Comment: Well it seemed to me that the plot building up over the last 7 books has finally started to bare fruit. *sighs with releif* it seems a long time ago that we left constantinople to get to this point. A point where, in this book, blows up and hits you in the face. Trust the Brujah to get things done! and with style! the brujah character in this book his very likeable showing the reader that as a Clan they used to be nobel and a clan of high standing in Cainite society. My my look how far they have fallen as they have slowing decended into chaos. I liked this aspect rather than the writer just going to a combat oritentated style book. This book is full to the brim with political intridges and manuverings and its totally gripping. I'm very happy as Brujah is one of my faverate clans. Brilliant. And an interesting addition to the list of characters for Tremere antitribu fans.
Summary: Death Is The Mirror Of Life
Comment: That we've made it all the way from Constantinople to the outskirts of Paris is no small wonder. Vampires travel poorly in the light and require good support systems if they are not to alarm the countryside. White Wolf's vampire series tend to ignore the human world that is not in service to the dark, but it is out there, and the wonderful world of light tight hearses and high speed trains is 700 years away. But the pilgrims have made it, Anatole has exposed the heretics, and for now the focus shifts to the world within the gates. There, Alexander rules as prince of the city, the devious Lady Saviarre is his consort, and baroque plots and power plays are the rule of the day.
Prince Alexander may be 1000 years old, but his grip on the city has weakened. Not far from Paris the Queens of Love plot revenge for an old wrong, sending both the Brujah Veronique and the Toreador Rosamund on separate diplomatic missions. This is a deep game played by true ancients and the outcome will shake the night in Paris. Veronique and Rosamund are both pawns in this game aimed at creatng weak points at which others can strike. Veronique is the hardened manipulator who avoids the limelight, and Rosamund fills the part of ingï¿½nue, aimed at Alexander's heart.
And below the city in the vaults of the Nosferatu, Mnemach queen of the disfigured and unnerving undead begins to work her own revenge. Veronique treads carefully, but her blood runs with political intrigue. Unlike others of her clan, she has learned to be subtle as well as deadly as she plays for final advantage in the nights of Paris to come.
As this series has moved north, it has become less a vampire story and more a tale of times that were, indeed, a nightmare of political power struggles - human or vampire. In the backdrop living rulers drive crusades in a search for wealth and the Church declares it's own pogrom against the Cathars. Other similar conflicts dot the European landscape, and if vampires didn't have unusual feeding requirements the characters of this story would be indistinguishable from the nobility they imitate.
That is really my sole criticism of this volume and several others in the series. I sometimes get the feeling that the players of the game are trying to turn it into a history game instead of a narrative that is founded on a deep layer of gothic terror. these vampires are too much like there human counterparts. I would like more spookiness, more occult, and just a bit more graphic violence. That said, Myranda Kalis writes well and the ending of the book is almost everything one could ask. My curiosity about the long term goal of the series is aroused as well.
Summary: Undead Power Games in the Middle Ages ...
Comment: This book is excellent. You could remove the vampires and it would be the same. Excellent plot with equally well-written characters. The vampire element adds flavour! And the medieval setting is wonderful, because it cloaks everything in a sense of history.
I truly admire the way relationships are illustrated between vampiric characters ( siblings in the blood / vampiric allies ) and vampiric characters and their mortal retinues. Especially the sense of protectorship that the Brujah protagonist harbours for her mortal servants/ghouls. The machinations of various clandestine powermongers and political players is engaging and makes for a substantive read from start to finish.
Like I said earlier ~ the plot could be taken straight from a more mundane story set with exclusively mortal characters within the same time frame and it would be just as compelling. It's truly a well-done piece of storytelling. Bravo!
This novel is yet another in a series of well-written stories in the Dark Ages line. I look forward to Toreador with barely contained anticipation.