaereon who tries to drown herself in a Venice canal rather than allow herself to be possessed. This leads to the magical Borgia family clashing with Lucy’s English family… a family that has made a historical pact with demons.
Lucy’s family has a long history of binding demons to their offspring. Upon birth, some of the family are paired with a demon who takes the form of an animal familiar. The girl, when she turns 16, is promised to be the vessel of Ra—yes, the Egyptian Ra—who is not exactly a demon. These “demons” must be bound to the family member’s will on their sixteenth birthdays, or the person will be killed to keep the demon from possessing a human host. Lucy knows that she cannot win against Ra, will not allow herself to be possessed, and that her older sister Octavia will be forced to kill her when she loses.
Carlo’s grandfather Paolo Borgia helps Lucy, but you soon discover it’s for his own reasons. Then Lucy and Carlo are caught up in conspiracies from both sides of their families. Some want Lucy dead, others want her alive, but all of them wish to use her. Lucy even dies, but that does not stop her for long. And worse than his scheming family, Carlo finds out things about himself that are hard to deal with.
Meanwhile Lucy’s sister Octavia has been keeping secrets of her own, and those machinations may be the most devastating of all.
Great book. There’s a sequel! I’ll have to read that, too.