ParaNormalRomance.org

REVIEW

"Amazing Serial Revolving around the Vampire World"

Book One: REVELATIONS is a collection of four short stories, written in serial form. I read the initial two stories individually as they were released originally by Dreams Unlimited. I still tend to view them as separate but connected stories. **Therefore be warned** that reading this review beyond the first novella, "Julian", will inevitably reveal a few SPOILERS for the section preceding it. Proceed at your own risk.

"Julian"

Julian Cavanaugh hasn't experienced the taste of human blood in nearly three centuries. The eight hundred year old vampire suppresses his "natural" urges with the aid of unique herbs given to him by an Indian Shaman. Rolled into cigarettes and inhaled, the herbs boost his resistance. In spite of this, Julian tests his resolve annually by hanging around outside the vampire colony's Halloween blood bash. He knows that if he can abstain even with this strong scent of blood in his nostrils, he can hold out one more year.

Lorelei Fletcher has hazy memories of a visit by a mysterious cloaked figure when she'd been a child of six. The man had come to her at night, suppressed her fears, and under his compulsion she'd allowed him access to her throat. She'd been marked, and had been fascinated by vampires ever since. Perhaps for that reason, she finds herself in the company of her friend, Dina, in the seamiest part of town on Halloween night. She is dressed as a vampiress, the costume giving her a feeling of invincibility. That is until she notices that everyone else at the party is dressed similarly, and that she is practically the only one not under the delusion that she is the real thing. She has yet to realize that a few of them really are.

Uneasy, Lorelei had just decided to make her departure when she hears a scream she recognizes as her friend's. Apparently Dina's boyfriend is not a "pretend" vampire for the man is mounting a vicious attack on her. Lorelei is too late to save her friend and nearly becomes a victim herself.

In his usual spot, Julian hears the commotion. He is reluctant to interfere with others of his kind, but when he hears a second and different scream, he feels the compelled to act. He is too late to help the first young victim but manages to rescue the second, the fledgling vampire being no match for his great age. While subduing him he learns that a Call has been put out on him.

Julian has discovered that the herbs he inhales are changing him. In addition to suppressed blood-lust, he is able to tolerate sunlight and remain awake in daylight for longer periods. This is apparently threatening to the Senior vampire who now wants Julian - dead.

Julian is visited by the cloaked figure who urges him to ponder what it is he is becoming. Julian's meeting with Lorelei seems to have been fated. Through a vicious attempt on his life by vampire assassins she remains by his side, witnessing unspeakable horrors.

As a result of the attack Julian breaks a vampire taboo, though he could just as easily have victimized Lorelei in his senseless state. He feels himself changing, and when he later repeats the act, the pain is agonizing. He doesn't know what he is becoming, but he does know that it is somehow important.

The cloaked figure returns to Lorelei and informs her that a rare genetic marker in her blood is the last factor necessary for Julian to complete his vital transformation. Does she love him enough to do what needs to be done? Will he let her?

Comments: At this point the pair have been waging a battle to an uncertain conclusion. They are unsure of their role in the grand scheme of things, but are compelled to play their parts. Many key events occur in "Julian". The reader is left with the impression that Julian will be important to the future of his people. The identity and purpose of the cloaked figure has not yet been revealed. We do not know why Julian's fate is important, nor do we know he has become. It is clear however that this figure is pulling all of the strings. The story is intriguing, I am well and truly hooked.

"Nicholas"

In spite of witnesses to the contrary, Dina is not dead. We return to the Vampire bloodbash for a new perspective on the events that transpired that night. This is the third Halloween that Nicholas Carrington has attended the event. He'd arrived as a mortal the first year, but thanks to Vivian he'd left as something else. This year he'd brought a mortal date to the party. He had no plans for converting her, but he liked her, perhaps even had deeper feelings. Now he is sure he'd been mistaken in bringing her here. With all that was going on around them, his only focus was on her blood.

He hadn't meant to hurt her. He'd been well trained. Using Vivian's techniques he'd learned to control his bloodlust, and was able to choose his victims. He had scruples, only going after the dregs of society, not even killing them, hoping that perhaps they'd learn a lesson from the experience.

