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No one ever said being an Enforcer vampire was easy
on 9 May 2004
The Hunt is the first novel in Susan Sizemore's notably unusual Laws of the Blood series, and she melds romance alongside horror to create what some might be called a work of sensuous dark fantasy. Sizemore has published novels in a wide range of genres, and I have to admit I had some doubts about this series going on; it's not often you encounter a romance writer treading the darker paths of literature. Sizemore obviously knows what she is doing, though, and the end result in this case is a refreshingly different take on the subject of vampires.
Vampires do have rules to live by, embodied in the Laws of the Blood. The laws are for the vampires' protection as much as the teeming millions of humans who unknowingly occupy the vampires' world. If word of the vampires' real-life existence got out, mankind would not rest until these "monsters" of the night were destroyed. Of course, vampires roiling in the overpowering desire of bloodlust can't really be depended upon to play it cool in all situations, and that is why there are Enforcers in each area. The word of the Enforcer vampire is law and must be obeyed. This is especially important during periods of the Hunt. Vampires are not permitted to kill humans according to their whims, but they must hunt and sate their bloodthirst periodically. It is up to the Enforcer to name the number of victims, identify them, and set everything up for the Hunt. In the Los Angeles area, the Enforcer is named Selim. His job is not an easy one. A couple of the local vampires resent his power over them and seek a means to overturn the ancient Laws and feed when and where they choose. He also has a five-year-old dhampir, the first dhampir born in many, many years, to worry about and protect - vampires do not like dhampirs as a rule, generally viewing them as huge threats to their kind. Then there is Siri, Selim's Companion. Virtually all vampires have one or more companions, human beings who love and serve their undead masters until such time as they become vampires themselves. Cut a Companion loose too early or keep them close for too long out of your own love and need, and you risk creating a strigoi, a loner vampire who usually turns out pretty messed up in the head.
Selim has all of these problems weighing on him, distracting him. His complex relationship with Siri is gravely threatened by Siri's disapproval of Selim's recent behavior and orders as an Enforcer - she finds the killing of innocents horrifying. In a larger sense, though, it is a lack of communication and sharing that threatens to irreparably harm this relationship Despite all of these concerns and worries, though, Selim is not even aware of his biggest problem of all. Somewhere out there, an ancient vampire is scripting a movie called If Truth Be Told, a film which will tell the true story of vampires - in fact, it will tell Selim's own story, for the unknown vampire is secretly riding Selim's dreams during the day and basing her script on his very life.
The Hunt is quite an impressive novel, one which turns several vampire myths on their heads and brings to life a new and fascinating type kind of vampire, one never really seen before in the literature. As always seems to happen, the struggles of the vampire, particularly an Enforcer such as Selim who must control as well as defend the nests living and operating under his jurisdiction, speaks to very human qualities that all readers can relate to: doing what is right; putting the interests of the many over the personal interests of the one; staying within the limits of the law at all times, when passion, justice, or a thirst for revenge impels you to act rashly and aggressively; figuring out how to love the person you are with and to overcome all manner of romantic obstacles in the process, etc. The vampire has always served as a mirror of the human soul, and it seems clear to me that Susan Sizemore understands that fact very well.