"Another Compelling Carpathian Romance"
Nearly another quarter of a century has elapsed (since DARK
DESIRE) and the Carpathian plight is little changed. The
race is facing extinction. The woman are scarce, the few
surviving children male. The hope for the future lies in
those rare human women with true psychic ability who are
able to survive the conversion process and become
lifemates. After a scant two centuries, Carpathian males
lose the ability to experience color, sensation, and
emotion. Finding their true lifemate is the only way to
recover the pleasure of these experiences. Many males have
given in to despair before these lifemates could be found.
Those who lack the courage to face the sun turn, to become
that most hated of creatures -- the vampire. It is the
chore of the designated hunters to bring about their
A previous attempt to depose the Dark Prince having failed,
the vampires have dispersed to the far corners of the
earth. The hunters have been forced to follow, leaving
their beloved homeland and it's healing soil behind. Aidan
Savage is one such man. An intimate of the Prince, he is a
master hunter charged with the task of ridding the New
World of the deadly menace. His soul is at risk however
for, without a lifemate, each kill brings him closer to
turning himself. His home base of San Francisco has
recently been invaded by a band of five vampires. He has
yet to stop the killing spree. He must hunt.
Aidan is unique in several ways. He is fair in color, a
trait that he shares with his reclusive brother Julian, and
he has a loyal human family who care for his home and
protect him during the vulnerable daylight hours. This
second quirk will later become invaluable to him.
Alexandra Houton is a young woman in her twenties. She is
the sole guardian of her six-year-old brother and a
talented graphic artist. This last fact has not escaped the
notice of the foremost creator of vampire video games.
Excited about the prospect of this highly desirable career
move and the hope of creating a better life for her small
sibling, Alex agrees to an evening interview at a local
restaurant. Unable to leave her young brother at home
alone, she leaves him to wait outside with a kindly
indigent of their acquaintance. Shortly into the meeting
it becomes clear that the wealthy employer is interested in
more than Alex's artistic skills. Taking a moment to check
on her brother, Alex finds his protector brutally slain.
The killer is a creature the likes of whom she has never
seen. Attempting to prevent her mesmerized brother from
reaching the demon, Alex, the true prize, is captured and
spirited away to the entrance of the demon's lair. The
vampire has recognized Alex's lifemate potential and hopes
to claim her for himself. He performs two brutal blood
exchanges before chaining her to a wall at the mouth of the
cave. He does not trust her to know of his lair, where he
will lay vulnerable while the sun is in the sky. As the
level of seawater in the cave rises, the elements take
toll on Alex so that she is unrecognizable by nightfall.
Night is upon them and Aidan has discovered the whereabouts
of the vampire. After a brief battle he dispatches the
betrayer. He then turns to the crazed vampiress (Alex) of
the evil one's creation. She is clutching a small human
child. Aidan attempts to destroy her before she can slay
the child but in the process discovers that the blood
surrounding him appears to be red. Sensations burst upon
him. The woman is no vampiress, but his true lifemate and
she is dying. He must save her at any cost.
The cost is further blood exchange which triggers the
conversion process. Aidan regrets that this has occurred
without her consent, but he was left with no choice. The
vampire's treatment of her, and the battle she witnessed
between him and Aidan, has fostered distrust of him. She
cannot distinguish the difference between Carpathian and
vampire. She wants no parts of this creature who would
possess her, and despises what she has become. She rebels
against him, but even as she struggles to maintain her
independence in an effort to retain her humanity, the bond
strengthens. Aidan is stunned by Alex's loveliness and even
more taken aback by her affect on other men. Though he is
aware that the bond between them is unbreakable he must
struggle to win her trust and her heart.
Four vampires remain. It is clear to the pair that the
humans they love are their Achilles heel, that the vampires
will undoubtedly strike at them through their family. Will
Aidan be able to convince Alex that they are each other's
destiny? Will they combine their strengths to fight the
menace that plagues them? Will they succeed?
Aidan meets briefly with Grigori, who awaits his lifemate's
arrival here. Gregori is walking the edge, having given her
the freedom to grow before claiming her. Her identity
indicates that the union between those special human women
and the Carpathian males is indeed the solution they were
hoping for to continue the race. It is a perfect lead-in to
the next title in the series, DARK MAGIC which is Grigori's
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. This was the first time a
human lifemate had an actual family member to contend with.
One wonders how the pair will handle this as the boy grows
older and they remain the same. At some point the child
will have to be let in on the secret. It will be difficult
for Alex not to be the major part of his life that she
wants to be, and it will be even harder to watch him age.
It is a testament to Ms. Feehan's writing ability that she
is able to deal with such hard-hitting issues with such
aplomb. I am really looking forward to the next
installment due to be released in late summer.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted September 6, 2001