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REVIEW

"At long last, Dante's tale! New Wings in the Night romance it not to be missed."

Maggie Shayne is known most recently, among paranormal romance readers, for her wonderful immortal witch series: ETERNITY (12/98), IFNINITY (10/99, 1999 P.E.A.RL. Honorable Mention for Best Fantasy/Magical), DESTINY (2/01), and the novella "Immortality" from the anthology OUT OF THIS WORLD (9/01, 2001 P.E.A.R.L Honorable Mention for Best Anthology); but long before that she wowed us with her WINGS IN THE NIGHT (Silhouette Books) tales. The best selling Ms. Shayne was among the pioneers of vampire romance, making her dark, dangerous, characters sympathetic and love-worthy. Over the years as interest in the publishing of paranormal romance fluctuated, loyal readers never stopped clamoring for more of her tales. Thanks in large part to her talent, and an enthusiastic editor (Leslie Wainger), they continued to find their way to the shelves.

TWILIGHT HUNGER is the eighth story in the series, and we are assured that a ninth is already in the works. I much enjoyed the long awaited tale of Dante, for it was so much more than a simply a paranormal romance. Beyond the vampires, beyond the love story, is a intricately woven tale about relationships, family, friends, and lovers, who make up the fabric of one's life. Whether or not that fabric is strong is wholly dependant upon these relationships, as TWILIGHT HUNGER so poignantly illustrates.

A little more than a century and a half ago a young gypsy man, named Dante, lashed out for the last time at the society which had treated his family so shabbily. He had long since decided that if they were to be accused of crimes for which they were innocent, he might as well commit them and enjoy the fruits. A mortal wound is his final sentence. But he is not left to die, for though his disease had yet to manifest itself, he is one of the Chosen. His Aunt Serafina, cursed and cast out by her family, had taken a special interest in young Dante over the years. It is she who bestows the dark gift upon him. It gives him immortality, but at a cost. The large family he had loved all of his short life will no longer accept him. He must face his fate alone, with Serafina as his only family. Though he now requires blood to survive, he does not become a merciless killer. Over the years he had compelled his victims to give willingly, leaving them to remember him as a dream, or he had found those willing to exchange their blood for coin.

Segue to 1997. Two young women, aged twenty, both adopted at birth, have led vastly different lives. Morgan De Silva had been raised in a world of glitz and wealth. She had been given everything her heart desired by her famous Hollywood parents. Everything except their time. Now they were gone, destroyed by their own excesses, leaving Morgan disillusioned and destitute. In the face of the scandal and her new found poverty, Morgan's friends abandon her. She is not completely alone however. Her father's best friend, David, a movie director, whom she loves like an uncle, does everything he can to help her adjust. He sets her up in a somewhat derelict house in Maine, to lick her wounds and write a screen play he has promised to direct. Morgan is unable to find inspiration for her work until she stumbles across a collection of diaries left behind by a former inhabitant. Before long she is obsessed with the ramblings of a madman named Dante who had fancied himself a vampire. Assuring herself he is long dead, she feels compelled to tell his tale.

Maxine Stuart had had a middle class upbringing by loving adoptive parents in White Plains, New York. Her father had died a few years ago, but her mother had continued to make their modest home so welcoming that Max had chosen to stay there while furthering her education. She has two loyal best friends and an enquiring, if cynical, mind. She does not trust the government, and has never believed that the nearby so-called medical compound was researching incurable diseases. There was too much security, too many visits by military officials. She is convinced that a terrible secret is being kept behind those closely guarded walls. When her friends Jason and Stormy arrive to inform her that the facility had erupted in flames, Maxine takes it as an opportunity to discover the truth. Under cover of darkness, while the firefighters are distracted by duty, the trio sneak onto the property. She finds more than she bargained for.

The building is a smoldering ruin, most of the employees and equipment destroyed, but Max takes home two souvenirs which will rock her world, a badge and a computer disc. As the government arrives to secure the site, the three friends escape with the help of a local police officer, Lou, who Max is more than a little fond of. Her acquisition does not go unnoticed by one badly scarred survivor. Viewing the disc Max discovers that the research facility had been a cover for a top secret branch of the CIA. The DPI (Department of Paranormal Investigation) was cataloguing the background of .... Vampires -- marked for extermination. An anonymous but convincing threat against her friends and family, keeps Max quiet about her finds for the time being.

Five years later. Dante awakens shortly before dusk to flames inside his current home. The hunters have found him again. He faces a desperate choice, to burn inside, or in the remaining sunlight. His flight is painful but he finds respite in the nearby woods. He would have to relocate. He chooses to revisit a home in Maine that he had long since deserted. He finds it inhabited by a young woman. She is ill, perhaps dying, one of the Chosen. He is strangely compelled by her.

Morgan De Silva, had at last achieved success and acclaim with the third of her movies about Dante's life. TWILIGHT HUNGER, a prequel detailing the vampires beginnings, has been nominated for an Oscar. Morgan had become wealthy but reclusive, solely immersed in the journals of a man she has come to love but will never know. She had restored the house to reflect Dante's tastes and refused to leave it for the little time she had left. This latest release would bring all the players including the vampire hunters to her door.

