The Archangel Protocol is the first in the AngeLINK series by Lyda Morehouse. Set in a post World War III universe, where all countries except Russia have become theocracies, the series explores the Biblical Apocalypse though the lens of Science Fiction.
With access to the LINK, implanted virtual reality internet, being essential for employment, and access to if conditional on being a member of an established religion, Deidre McMannus had her life destroyed when she was excommunicated for a crime she didn't commit. And with angels suddenly appearing on the LINK, and a man named Michael on her doorstep, her life seems to be changing again...
The novel won the 2001 Shamus for best paperback original (a mystery award given by the Private Eye Writers of America), the Barnes & Noble Maiden Voyage Award for best debut science fiction, and was nominated for the Romantic Times Critic's Choice Award. She followed up Archangel Protocol with three more books in the AngeLINK universe: Fallen Host (2002), Messiah Node (2003), and Apocalypse Array (2004). Apocalypse Array made the short list for the Philip K. Dick award.
Tropes in the novel include:
- Apocalypse How : Class Z - God's Final Judgement. He doesn't want to, but he can't break his word. And Satan is hoping that'll wipe the slate clean between him and God, and get him back into Heaven. But all the prophecies say he'll lose, and he doesn't want that either.
- BrainComputer Interface - The LINK brain implant is done at birth, and gives access to the VR internet, or LINK, when it is activated at 18. And, of course, it is permanently disabled if a person is excommunicated or an atheist. Society is stratified due to this, as the poor can't afford an implant and have to use external interfaces. These carry a stigma and is much less efficient. All commerce and communication is done via the LINK, and if cut off, all that remains is MouseNET, Mouse's free part of the LINK, and all that remains of today's unregulated internet. How it connects to the LINK is unknown, which is the only reason it's still exists. Comparatively low in bandwidth compared to the rest of the LINK, Russia's entire economy runs via MouseNET. MouseNET is actually malware, stealing a bit of resources from every system on the LINK.
- Religious Robot - Page, the hacker Mouse's AI is a Muslim. Page, though, is quite a believer and very much more so than Mouse. And he's anxious to find out if he'll be judged to have a soul.
- The Theocracy - Every government in the world (except for Russia) has a state religion, and citizenship is conditional on being religious. Essentially, the atheists got the blame for World War III, and this is the result. Russia is politically isolated because they maintained their secularism.