Monday, January 15, 2007

The Lady of Serpents - Douglas Clegg



The Lady of Serpents
Vampyricon, Book 2
Douglas Clegg
Ace

Dark Fantasy / Vampire

Note: This is a sequel to PRIEST OF BLOOD. If you haven’t read the first book, this review contains plot spoilers.

The previous volume introduced Aleric, a boy born into abject poverty in medieval Brittany. Through luck and skill, he was able to rise to the post of Falconer in the local Baron’s house. But a forbidden love with the Baron’s daughter resulted in his being sent to fight in the Crusades. In an abandoned city, Aleric met a creature that changed his very nature. Hailed as the Chosen One who would save the vampyre tribes, Aleric journeyed to their ancestral home and discovered their secrets. Upon his return, he found his tribe under attack, and he and his faithful friend, Ewen, where thrown into a covered well and left to starve.

Not a noble or fitting end to the one who was to be the savior of the vampyre race. For eleven long years, Aleric and Ewen managed to survive by feeding on each other, growing weaker as the years progressed. They gain their freedom only to find themselves enslaved in a new way. They’re forced to fight for their survival. And, all the time, they know that an evil sorceress with a thirst for power and immortality, and her shadow warriors, are taking over humanity. They must not only survive, but also find a way to stop the shadows from spreading.

In this volume, Aleric tells the tale of his adventures during a “lost century” of human time, sometime during the Dark Ages. In this time, vampyres existed, alongside other supernatural creatures and mankind. The author makes all of this very accessible. Aleric is an excellent narrator, filling in background when needed. The pacing is necessarily a bit slower in the beginning, during Aleric’s imprisonment, but picks up afterwards, and stays strong until the end. It’s clear that a third volume is planned, and I’m looking forward to it. If you haven’t yet discovered horror writer Douglas Clegg, this is the time to do so. He artfully combines dark fantasy and vampire fiction, while giving each a fresh twist.

Rating: 7 ½
September 2006
ISBN# 0-441-01438-0 (hardcover)

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