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Extended Audio Sample Angels of Destruction: A Novel Audiobook, by Keith Donohue Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (756 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Keith Donohue Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9780739377208
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Keith Donohue’s first novel, The Stolen Child, was a national bestseller hailed as “captivating” (USA Today), “luminous and thrilling” (Washington Post), and “wonderful...So spare and unsentimental that it’s impossible not to be moved (Newsweek. His new novel, Angels of Destruction, opens on a winter’s night, when a young girl appears at the home of Mrs. Margaret Quinn, a widow who lives alone. A decade earlier, she had lost her only child, Erica, who fled with her high school sweetheart to join a radical student group known as the Angels of Destruction. Before Margaret answers the knock in the dark hours, she whispers a prayer and then makes her visitor welcome at the door.

The girl, who claims to be nine years old and an orphan with no place to go, beguiles Margaret, offering some solace, some compensation, for the woman’s loss. Together, they hatch a plan to pass her off as her newly found granddaughter, Norah Quinn, and enlist Sean Fallon, a classmate and heartbroken boy, to guide her into the school and town.

Their conspiracy is vulnerable not only to those children and neighbors intrigued by Norah’s mysterious and magical qualities but by a lone figure shadowing the girl who threatens to reveal the child’s true identity and her purpose in Margaret’s life. Who are these strangers really? And what is their connection to the past, the Angels, and the long-missing daughter?

Angels of Destruction is an unforgettable story of hope and fear, heartache and redemption. The saga of the Quinn family unfolds against an America wracked by change. As it delicately dances on the line between the real and the imagined, this mesmerizing new novel confirms Keith Donohue’s standing as one of our most inspiring and inventive novelists.


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Quotes & Awards

  • “[A] beguiling tale of those who love well, but not wisely, unspooling like a poem embroidered on the heart — ornate, painful and true. . . . While some readers might liken Donohue’s penchant for mystical realism to that of novelist Alice Hoffman, any sweeping comparisons shortchange both writers, whose immense gifts bear separate and distinct literary imprimaturs. Still, he shares Hoffman’s uncanny ear for capturing the libretto of childhood . . . BookPage
  • Angels of Destruction is replete with ghostly presences, harbingers of doom, angels good and bad. Surveys indicate that more than half of us believe in angels, so this otherworldly novel should find a ready audience. Boston Globe
  • “Donohue never quite reveals the mystery at the heart of Norah's sudden appearance, and that makes Angels of Destruction all the more satisfying and, yes, believable. Literary and historical clues are scattered throughout: references to the atomic bomb; a spectral man in fedora and camel-hair coat who pursues Norah and haunts Margaret; and an oblique nod to the Liber Juratus, a 14th-century manuscript containing a roll call of angels. The talisman that both Norah and Una pass on to those they love is a child's teacup with a chip in it, which invokes Auden's great poem As I Walked Out One Evening: ‘The crack in the tea-cup opens/A lane to the land of the dead. Angels of Destruction doesn't shrink from the tragedies and inevitable separations that dog us. The book's coda is beautiful and wrenching, yet still leaves its protagonists and readers open to the possibility that the miraculous, once glimpsed, might recur. ‘Love is not consolation, it is light,’ wrote Simone Weil. In these bleak times, we can thank Donohue for opening a door in a darkened room.
  • Fans of the author’s debut novel, The Stolen Child, will enjoy the same balancing act between reality and fantasy. . . . Donohue marries some fantastical themes with an unadorned style of writing that should appeal to realists and fantasy fans alike. Chicago Sun-Times
  • “With ‘Angels,’ Donohue delivers a magical tale of love and redemption that is as wonderfully written as it is captivating. . . . Donohue is delightfully descriptive in his writing. His word choices are carefully considered . . . and his pacing rivets you to page after page. . . . ‘Angels’ earns its wings. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
  • Norah’s unexplained origins form the enigmatic core of this story . . . the novel movingly illustrates the quest for connection hardwired into every human heart. Publishers Weekly
  • [A] strange and finely written novel. Donohue has a talent for using small details to draw his characters, and the result is a dark and unsettling story that takes hold of the reader. Library Journal
  • “Fused with spectral imagery and magnetic characters, Donohue’s ethereal foray into the unexpected consequences of love, impenetrable depths of loss, and infinite possibilities of faith is a chilling yet affirmative experience. Booklist
  • Angels of Destruction is charming, suspenseful, and even touching. New York Daily News

    Praise for The Stolen Child
  • An ingenious, spirited allegory for adolescent angst, aging, the purpose of art. Entertainment Weekly
  • Unusual and engaging . . . puts flesh to the bones of old fears. Miami Sun-Herald
  • A captivating tale . . . poignant and beautifully told. USA Today
  • A wonderful, fantasy-laden debut . . . so spare and unsentimental that it’s impossible not to be moved. Newsweek
  • Utterly absorbing . . . a luminous and thrilling novel about our humanity. Washington Post
  • The book’s emotional impact is as fierce as the imagination behind it. The result is magical. People

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 2/20/2014

    " Beautifully written. I would not say that this was a "page-turner", but rather, a reflective, languorous piece. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn Phelps | 2/14/2014

    " This well-written book walked the fine line between fantasy and reality for most of the book. Redemption and reconcilliation are the two major themes. Towards the end, the book loses its balance and includes unnecessary theatrics by the character Norah. Still, overall a good book with a strong ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 2/3/2014

    " Interesting and compelling, but in the end I felt it was left unresolved and too "mysterious." I thought the author could have pushed harder and committed to a vision of what was really going on with all of the potential angels in his book. I guess I just like concrete endings! But, I felt it was well written and I liked the idea that angels move around us all the time, in different forms. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Brooke | 1/31/2014