He should never have allowed Dina to draw him into the tiny restroom cubicle. He really shouldn't have let her touch him, hold him, kiss him. He'd experienced this lack of control only a few times before. Not now! Not her! But the red haze claimed him and her. He'd even attacked the friend who tried to rescue her. Julian had stopped him from killing the other, but it was too late for Dina. He came to with the terrible memory of her death, but by some horrible twist of fate she still lived. Her fate would be far worse than if he'd killed her outright. He knew Dina would recover, thrive for a time, but then she'd fade, and die in great agony. He'd seen it all before.

He cannot even finish the job. He'd tried that once, and it had nearly killed him. Now he'd have to face Dina, tell her what he was, and what he'd done. Tell her that she was dying. She'd hate him.

Dina is not surprised to hear that she's dying. She'd known that for years, and steeled herself for the rejection she'd experienced when people found out. But Nicholas refuses to abandon her.

Vivian and Nicholas are summoned by Julian, who has risen to power. Nicholas fears his wrath, especially when he finds his near victim, Lorelei, by Julian's side. Lorelei has no sympathy for Nicholas, but it clear Julian loves her. He prays that Julian will find a way to save her friend. As the vampires delve into the mystery of what triggers Nick's occasional episodes, the cloaked figure appears once more. Again he holds the key. Again the cure may have a grave price. If they can save her, will Nick lose his heart, or his life?

Comments: What Julian has become remains a mystery. Nor do we know what Lorelei or Dina might now be. They have chosen to call the cloaked figure by his current name Lucien. He has revealed several interesting bit and pieces, but at this point we still don't know what his role is in the larger scheme of things. We also know very little regarding Vivian beyond her creation of Nicholas, and their rare ability to control their feeding. I have a feeling we still have quite a way to go, and can't wait to read on. The next story is Lucien and Vivian's. I like these vampires. In many ways they have retained their humanity. Those who were decent prior to the change remain so, conducting business, etc. Those who are able to even have scruples with regard to their feeding. Naturally there will be dark ones as well, but that has been put on the back burner in this segment.

"Lucien"

Julian has summoned all the players, who have congregated in his office with the exception of Dina who is recovering from her recent ordeal. Dina is absent from the rest of REVELATIONS, however it is plain to Vivian, through their blood connection, that her "child" (Nicky) is deeply in love with her. He's changed in other ways as well. It makes her wistful and stirs up old memories she'd tried hard to forget. In her heart she knows it is time to let him go. Julian has called them all together to finally hear Lucien's tale.

They are all aware that Lucien is quite ancient and powerful. The tale of his birth, twelve thousand years prior, is quite revealing. Somewhere, in what he now assumes was Eastern Europe, Lucien's people had been suffering from a terrible drought. Four young virgins were to be sacrificed to the gods to appease them. Their blood was not shed outright, instead the four women were mated with the gods, and brought forth their sons. The births had been several months premature, but the children had been large and robust. Too large, in fact, for their mothers, two of whom died immediately in the violent process. It was plain that the other two would follow shortly. One of these two had wished to see the face of her child before she passed, but it had been forbidden. With the last of her strength, she'd made her way to the room where the four babies lay. They'd been asleep, all but one. He'd recognized her and she him. He'd grasped her hand. Of the four babes, Lucien alone had grown up knowing his mother.

These four half gods had been the first demons. They were fertile, and bred. The children of their bodies carried a genetic marker, that which Lucien had activated in Lorelei to create whatever Julian now was. The demons created other children as well. These children of their blood were sterile and shunned the daylight, they thrived on the blood of the living.

Two of the brothers had dreamt of a way to change their nature. They had written these dreams down in what became known as the Book of Changing Blood. One of the brothers had been Lucien. The other pair thought that this was an abomination. They were the sons of gods, their nature preordained. They reveled in their nature and destroyed the book, its contents lost for millennia. Even now Lucien was unable to remember most of what those dreams contained.

The world had changed considerably in twelve thousand years. Technology had enabled the former Senior to amass a great deal of the book's ancient text provide by vampires located all over the world, through the auspices of the internet and email. It had been Vivian and Nicholas' job to catalogue these finds.

