Friday, November 04, 2011
First Published: 2011
The Blurb: Russia 1855. After forty years of peace in Europe, war rages. In the Crimea, the city of Sevastopol is besieged. In the north, Saint Petersburg is blockaded. But in Moscow there is one who needs only to sit and wait – wait for the death of an aging tsar, and for the curse upon his blood to be passed to a new generation.
As their country grows weaker, a man and a woman – unaware of the hidden ties that bind them – must come to terms with their shared legacy. In Moscow, Tamara Valentinovna Komarova uncovers a brutal murder and discovers that it not the first in a sequence of similar crimes, merely the latest, carried out by a killer who has stalked the city since 1812.
And in Sevastopol, Dmitry Alekseevich Danilov faces not only the guns of the combined armies of Britain and France, but must also make a stand against creatures that his father had thought buried beneath the earth, thirty years before.
The Review: This is the third book of the Danilov Quintet, and we previously looked at Twelve and Thirteen Years Later, this book jumps forward thirty years and the hero of the first two books, Aleksei Danilov, is an old man exiled in Siberia. The book switches viewpoint to his children, Dimitry and Tamara, half-siblings who are unaware of each other.
Also distant in this book is primary villain Zmyeevich and it his erstwhile agent Iuda or Cain, as he was known in the previous volumes, who takes centre stage. He has, as revealed in the last book, insinuated himself into Dimitry’s life and in this novel he is a high ranking official in the Third Section, the Russian secret service, and as such happens to be Tamara’s superior (not knowing her parentage). The book follows the three as Iuda manipulates the siblings for his own ends and some voordalak Iuda thought buried forever seek revenge on him.
The book is as well written and as high quality as the previous volumes. There is little in the way of new lore except around the lack of a vampire’s reflection. In this Iuda discovers it is because the brain of the voordalak (and presumably a human) cannot face the truth a mirror reveals and thus block it out. When he manages to create a mirror that tricks a vampire’s brain into seeing its true image the results are devastating to the vampire’s mental health.
A worthwhile addition to the series. 8 out of 10.