Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5
British scholar Frank Carew is in Wallachia to study the magic generator on nobleman Radu Vacarescu’s land. There, his party is attacked by bandits and his friends are killed. Pursued by a vampiric figure, he flees to Radu’s castle for help.
Unfortunately, this is precisely where the vampires came from. If allowed, they would feed unchecked and spread their undeath across the whole Earth, but Radu maintains a shaky control over them and keeps them penned in his tiny corner of the country.
As Frank recovers from his assault, Radu finds himself falling for the young man. But loving Frank and not wanting to lose him leaves Radu vulnerable to his demons’ demands. Can he bear to let them feed on the man he loves? Or must he give in to their blackmail and set them free to feast on his entire country?
I have mixed feelings about this story. From the synopsis it feels as though it will be told from Radu’s pov. Instead, its mostly from Frank’s and that gives this story an entirely different and for me disappointing perspective. Think prey instead of predator because that’s mostly what Frank is here. He’s the mouse the cats play with before they eat him.
Given that the story is seen from a very shaky Frank who never seems to be able to recover from the constant mental, emotional and physical shocks and attacks he’s under, you never get the chance to know Radu. Or understand the attachment forming between himself and Frank. Yes, he yells out that “he’s mine” but I never got that was out of love, more a sense of protection and possessiveness. Honestly? Frank’s a bit of a wash too. There’s a neat bit about magic here but that’s quickly lost which was the most interesting thing about Frank.
Had the story been told from Radu’s perspective, I think I could have understood his feelings more. As it was I felt that they were lacking. At least towards Frank. His bitterness and rage about other aspects of his life? Yep, got that in spades. Wish his relationship with Frank was as easily laid out in this story or as powerfully felt.
Beecroft does a superb job with the location and foundation here. You understood the role of the peasants, the culture, and the dire situation they were in. The castle itself is absolutely hair-raisingly scary. These are not your sparkly or nice vampires. These are your old-fashioned predators who see humans as food. They are cruel and rapacious. So if you are expecting anything else. This is not the story for you.
The story starts to fragment when two other elements are brought in, that of magic (the reason Frank had come to the land) and a war that starts up in Istanbul against Britain that will pull everyone here in. But you don’t fully get that until book 2. Just a sudden switch in narrative which is jarring, then a switch back to Frank and then a switch again at the end. It took me a while to remember where in the switheroo I was. All ends on a bit of a question mark leading to Angels of Istanbul (Arising #2). I suppose I will go there just to see what happens next to Frank and Radu. I’ll let you know what I find.
Cover by: Simoné. Absolutely beautiful covers.
ebook, 232 pages
Published March 13th 2017 by Riptide Publishing