The Valkyries by Paulo Coelho

Each man kills the things he loves. -- Oscar Wilde

And an angel descended where they were and the glory of the lord was upon them. -- Luke 2:9

A tale of love, fear, conquering fear, and encountering angels.

Paulo Coelho poses a question: why do we destroy that which we love?

He is set a task by his master, a man we only know as J. To break the curse that we destroy that which we love.

Before they part, J hands Paulo a paper napkin on which he has quickly written:

And each man kills the thing he loves,
By all let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword.

J came to Paulo Coelho in a dream when he visited the concentration camp at Dachau. Two months later he met J in person in a café in Amsterdam.

To break this curse he has to set out on the Mojave Desert and find the Valkyries, warrior women who ride around on powerful motorbikes and in the desert converse with angels.

This is the second journey Paulo Coelho is sent on by J. The first, recounted in The Pilgrimage, was on the Road to Santiago, to recover his lost sword. As with the first journey, J is somewhat vague as to the details.

Paulo Coelho also wants to meet with his angel.

Before he sets off on his journey, Paulo hands J the manuscript for The Alchemist, his only copy.

Before he can find the Valkyries, Paulo must find Gene, who will serve as his guide. Gene fulfills a similar role to Petrus, Paulo's guide on the Road to Santiago.

In the desert, Paulo learns that to break the curse, to meet his angel, he must:

Written in the style of a novel, Coelho writes that this is a true account of what actually took place.

Several copies of The Valkyries have been registered as BookCrossing books.

BookCrossing books are released into the wild and their progress checked on the Internet via a unique BookCrossing ID (BCID).

Books Worth Reading ~ Paulo Coelho
(c) Keith Parkins 2007-2008 -- January 2008 rev 2