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REVIEW

"A memorable tale of redemption and the resiliency of the human spirit"

Byron Solsbury is one of the chosen, a being of the new order. Brash and willful, he is also the ex-head of the Ravens, Stargazers' elite security force. In a society that doesn't easily tolerate disobedience from its citizenry, Byron's checkered past and a penchant for insubordination lead to his expulsion from the Ravens and puts him in the doghouse with Stargazer powers-that-be. He has been spared the death penalty for terminating another warrior but now the Elders are calling in the favor. The Elders approach him with an offer he can't refuse: infiltrate a Warm One farm in Xanadu where a Stargazer has been found dead, suspected murdered. He must squash the insurrection and secure one of the Stargazers' major food supplies.

What we learn in this tale of hubris and survival is that "Stargazers" who are the master race and ruling class, are what pre-apocalyptic society once referred to as "vampires". The Warm Ones are the surviving humans who have not evolved and upon whom the Stargazers feed and subsist. Neither the Elders nor the ancient and timeless mother of all Stargazers, the MoonQueen herself, can foresee the error of their conceit until it is too late and they have already set Byron loose in Xanadu.

When the farm's doomed shaman, Medea--a young and passionate Warm One female--leads Byron to, not only the truth behind the death of a fellow Stargazer, but also his own origins, Byron reverts to type. Since he can never reclaim his stolen past, he goes for payback against the MoonQueen in the only way possible for him, basically signing his own death warrant, yet again, when he allies himself with the Warm Ones in their uprising against the Stargazers.

Though this was a great cautionary story with a fully realized and sensitive anti-hero half of an unusual and quixotic pairing, it was not a romance by usual definition, and not for the squeamish. However, if you can stick with it and get past the necessarily graphic and gory scenes of mutilation artfully dispersed throughout, it will assuredly net you the ultimate literary payoff: a memorable tale of redemption and the resiliency of the human spirit.

Mr. Connor, a talented and first-time novelist, has breathed fresh new life into the vampire genre with this creative and thought-provoking debut.

Reviewed by Gracie McKeever
Posted March 16, 2003

SUMMARY

After living in the shadows for centuries vampires have finally gained dominance over the Earth by instigating a nuclear holocaust that has blotted out the sun. Humans are now treated as animals, kept in concentration camp-like farms. Byron, the Moon Queen's favorite "creation", is assigned the task of stopping an insurrection at one of the human farms. But while investigating a religious cult among the humans, he begins to question his own reality. As he digs deeper for the truth, he becomes a renegade outcast among his own--and humanity's last chance for salvation.

 

The Queen of Darkness
by Miguel Connor

Warner Books
April 16, 1998
ISBN #0446605069
276 pages
Paperback
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