I first read this book in my mid-teens and I have long recalled it as a book that held me completely mesmerised. I have finally read it again, more than ten years later. Would I love it as much as I did the first time? I really did.
The brief synopsis can't possibly do this book justice. It's a complex, detailed portrait of a human family, the Nevilles, and a ring of vampires; the two become dangerously tangled over the course of this book. George Neville is a scientist, with one son (a veteran of the first world war), and three daughters. The middle daughter, Charlotte, is his assistant in his scientific research - and his substitute for his dead wife, her perfect mother. This role has always smothered her, left her unable to express her true self; until she meets Karl, a vampire who is still quite able to feel all the human emotions he ought to have left behind.
Karl intends no harm at all to the Neville family; he only wants to study science. But his presence draws other vampires after him. And besides, he cannot resist Charlotte's mixture of passion and vulnerability... Their love threatens to destroy both Charlotte and her family; and none of them can escape Karl's eternal enemy, Kristian.
This beautiful book is extremely well plotted, and offers a glittering feast of complex, believable characters. But it's not only that: Freda Warrington's prose is stunning. She presents the story in sumptuous, graceful language that's as seductive as the vampires she portrays. This author is one of the greatest we have in fantasy and horror; she deserves much greater acclaim.