Monday, October 09, 2006

The Priest of Blood - Douglas Clegg

The Priest of Blood
The Vampyricon
Douglas Clegg

Dark Fantasy / Vampire

Aleric was born into the world when Christianity was just taking hold, while the older generations and the peasants still clung to superstitions and pagan beliefs. Born in medieval Brittany to a peasant woman who sells her body to feed her children, Aleric’s future looks bleak. As a child, his grandfather told him stories about how their family was once nobility. Stories his mother, a peasant forced into prostitution to feed her children, denies. An old woman, a healer, tells him that, although he is small, he may come to great things, depending on the path he chooses.

As he grows, he discovers that he has an amazing talent for training predatory birds. Hired by the local Baron and put in charge of his falconry, Aleric becomes known as Falconer. This unexpected elevation in status might have assured him of a decent life, and the ability to help his many half-siblings, had he not fallen in love with the Baron’s daughter. In a rage, the Baron forced Falconer into the army headed to the Holy Land to fight the Crusades.

Far from home, Falconer frees a beautiful woman called Pythia. In return, she turns him into a vampire. Through this change, Falconer receives a vision of a destiny in which he is vampire royalty. He decides to determine the origin of his new species, and to discover the truth (or lack thereof) of his vision. Others of his kind are less than helpful, especially when it becomes clear that he possesses powers that are a bit different from theirs.

This is the first novel in a series, and concentrates mainly on Falconer’s youth. The author takes the conventions of several genres, (medieval fantasy, dark fantasy, and vampire legends) spins them around, and mixes them together to magical result. Told in first person by Falconer as a sort of memoir, looking back over centuries, the voice and writing perfectly evoke the time and place. The pacing is spot-on; the settings, from Brittany to the Holy Land to an alternate reality beyond the Veil, are complex and realistic. The second book in this series, THE LADY OF THE SERPENTS is available now in hardcover from Ace. The final scenes here are something of a cliffhanger, so you’ll want to have both volumes on hand.

Rating: 9
September 2006
ISBN# 0-441-01374-0 (paperback)


Post a Comment

<< Home