Black Death, 2002 (2002)
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Reviewed by Martina Bexte
lek Knight is the Master Assassin of New York's
, one cell of a world wide, Vatican-trained and powerful league of
whose mission it is to rid the world of vampires. Alek is the chosen acolyte of Amadeus, leader of the Coven, and the creature who taught him all he knows. Amadeus has recently informed Alek that he is soon to take over as Covenmaster. Alek is honoured and also somewhat afraid of his new role yet cannot refuse his Master. But on the eve of his transformation, Teresa, ancient vampiress and keeper of secrets older than mankind, visits Alek and tells him that all is not as it seems with the Covens, and most especially with Amadeus.
t first, Alek balks at Teresa's revelations - he cannot believe that his beloved mentor has lied to him all these years. But as she reveals more and more about Amadeus and the history of the Covens and their real relationship with the Church, and most especially about Alek and his dead twin sister's past, he has no choice but to believe. Teresa sends him on a new quest - to find a lost book dating back to the Romans that chronicles the true origins of vampires and their purpose among humans. Linked physically, Amadeus knows his young proteg9 is lost to him and intends to betray all he and the Covens stand for. He presents Alek with two choices: refrain from his mad quest and return with him to take his rightful place as new Coven master, or die - either by Amadeus' hand or by the blade of one of his many minions.
aren Koehler recently wowed me with
. She's done so again with
, her fabulously inventive vampire tale. Written with true style, vision and wonderful imagination, the author infuses new life into the traditional vampire tale without veering too far from some of the
that readers who love this sub-genre have come to expect. Her characters shine, her prose is ripe with imagery whether she's describing New York's underbelly or a gruesome confrontation between mentor Amadeus and student Alek. She does not shy away from presenting some of her characters at their nastiest. Particularly spell-binding are scenes showing Amadeus and his
with venomous snakes.
has a big dose of everything dark fantasy readers love and should definitely be pencilled in as top choice for their October reading list.
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