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Posted March 4, 2014
The Kindred of Darkness is the fifth James Asher novel. In this volume, the Ashers finally take a break from their world travels to assist Lionel Grippen, the Master of London, in locating Damien Zahorec, an interloper from the Balkans. As was the case in the first series book, Those Who Hunt the Night, James and Lydia have been blackmailed into helping a vampire; this time, Grippen has kidnapped their daughter Miranda. Having learned about Lydia's miscarriages in the third book, Blood Maidens, and being a mother myself, I was immediately drawn into the tension created by the danger to the Ashers' child, and Hambly maintains that tension until the very end.
In The Kindred of Darkness, Hambly introduces us to a book of the same title, which is said to contain various secrets of the vampire world, including a formula/elixir/ritual which enables fledglings to escape the control of their masters. Several characters are chasing after the book, each with a different motive. We quickly learn that there are multiple versions of the Book, some of which may be forgeries and many of which contradict each other. Hambly has thus set up an ongoing puzzle which I expect to see cropping up in future books.
Hambly continues to explore the inherent conflicts between James and Don Simon; they both love Lydia, yet they also have strong motives to destroy each other. James's discoveries in the Book add a new layer to this dilemma, given the Book's ambiguity.
I particularly enjoyed The Kindred of Darkness because it was a true "vampire" book, rather than the "spy thriller with vampires" characteristic of the previous books. I also liked the introduction of American characters, even though none of them were very sympathetic.
I received a free copy of The Kindred of Darkness through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Posted February 26, 2014
James and Lydia Asher are among the few people who know that the Undead exist. They have begrudgingly worked for the Undead before, and in return have lived relatively undisturbed by them. When Crippen, London’s Master Vampire, kidnaps their daughter Miranda as an incentive to help him find a usurper into his territory, the uneasy peace is shattered, perhaps irrevocably. When it becomes clear that the newcomer, Zahorec, is searching for a manuscript said to contain the secret for neutralizing a master vampire’s control over his fledglings, everyone sits up and takes notice. It becomes clear that Zahorec is fleeing his own mistress and that he has also plans for Crippen’s fledglings. Can the Ashers stop the interloper from assuming control and save their daughter?
There’s an interesting relationship between Lydia Asher and another vampire, Ysidro. I have not read the previous volumes in this series, so how that all got started is something of a mystery to me. It is quite clear to me, and to James Asher, that Lydia loves Ysidro. I will definitely need to go back and read the previous volumes to gain more insight into that relationship. Other than that, however, I really didn’t feel like I was missing anything by not having read them and was able to enjoy this book without constantly feeling confused.
Posted October 4, 2014
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