I love to hate this book. I am happy/sad this recap is over, but I guarantee I will have something else ridiculous before long, because it's just what I do. Click to read Parts One, Two and Three of each recap, if you've missed them. The full text is here.
Okay, so where we left off, Lorenzo was arranging his plan to arrest the Mother Superior for the murder of his sister, Agnes. Antonia was pulling a Juliet, being drugged and put in a tomb by Father Ambrosio because he is the absolute WORST. Matilda/Rosario keeps trying to get Ambrosio to give up any pretension that he is actually still good with God and join her as a devil worshiper, but he won’t because hypocrisy is big with Catholics (the author's message, not mine).
The Festival of St. Clare happens and the nuns go on their nun parade and Lorenzo strides up to them in front of the crowd and he says, “Mother Superior? I have Papal authority to INQUISITION YOUR ASS.” And everyone goes, “*gasp* Inquisition, oh nooooooooo!” And this is the only time in the history of the world that the Inquisition is actually a good thing.
Sister Ursula stands up on the parade float they have (seriously) and tells the crowd how the Mother Superior imprisoned Agnes and, even though she knew Agnes was pregnant, forced her to drink poison. A couple of the other nuns tried to stop it, but most were for it, because nuns are twisted. The crowd goes MENTAL and kills the Mother Superior by tearing her to shreds and all the nuns run for their liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiives.
The mob storms the convent/monastery/church, breaks down the doors, and kills every nun they can find. They loot the place and set it on fire. Lorenzo is still in the crowd going, “Well, that escalated quickly. Maybe I should go help some of the novice nuns escape, since they had nothing to do with Agnes's death and this book is quickly becoming a freaking bloodbath.”
So while he’s in there, he hears this weird noise coming from a statue and the novice nuns are like, “Oh, that statue is haunted” and I’m like, “Jesus Christ, there can’t be another ridiculous haunting, can there?” But nope, it’s better: because you see, I forgot that we were in a Gothic novel and there have been far too few dungeons/secret passages/people chained up. So he finds a doorway hidden in the statue that leads to an isolated basement where a woman with a baby is chained up.
Gee. I wonder who it is.
(It’s the totally-not-dead Agnes!) (Wait, how has she had her baby already? By my count she was 5 months pregnant.)
And Agnes goes, “Brother! Rescue me! The Mother Superior only pretended to kill me because—”
[THIS STORY HAS BEEN REDACTED BECAUSE IT’S CONVOLUTED AND TANGENTIAL AND THE MONASTERY/CONVENT IS ON FIRE, WE HAVE MORE PRESSING ISSUES].
Meanwhile, Antonia is just waking up from her roofie and Ambrosio is in the corner twirling his mustache. He's been waiting three days for her to wake up so he could have his beastly way with her, and I don't know WHY because the last time he attempted to sex her, he used his magical hell-flower to knock her unconscious and had no issue with her being asleep then. But now he's all like, "No, she must be awake! I can't do it if she's not awake!" And basically Matthew Lewis is just crap at remembering what he's already written and is clumsily trying to have all the action come together at once. So Ambrosio is like, "Hey, baby, did you have a nice sleep? We're going to have sex now." And Antonia cries and begs and tries to get free, and I’d like to be able to tell you that she makes a miraculous escape, but she doesn’t. 😦
Afterwards, just in case we didn’t realize how horrible a person Ambrosio was, he victim-blames Antonia by telling her that she MADE HIM do it by being so attractive. Look, I wasn’t expecting miracles from Matthew Lewis, but he handles this whole situation . . . poorly. He portrays Ambrosio as still a somewhat good guy who pities Antonia for what he just did to her, and he feels really really bad now, and would give anything to give her her innocence back. Oh, well then. I guess it’s all okay so long as he feels BAD ABOUT IT. This was the point where I almost put the book down, but I only had a couple of chapters left, and god knows I’m a glutton for punishment. Also, I can guarantee the Inquisition will do something bad to Ambrosio when he gets caught. I hope they Wicker Man his ass. Wicker Man him reaaaaaal gooooood.
Matilda/Rosario runs in the tomb, saying, “Uh, there’s a riot going on upstairs. I think we should stab Antonia to keep her from telling anyone what happened here and let’s LEAVE.” You know what? I like Matilda/Rosario because she is practical, and also I would like to stab Antonia myself half the time. I want a sequel about how Matilda/Rosario goes around on adventures, converting people to Satanism and being generally FABULOUS. That's a book I could get behind. She's come a long way from the whiny little monk Rosario we were first introduced to. Anyway, Ambrosio says, no, he’d rather keep Antonia chained up in there to be his sex slave forever (so much for feeling bad about things). And while they're debating what to do with her, Antonia decides to leg it out of the vault which Matilda/Rosario left open.
