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REVIEW

"Behold the new Queen of the Vampires"

The Queen (of the Vampires) is dead; long live the Queen. Paraphrasing the old royal address, I adapted it into a play on words using Anne Rice's Queen of the Vampires title. Rice has finally--so she says--gotten rid of Lestat. That is punishment to Rice. Lestat was Rice, or maybe better said, Rice was Lestat. He permitted her to handler her own demons. He was her vehicle to vent her pain and fears, oddly enough, similar to how the Japanese love Godzilla. Her life changed with the loss of her daughter, now her husband, so I think in doing away with Lestat is a form of penance for her. Most her readers however rarely looked past the stories to why she wrote them, they just loved them, for the most part. They felt let down she has abandoned them. The Queen of the Vampires is "dead" so behold the birth of the new Queen--Susan Squires. Squires has for several years, being penning an original concept, one I see being copied over and over by newer writers--the origins of the vampire disease. But she has always gone past the romance, past the story to provoke the reader. It's my firm belief she doesn't do what is "nice", but what makes the reader THINK.

Her first two of this trilogy for St. Martins Press, were stunning evoking not only matching the depth of history and emotion of Rice's early vamp tales, but she adds a touch of passion that truly transcends "Interview" and those that followed, and draws the reader in. Rice liked sex, but often her tales has an emotional distance that keeps the reader at arms length. Squires goes past that and touches on the fact romance, love, passion are timeless. It sucks the reader in and is so addictive.

In this tale, Ann Van Helsing is curse with the power of psychokinesis--the mere touch of her hand on a person and she knows all, their darkest secrets. This power is nearly driving her mad and the only way she can survive is to shun human contact. She lives a reclusive existence in Wiltshire at her uncle's remote estate, but often must take to the sanctity of the woodlands nearby. Only there is she safe from the thoughts of others that so torment her. That sheltered life is about to take a nightmare turn.

Arrogant, brash, Stephan Sincai once set loose upon the world and ancient evil that can bring mankind to the brink of destruction. As punishment, he is sentence to become a hunter, a vampire who must search all of Europe and destroy the abominations made by others of his ilk. After a battle with his last target, he is left dangerously weak and injured in the woods that Ann frequents. Ann comes upon him, near death, and despite her loathing of touching anyone, she must to save him. With her powers, she sees his life, his long history as a vampire, how he was made, how he must atone by killing other vampires, a curse that reached back to the 12th Century.

Oddly, Ann is not repulsed by the creature Stephan, but is drawn to the man, and despite it being a taboo, Stephen cannot help falling in love with Ann. Only the ancient evil is waiting to he set loose upon the earth is waiting to take its vengeance, and in loving Ann, he has given the weapon that could be used against him, destroying them both.

The Companion and The Hunger are the first two and both were powerhouse, knockout novels. However, I felt in The Burning, is where Squires truly inherits the mantle of Rice. The story is strong action, strong passion. The Queen of the Vampires is "dead", long live the new Queen--Susan Squires.

Very highly recommended.

Posted April 25, 2006

Reviewed by Deborah Macgillivray
Posted November 29, 2006

SUMMARY

A Forbidden Temptation . . .

It is 1821, and all who know the beautiful, mysterious Ann Van Helsing believe she is insane. Yet Ann's curse is not lunacy, but rather the deep psychic ability that allows her to know everything about another human being—their history, thoughts, and desires—simply by touching them. Overwhelmed by a power she can barely control, Ann roams the woods and caves near her estate, searching for a peace that eludes her. It is here she encounters the man who will change everything.

Leaves Her Yearning . . .

To repent for an unforgivable transgression against his own kind, vampire Stephen Sincai has become a vigilante who must hunt and kill those whom other vampires have made. When Ann discovers Stephen bleeding in the woods, she reaches to touch him before she can stop herself. In an instant, Ann knows every fiber of Stephen's being—and the knowledge is at once frightening and insatiable.

For Eternal Fulfillment . . .

Ann and Stephen are drawn together by a force more powerful than they know. As Stephen and Ann continues to fight against the evil surrounding them, an unseen treachery has yet to be revealed: an enemy bent on destroying them by making them choose between what they love and fear the most.

Read an Excerpt

 

The Burning
(The Companion: Book 3)
by Susan Squires

Pocket Books (Star)
April 1, 2006
Available: April 4, 2006
ISBN #0312998554
EAN #9780312998554
384 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Susan Squires

The Mists of Time
A Twist In Time
Time for Eternity
Dead After Dark
One With the Darkness
One With the Shadows
One With The Night
Love At First Bite
The Hunger
The Companion
No More Lies
The Only One
Danelaw
Body Electric
Sacrament
Danegeld


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