Lucien's story had taken the entire night. Nicholas and Vivian needed to rest. Vivian is surprised by her feelings of animosity toward Lucien. He makes her angry and irritable. She's sure they've never met before and yet ... daylight claims her and she dreams. Her dreams are of long suppressed memories, the days leading up to her conversion.

Vivian had become a vampire six hundred years ago. At that time, the horrible black death was taking its own toll on her people. Vivian had watched her mother and sibling die as she nursed them. When she herself had succumbed, her father left her for dead. But Vivian had not been ready to die. Near death, she had made her way to a cloister which had a reputation for curing the afflicted. It is there that she meets the healer. He is deeply immersed in the robe and cowl of the order, yet he is not a monk. The robes hide his disfigurement, hideous scars that cover his body, and horrified those who looked upon them. They are symbols of former pain and current isolation. For some reason they touch Vivian's heart.

She is soon cured, but she is a woman and cannot stay here. Before long she is asked to leave. This saddens both Vivian and her healer. They share a tender moment before she moves on. He promises to find her again and he does.

Vivian returns home and, now immune, and chooses to tend the dying. One Sunday she follows a compulsion to walk to the cloister. Although she never enters, this walk becomes a ritual. Soon she becomes aware of being followed, and becomes wary when this continues for several weeks. She begins to carry protection but finds it useless when she is set upon by a group of men bent on rape, robbery, and murder. The arrival of her healer is timely, but this time her life force is too weak to save in the previous manner. Vivian is born again, but she is irrevocably changed. She comes to, only to find her maker gone. She is left alone to learn what she had become, to deal with her new requirements. For six hundred years her life had been shaped by that abandonment. She'd held her emotions at bay. She'd tried to forget why she was so lonely.

Vivian's nature had perhaps not changed as much as she'd thought. After her early days of frenzied feeding, she'd learned control. Her children also possessed this rare ability. Nicholas had fed only on the dregs of society, but Vivian had chosen another route. The death she brought were acts of mercy to those with terminal cancer who were ready to end their pain. Each time she offered another option, to become what she had become. Few had accepted. Nicholas had been one of them. He'd been young and vital before his illness. He had not been ready to die. He'd been company for Vivian for the past three years, but he was in love now. Her memories went no farther that day.

Lucien alone knows that her rare ability stems from the unique nature of her maker, and that her way of using it is what made Nicky what he is, a healer in his own right. He enlists Vivian's aid in organizing the computer files in order to recreate The Book of Changing Blood. They are aware that time is short. Julian's change would draw the Dark Children, those who followed the beliefs of Lucien's two evil brothers. It is tedious work and when Vivian tires, Lucien's method of relaxing her muscles shocks her, and reveals to her more than she'd wanted to know about him. It releases more of her memories as well and brings forth and unexpected reaction -- desire.

He is there when she gets one of her calls to release the soul of a dying old woman, and he is there for her in the aftermath. She is in greatly need of comfort, but is it his to give? He will complete her memory and then they will know. Will this be the end to their loneliness? Or will she hate him for the rest of eternity?

Comments: This part of the story is very enlightening. The telling of the two tales frequently reduced me to sympathetic tears, it is so deeply touching. It is tempered with occasional dry humor courtesy of Julian, who is frequently frustrated by Lucien's cryptic revelations, and Lorelei's inexplicable moodiness. This sets the stage for the next segment which is quite eventful.

"Lorelei"

Lorelei is unhappy, a fact which greatly troubles Julian. Her life had changed dramatically over a short period of time. She's begun to complain about his smoking, is moody and unwell. Lorelei had found him very remote lately. She loves him and knows her loves her, but it isn't enough. She's lonely. Perhaps she misses her old life, or maybe it is the fact that she feels just dreadful. Her choice to save Julian had changed her. What had these changes done to her? She consults the colony's hematologist.

Her ailment is not an unusual one after all, except for the fact that the father of the child she carries is a vampire! No one had thought it was possible, particularly not Julian who tactlessly asks who the father is. This is hurtful to Lorelei who has no doubt whatsoever. The truth knocks Julian for a loop. He is stunned but not joyous as Lorelei had hoped Currently he is bearing the weight of the future of his kind, and perhaps the whole world, on his shoulders and is unsure he can add the care of a child to his burdens. He is preparing for war. His doubts add injury to insult as far as Lorelei is concerned.