Ambrosio is like, “SHITSHITSHITSHIT” and runs after her, finally stabbing her before she could tell anyone. The only problem is, he stabs her in the middle of the courtyard, in the middle of a riot, in front of about 10,000 witnesses. He is immediately arrested.
Lorenzo arrives just in time to see his beloved stabbed and is able to hold her while she dies. She gives this really horrible speech about how she’s glad she’s dying because she has been sullied and doesn’t deserve to be his wife
and a woman is only as good as the state of her vagina and she’ll meet him in heaven, blah blah. And he is saaaaaaaaaaaad.
But then, almost instantly, the story tells us that it’s okay, because he meets the virtuous cousin of the evil Mother Superior, who came out of NOWHERE and is even more beautiful than Antonia, and they get married and have lots of babies, and Raymond/Alphonso and Agnes get married and everyone is soooooooo happyyyyyyyyyyy except for Antonia, who is dead.
Then, guys, the ending. Oh, sweet Jesus, the ending.
Ambrosio is imprisoned by the Inquisition and tortured and it is gross. Lots of talk about mangled limbs. Thanks for that, Matthew Lewis. They discover some of Matilda/Rosario’s little witchy tools and charge them both with sorcery and murder. Matilda/Rosario keeps telling him to sell his soul to Satan, because the big guy downstairs can get them out of this pickle, but Ambrosio refuses. Finally she tells him that she has to get out of there, so she gives him a book and says if he wants to sell his soul, he’s going to have to do it on his own. She disappears in a cloud of flames. OMG I NEED A SEQUEL ABOUT HER NOW. She can hook up with Lestat and they can do evil, sexy things for eternity and have really great clothes. If anyone out there writes a fanfic about her, I will post it on this blog.
ANYWAY Ambrosio is to be burned at the stake in the morning, so after a lot of hemming and hawing, right before his jailers come to get him, he summons the devil. He hears the jailers coming and the devil is like, “Do you renounce God?” and Ambrosio is like, “Uhhhhh” and then he hears the key in the lock and the devil is like, “Do you renounce God?” and he’s like, “Ummmmm” and then the door is thrown open and the devil is like, “Renounce him, BITCH.” And Ambrosio is like, “I renounce God, I give you my soul, just get me out of here!”
So in an overly dramatic escape, Satan makes the roof open up instead of, you know, just materializing them both elsewhere, and he grabs Ambrosio and flies him out of there. He flies him to the top of a mountain where the devil starts to be a real jerk. He’s like, “You only asked to get out of there, Ambrosio. You didn’t say where you wanted to go and you didn’t ask to live any longer than you would have if you stayed there, so I’m going to tell you some stuff to make you feel really bad about your decisions and then I’m going to kill you and take your soul down to hell with me.” Knock it off, Satan, you're harshing his buzz!
The devil says, “I started targeting you because you were proud, thinking that you were so high and moral above other men.” (So, if Ambrosio had sinned a little, he wouldn’t have been urged to sin more . . . ? The best way to be holy is not to be holy? Okay.) “Just so you know, the jailers were coming to your cell with your pardon, but at the last second you were weak and let your fear get the better of you. You would be free right now if you hadn’t been a coward. Oh, by the way, Elvira was your mother and Antonia was your sister!!! YOU DID THE INCEST.”
I’m sorry—whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? There is NO precedent or back story that supports this. How on EARTH was Elvira his mother? They gave absolutely no hint that this was going to be a plot twist. I think Lewis just threw this in because. Because? Because.
So then Satan sinks his talons into Ambrosio’s scalp, lifts him up by his head and flings him off the mountain where he breaks all the rest of his bones that the Inquisition didn’t break, and tumbles to rest in a sludgy stream where bugs and animals gnaw on him for a few days while he dies of exposure. If you’ll pardon the pun, it is complete overkill. It is gross and unnecessary and heavy-handed and I hate it and why did Antonia have to be his sister? Was rape on its own not horrible enough or something? Nope, I guess not.
The moral of the story: rape is forgivable, as long as you make sure you're not related to your victim. You'll be fine.
The End. The freaking end.
ETA: "The Mother Superior Doesn't Really Kill Agnes" redacted story is in the comments below. Enough people wanted to know what happened that I did a sum-up paragraph.