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The Hunger: Regency Vampire Novels    by Susan Squires order for
by Susan Squires
Order:  USA  Can
St. Martin's, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

In this enthralling sequel to The Companion, Susan Squires once again steps back in time to the year 1811, into the rich and hedonistic lifestyle of Beatrix Lisse. No one knows her exact nationality or origins, and none ever shall, save those of her own kind. Beatrix has spent the last six hundred years cultivating her singular persona as unattainable courtesan. And also trying to forget the only man she's ever loved (the betrayal of Stephan Sincai and her sister Asharti soured Beatrix's notions about trust and love). Now, Beatrix meets John Staunton, Earl of Langley, said to be the most notorious rake in London. From the moment they meet, a fire burns between them that cannot be tempered.

John Staunton is one of England's most competent spies. His alternate persona as a 'rogue and scoundrel' helps protect him from close scrutiny. Since John's current mission is to discover who has infiltrated Napoleon's power base, continuing his affair with Beatrix is out of the question; he refuses to put her in danger. He travels to France and soon finds himself ensnared in a trap laid by Asharti. Her thirst for power and immortality is absolute and she uses whatever methods necessary to assure her success. She is thrilled to discover John's feelings for Beatrix and lays plans to destroy them both. But Asharti underestimates their devotion, particularly that of John, who will go to any lengths to save Beatrix from a grisly and terrifying end at the hands of her arch nemesis.

Susan Squires has created a unique twist for the genesis of her vampires and (through flashbacks) presents a fascinating interplay within the few members of the species, while at the same time keeping their backgrounds and agenda murky. She continues to prove that she is singularly talented in shaping interesting and intelligent characters and in viewing their lives from all angles. She also examines real evil through the marvelous villainess she's created in Asharti. Lush and evocative writing and attention to historical detail add even more depth. Here's hoping for Squires to gift readers with at least a few more novels showcasing some of the other shadowy vampires she's introduced in The Companion and The Hunger.

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