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A triad of writers each writing what they are best known for
on 14 July 2003
Christine Feehan does another Carpathian tale – Dark Descent. Triain is another of the hunters sent out so many centuries ago when the fate of the Carpathians was first anticipated by their prince. Traian’s lifemate is Joie Sanders who is a bodyguard and security expert. She comes well armed and prepared to defend herself and those she loves. They meet in the Carpathian mountains, which is a nice return, although much of the story is set in an extensive cave system, or in Joie’s hotel. Joie is sure she is going crazy, because after an ‘astral’ meeting on her part, she keeps hearing a voice in her head. Triain is delighted to find his lifemate, although presently taken up with fighting a master vampire. Until Joie comes looking for her delusion, bringing her family too. The trio of humans are great, their relationship very strong and well developed in a short time. Gary (from Dark Magic) reappears here, and I was very glad to continue his byline in the connected tale. A great, if short, addition to the series.
The Star Queen by Susan Grant jumps into the formation of the alliance that forms the Galatic Council and the writers of the Treatise of Trade (used so cleverly in ‘Star Prince’). I have enjoyed that a number of Grant’s sequels (Contact and this story) have been prequels, each going back a step – we have the foreknowledge of our dealings with the ancestors and what they have wrought to add to the enjoyment of the struggle to get there.
The premise of Susan Squires ‘Sacrilege’ is a very interesting one. It treats vampirism and the need for blood in a religious way so that the blood lust can be overcome or at least managed. Magda has been one of the worst, but after over 800 years of tutelage, has emerged without wreaking havoc and drinking human blood for that time. Pietr, one of the Old Ones, was her tutor. She had long known she loves him, but it was only when she was sent out from Mirso Monastery into the world once more that he realises that he loves her too. Self flagellation and a series of essentially tortures follow, but ultimately he follows her into the world, casting aside at least a portion of his vows to go to her. But his own mentor is not best pleased with the defection of one of his brightest stars, and sets a horror on his trail.
If you like any of the above authors, you’ll enjoy their stories. I did not like them all equally – The Star Queen seemed to have great pieces of the story left out, constrained by it’s short length, which was a shame. And Sacrilege did not have enough ‘good times’ to counterbalance the pain – for example what Pietr went through before making his decision to leave the monastery. But I would have loved for them all to have been book length, and think that especially the last two suffered because of the page constraint. This is not to say I do not recommend the book – each author does her bit well, exhibiting in each case more of the reason why regular readers follow their work.