Sunday, December 5, 2010

Of Saints And Shadows by Christopher Golden

Synopsis From Back Cover:

When a rogue cardinal steals a book of dark magic called The Gospel of Shadows form the Vatican Library, his trails leads to Boston, where private detective Peter Octavian is drawn into a web of grotesque murder and otherworldly intrigue. For two thousand years, a secret sect of the church has been using the magic in that book to enslave and destroy the creatures of the supernatural... all but vampires, whom they call the Defiant Ones.

Father Liam Mulkerrin is a Vatican sorcerer, an assassin, and a madman intent upon launching a final purge that will eliminate the vampires forever.  But when Octavian discovers this plot, he will sacrifice everything he cares about to stop it... because Peter Octavian is also a vampire.

I read this book, actually the entire series, years ago but am not really sure what happened to the books themselves.  I think I sold them to a used bookstore the last time I moved.  I wasn't all that careful about what books I got rid of them, so I've been having to repurchase a lot of books as I find them.  When I saw this reissue mentioned on both Book Chick City and SFF Chat, I knew I had to get it again.

The story is pretty simple, and I'm gong to try and keep what I know about the rest of the series out of this review, it's your basic good vs. evil.  The twist is that the roles have been reversed.  This time around the vampires are the good guys and the church and it's agents are the bad guys.

For what ever reason the church, while subjugating and even destroying other supernatural creatures, were never able to get the vampires under their total control.  Instead they systematically brainwashed the vampires into controlling their own powers.  All those myths about daylight, garlic, shape shifting limitations, all of those supposed limitations are false.  They were all ploys used to get the vampires to act the way the church wanted them to.  Peter Octavian is the first vampire to begin to realize the truth, he starts to go out in the daylight and even turn into a column of fire.  But even he is unsure of how vast their powers really are.

The theft of the book though changes the church's game plan.  If that book falls into the hand of their enemies, The Defiant Ones make discover the truth.  So the Church under the influence of Father Mulkerrin decides to take them out for once and for all, eliminate them all during their gathering in Venice.  Little does Father Mulkerrin know what Peter and his allies, including Buffalo Bill Cody, have in store for them.

I first started reading Christopher Golden when he was writing books set in the Buffy universe and quickly fell in love with his writing style.  This series was the next logical step for me and it cemented my liking for him as an author.  This is the beginning of a interesting take on the origins of vampires and it's one I urge all fans of the genre to pick up and discover for themselves.

This qualified for the Venice Challenge hosted by Tasha of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Books


Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Great review. I'm going to have to check this series out.

Love the header!

bookmagic said...

I love when Vampiers are the good guys! Guy on the cover is cute!! Have you read the Sookie Stackhouse books? I think you would like them

Little Willow said...

I love this series as well! All four of the existing stories are being reissued with new covers - the third volume, Of Masques and Martyrs, came out last week - and the fifth volume, Waking Nightmares, comes out next year. I can't wait!

Have you heard the buzz about The Secret Journeys of Jack London, his collaboration with Tim Lebbon? That begins next year, too. Very cool blend of historical fiction, action/adventure in the wilderness, and urban legends.

Heidenkind said...

Sounds like a good book! I like that Buffalo Bill Cody is in it. :)

Staci said...

My oldest devoured the Buffy books...this series actually sounds pretty interesting!

CAZ said...

I remember reading about the series way back and like you loved Golden's writing on the Buffy books.

I actually found Book 2 at a book sale store and couldn't find the first book up until a recent re-issue last year caught my eye.

Now, after finishing Book 1 and with the release of Book 3 and subsequent titles, I would have to look for Book 2 stashed among the boxes of books I have.