In White Plains, Maxine has been spent the intervening year debunking paranormal fraud on the internet. She has finally decided to pursue the career in earnest, becoming a P.I. In that capacity, officer Lou brings an old friend to her door. Lydia had been a former prostitute who, along with her best friend, had turned her life around. They had given back to society by helping other young girls escape their fate. But Lydia's beloved friend has been murdered, and she believes a vampire is responsible. Lou has hoped that Max would dissuade her of that notion. Instead he finds out more than he wishes to know about his government and .... Vampires. In spite of Max's pleas to keep her secret, Lou seeks information from an old CIA connection. This brings the wrath of Max's nemesis down on them, leaving Storm critically wounded and Lou implicated in the crime. They need answers and fast. The trail leads to Maine, and screen writer Morgan De Silva, whose movies have the ring of truth to them. Maxines' purloined disc had contained names of vampires, catalogued D through H. One of those vampires had been called simply -- Dante. Their lives will never be the same.

Morgan's local fame has finally caught Dante's attention. She had portrayed his life publicly for the edification of his enemies. He is furious, and intends to exact revenge. Hadn't Serafina warned him not to trust mortals. Hadn't his one brush with love and betrayal taught him that? But somehow he can't bring himself to harm her. He begins to wonder about this strange connection his kind have to the Chosen, those rare individuals afflicted with the rare Belladonna antigen, which sentences them to early death - The antigen that must be present to be able to receive the dark gift. He wants her. She wants him. She's dying. He can save her ... If his enemies and her friends don't stop him first.

Not much more can be said without spoiling the tale, which as I have already pointed out is quite complex and very satisfying. It is just chock full of surprises and suspense. What emerges is a tale of love, devotion, and sacrifice which will at times will bring the reader to tears. Serafina is the only character whose life is not neatly wrapped up at tale's end. One hopes there will be a story in the future for her, as she sorely needs to have her faith restored. TWILIGHT HUNGER is a tale not to be missed. Highly recommended.

Copyright © 2002

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 1, 2002

SUMMARY

For Morgan DeSilva, fantasy is part of everyday life. As a screenwriter, she takes people's most passionate hopes, dreams, and fears and turns them into larger-than-life stories. At first she believes that the ancient diaries she finds in the attic of an old house in Maine are only the ramblings of a long-dead madman called Dante who fancied himself a vampire -- a source of inspiration she eagerly uses to pave her way to wealth and fame. But, now that she's reached those goals, she dreams of Dante at night...dark, erotic dreams that she fears are somehow dangerously real. For there are marks on her neck that have no other explanation -- and she is undeniably growing weaker and weaker with each passing night. The one thing Morgan doesn't know is whether the Dante who comes to her by night is a creature of darkness, hell-bent on destroying her, or if he is truly destined to be her love throughout eternity -- her only protection against powerful supernatural enemies who hunt them both.

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Wings in the Night reading order:

  • Twilight Phantasies
  • Twilight Memories
  • Twilight Illusions
  • Beyond Twilight (novella)
  • Born in Twilight
  • Twilight Vows (novella)
  • Twilight Hunger
  • Run From Twilight (novella)
  • Embrace the Twilight
  • Edge of Twilight
  • Blue Twilight
  • Prince of Twilight
  • Demon's Kiss
  • Lover's Bite
  • Angel's Pain

    Reissues:
  • Wings in the Night (includes books 1, 2, 3)
  • Twilight Begins (includes books 1, 2)
  • At Twilight (includes books 4, 5)
  • Two by Twilight (includes books 6, 8)
  •  

    Twilight Hunger
    (Wings In The Night: Book 7)
    by Maggie Shayne

    MIRA Books
    March 1, 2002
    Available: March 1, 2002
    ISBN #1551668866
    EAN #9781551668864
    408 pages
    Paperback
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    Other Books by
    Maggie Shayne

    Twilight Fulfilled
    Vacation with a Vampire…and Other Immortals
    Kiss Me, Kill Me
    Heart of Darkness
    Night's Edge
    Bloodline
    Wild Thing
    Angel's Pain
    Weddings From Hell
    Lover's Bite
    Immortal Desire
    Demon's Kiss
    Eternal Love
    An Enchanted Season
    Moon Fever
    Sheer Pleasure
    Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
    Totally Charmed : Demons, Whitelighters and the Power of 3
    Darker Than Midnight
    Immortality
    Edge of Twilight
    Prince of Twilight
    Kick Ass
    Blue Twilight
    Man of My Dreams
    Night's Edge
    Hot Blooded
    Thicker Than Water
    Midnight Pleasures
    Enemy Mind
    Broken Silence
    Two by Twilight
    Embrace the Twilight
    Words of the Witches
    At Twilight
    Brand-new Heartache
    Wings In The Night
    The Gingerbread Man
    Out Of This World
    Witch Moon Rising, Witch Moon Waning
    Destiny
    Sinful
    Infinity
    Veils of Time
    Eternity
    Brides of the Night
    Born In Twilight


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