Julian doesn't really need a kick in the pants he gets from Lucien. He already regrets the pain he's caused his love. Julian finds her packing to leave and realizes what he is about to lose. He begs her to stay, but she needs time to think. She promises to return to let him know her decision. It is only after she is gone that Lucien becomes aware of the approach of the dark forces. He tries to keep Julian focused, but is frustrated by the fact that his preoccupation with his wife and child distract him from his what his other major responsibility. This will have serious ramifications. Julian misses Lorelei and decides to approach her on her own turf, bearing a peace offering he hopes will please her and make her return. He arrives a shade too late.

Out in the world, it doesn't take her Lorelei long to decide what is really important in her life. She is gathering keepsakes and tying up the ends of the human chapter of it, when she is kidnapped by Lilith, a minion of Ialdaboth, one of Lucien's two dark brothers . Julian and Lucien can watch in frustration as she disappears beyond their reach.

Her kidnappers are surprised to find that she carry's Julian's child. They are even more surprised by her fearful power. She's a bit surprised herself. She is not susceptible to even the demon's compulsion. She can see their power as colors, and hear their thoughts in her mind. She uses her newfound skills to battle their will. Ialdaboth fears what he does not understand, and orders Lilith to destroy Lorelei. When Lilith defies him, he turns on her. Lorelei interferes, but when he decides to kill her himself, Lilith returns the favor at a deadly cost. It is then that Lucien and Julian finally arrive at last. If they escape will Lorelei stick to her decision to live in Julian's world after all that has happened? Who and what will their child become? Lilith is a name long associated with shapeshifters, what role will she play in their future? What of Lucien's other two brothers, one good and one evil? Which side will make the next move?

Comments: Well the die has been cast. War has been declared. The story it not at and end, but will continue with BOOK TWO: APOTHEOSIS. Nicholas and Dina play no real role in the second half of REVELATIONS, but it should be clear by now that Ms. Knights does not create characters frivolously. Dina has been cured of both her vampire induced, and her human ailments. No doubt, like Lorelei, she has changed in some useful way. Nicholas has discovered his potential as a healer, which will undoubtedly be useful at some point in the future. The author does a marvelous job of building suspense, parceling out just enough answers to keep the reader craving more.

If you enjoy J. C. Wilder's THE SHADOW DWELLERS serial, you will love the look into the world of vampires provided by THE VAMPIRE APOCALYPSE series by Katriena Knights. It is going to be hard to wait for the second book.

Copyright 2002

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted April 9, 2002

SUMMARY

JULIAN: Lorelei Fletcher has no idea what she's getting into when she accompanies her friend Dina to a Halloween party. Soon she finds herself involved with Julian Cavanaugh, a chain-smoking vampire who represents traumatic change in the vampire community--change that can't begin without Lorelei.

NICHOLAS: Nicholas is a run-of-the-mill vampire, but every once in a while something goes terribly wrong with his victims. Driven by compulsion, he killed Dina--but he didn't. Why has she come back, only to be faced with death again as a result of Nicholas' strange affliction?

LUCIEN: Vivian has been a vampire 600 years, but she doesn't know the identity of the mysterious, scarred man who Turned her. Lucien's been around for 12,000 years and has lots of interesting stories--when he can remember them. Can he provide the key to Vivian's and Julian's mysteries?

LORELEI: Something happened to Lorelei when her blood became the catalyst for Julian's mysterious transformation, but nobody seems to know quite what that was. Now, with her life on the line, she must face what she's become, and decide what the future will hold for her and Julian.

 

The Vampire Apocalypse: REVELATIONS
(Book One)
by Katriena Knights

Imajinn Books
April 1, 2002
ISBN #1893896099
EAN #9781893896093
Trade Size
Add to Shopping List
Order from Amazon

Other Books by
Katriena Knights

Earthchild
Starchild
Starchild
Starchild
Vampire Apocalypse II: APOTHEOSIS
The Haunting Of Rory Campbell
Time and Time Again
Earthchild
Starchild


EBook Isle Bookstore hosted by Fresh Fiction