    " I think that after this book, I might be satisfied with knowing that Keith Donohue is not an author for me. Like his first book, The Stolen Child A Novel, Angels of Destruction left me cold. It's technically well-written, but it didn't really do anything for me. I wasn't compelled to pick it up when I had some free time, and I was only too glad to put it down to go to bed. It went exactly where I expected it to go - nothing was surprising or touching, and I didn't feel anything for any of the characters. It wasn't bad by any means, which is why it gets three stars instead of two, but I don't think I will be revisiting the author. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maryll | 1/20/2014

    " Extremely well-written. Anyone interested in matters of faith should read this. I was completely captivated! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Barbara | 1/12/2014

    " I would give this a 3.5 -- maybe it should be a 4. After reading Donohue's "the Stolen Child", I expected more. The story, while fascinating, never quite came together. Perhaps he meant to keep the reader wondering. I did wonder if this was fantasy, religion, or just a tale. Being a lit major, I looked for what symbolism might tie everything together, but what there was, was heavy handed and nothing was very satisfying. Nonetheless, i enjoyed reading it -- just felt like it was left unfinished. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nikki | 1/12/2014

    " I was back and forth btw a 3 and 4 star. I was pulled through this book to finish it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 1/10/2014

    " A unique novel. Are there really "angels," both good and bad? If so, it looks as if a good angel has arrived to enable a reconciliation after 10 years. Norah is definitely not just another little girl! I enjoyed this book, though I'm not sure it totally worked for me... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vicki | 12/29/2013

    " 3.5 stars. I was intrigued and the book kept moving for me, but there were definitely some unanswered questions and things left unresolved for me. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jenne | 12/26/2013

    " Well written and unusual, but really not my thing at all. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 12/2/2013

    " This book didn't keep my attention - it was too slow in getting to the point. I won't let this affect my love for Keith Donohue's The Stolen Child; one of my all time favorite books. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Robin | 11/25/2013

    " Just finished this book. It was good. If you like books the move between realities, like the Grift, you may enjoy this book. The author wrote the Stolen Child. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christine | 11/22/2013

    " An okay book but definitely not as interesting as this author's first book The Stolen Child. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brenda | 11/20/2013

    " I couldn't quite get into the book. I finished the first section but didn't really understand what was going on. I got to the point that I didn't really care if I found out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer Molleson | 11/8/2013

    " Good read but nothing compared to the stolen child "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 DJ | 7/27/2013

    " Another wonderful, thought-provoking book from Keith Donohue. Thanks, Keith! Can hardly wait to read the next one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 4/14/2013

    " I like Donohue's books, I do. But I don't have the imagination to deal with the endings. I like my books wrapped in a nice little bow. And he doesn't do that. So while the books are engrossing, just give me the ending!!! Don't make me puzzle about it. Because I just don't puzzle well! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 4/5/2013

    " I had this book on my "to read" shelf, but this afternoon I was going through my bookshelf and found a copy. I have already read it. Kind of forgettable! I absolutely loved "The Stolen Child", but this one not so much. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Abby | 1/29/2013

    " I'm not a big believer in angels and such but this was interesting. A very unusual view on 20 years of a family's life and how they change due to "angels". The end lost me a little and got corny but the first 2/3 was good. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle | 8/30/2012

    " I try not to compare novels by the same author, but couldn't help myself with Donohue. I so enjoyed The Stolen Child, but Angels of Destruction (hate the title!!) fell flat for me. It was very read-able, but the characters weren't as compelling. The end left a few too many questions unanswered. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kathleen | 5/30/2012

    " couldn't wait for it to be over. I read the whole thing though so something about compelled me to do this. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Molly | 11/18/2011

    " The longest book I've ever read where nothing happened. A truly unsatisfying conclusion to the one little mystery the book presented. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jaime | 4/23/2011

    " odd. wasn't really sure what I was getting into and still not sure what I just got out of. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth | 1/5/2011

    " Beautifully written. I would not say that this was a "page-turner", but rather, a reflective, languorous piece. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mai Ling | 12/28/2010

    " Once again, Donohue casts a magical tale that has just enough sadness to keep the pages turning, and just enough joy to keep me waiting for the next one. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 11/28/2010

    " This was one of those "random library shelf" finds. I loved it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Linda | 9/9/2010

    " Not a quick read but worth the time. Much better than his first novel. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jenny | 7/7/2010

    " Loved his first book but this one just could not hold my interest. I'm not the kind of reader that gives up on a book but I had to put this one down before finishing. Disappointing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelley | 6/30/2010

    " The writing was good and the story had me hooked but I was hoping for a twist or more of an ending. The book just ended and I felt like there was more of the story to tell. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alena | 6/15/2010

    " This book starts strong but fizzles at the end. It sort of feels like a romance that falls just *this* short of greatness. Too bad, because "The Stolen Child" is so magnificent. "

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About the Author
Author Keith Donohue

Keith Donohue is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Stolen Child, The Angels of Destruction, and Centuries of June. His work has been translated into two dozen languages, and his articles have appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post, among other publications. A graduate of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Donohue also holds a PhD in English from the Catholic University of America. He lives in Maryland.

About the Narrator

Cassandra Campbell, Audie Award–nominated narrator and winner of several Earphones Awards, has performed in regional theaters across the country and in several off-Broadway shows at the Public Theater and the Mint Theater. In addition to narrating audiobooks, acting, and directing, she is a commercial and documentary voice-over artist.