During a routine slaying, Buffy encounters a vampire named Veronique who knows the slayer's name and can anticipate her attack. One who doesn't have the proper respect for Mr. Pointy. One who cannot die. If slain, she will reincarnate in a new body.
An invincible demon is the last thing Buffy needs right now. Joyce Summers is about to undergo a serious operation, calling up all of her daughter's fears about her own mortality. Angel wants to comfort Buffy, but her mother's crisis underscores the differences between them: he will live forever, while she will grow old...or die young.
Torn between her duties as the Chosen One, Buffy needs the support of her friends to help her solve a rash of grave robberies, head off an influx of new vampires, and take Veronique down once and for all. For Veronique is on a mission -- to bring about the unification of her masters, the Triumvirate, into one all-powerful demon that will drink the blood of the last man on earth...
About the Author
Nancy Holder has published more than 200 short stories and seventy-eight books, including the New York Times bestselling Wicked series. She lives in San Diego with her daughter, Belle, and far too many animals. Visit her at Nancy Holder.com.
Read an Excerpt
By Christopher Golden Nancy Holder
Simon Spotlight EntertainmentCopyright © 1999 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSeveral months later ...
At first glance, the town of Sunnydale was like so many other small towns that made up the endless suburban sprawl of Southern California: it promised much but delivered very little.
There were no real neighborhoods, only differing amounts of distance from the nearest freeway. Life went on at the other end of a commute: at the office, the magnet school, hangouts based not on proximity but on flash. Although the school board talked about the excellence of Sunnydale public education, everyone really believed the key to success was whom you knew and how charming you could be.
But there were other things wrong with Sunnydale, in the light of which the worship of style over substance seemed the tiniest of faults. Unlike the other, similar towns that dotted the coast of Southern California, Sunnydale was cursed. Below the ground, the mouth of Hell sat dormant, ready to erupt at the appropriate provocation and to disgorge the demons, monsters, and forces of darkness that raged for the death of the world. Evil was drawn to the Hellmouth as though it were a magnet, drawn to Sunnydale, and it flourished there.
Sunnydale was the epicenter of the dark forcesthat lurked in the shadows of the world, a constant threat to humanity. It was evil's very own ground zero.
In its way, Sunnydale was the heart of darkness.
And if you want to destroy a thing, you aim for the heart.
Which was what had brought the Slayer, Buffy Summers, the Chosen One, to Sunnydale three years before, though she hadn't known it at the time. Forced to leave her old life in Los Angeles after her war against the darkness led her to burn down the high school gym, she and her mother had come to Sunnydale because Joyce Summers thought it the perfect place to start over. The perfect place to run an art gallery the way she'd always wanted.
Buffy believed in that dream. She had been thrilled to have an opportunity to put the whole vampire thing behind her. She knew now that it was naive to believe she could escape her destiny. But back then ... for one brief, shining moment, she'd thought she could be a normal kid again.
The first day at Sunnydale High, Rupert Giles, her new Watcher, had made himself known - and any hope Buffy entertained of having a normal life had evaporated.
Now, on this cold and gray February night, torrential rain bulleted the metal siding of the Bronze. Wind rattled the windows as if they were the vertebrae of a frozen, abandoned graveyard memory. The Bronze stank with the odor of wet wool laced with coffee. People dashed into the club completely drenched, because, as a rule, Southern Californians didn't own umbrellas. Or if they did, they never remembered to use them.
Buffy slipped back into her chair at the Bronze, sipping at her newly purchased - and lusciously warm - mochaccino, and grinned broadly at her friend Xander Harris, who sat across the table from her.
"Isn't this great? Flash-flood warnings, and I'm chillin' with my friends. No vamps to stake. No demons to destroy. Just me, my pals, and an extremely mediocre band."
Xander nodded happily. "Yup. It must be great to be a Slayer in Southern California. When the weather's bad, even the forces of evil take the night off."
"Actually, business has been a little slow all week," Buffy said. "I'm having trouble filling my empty nights. Almost." She raised her hands. "I gave myself a manicure last night."
Then she made a guilty face at her best friend, Willow Rosenberg, who slid, burdened with a pair of huge coffee cups, into an empty seat at the high, round table.
"Of course, the manicure was accompanied by the whole study thing. Since I would never want you to feel that all the time you've spent tutoring me is wasted."
"My time is freely given," Willow announced, sliding one of the cups to Xander, who had held the table for them. "And the band's not that bad." She paused. "Which is actually the definition of mediocre, so, okay." She sipped her latte and smiled in the direction of the coffee counter, where her boyfriend, Oz, was buying some pastries. As if he sensed her gaze, he looked up and smiled back, blue eyes shining.
Buffy was wistful. She could hardly remember what it was like to be in a relationship that wasn't tormented and awkward. Oz was a werewolf three nights a month, but that was the extent of the major weirdness between them. It wasn't like her and Angel's deal.
"Uh-oh, your smile is fading," Xander chided. "Remember, Wendy, if we don't think happy thoughts, the pixie dust won't work, and we won't be able to fly anymore."
"Hey, I'm weightless," Buffy protested. She took a sip of her mochaccino to prove it. She licked her lips and sighed with contentment. "Time off from slayage doesn't get any better than this."
"Or shorter," Xander said slowly as he gestured toward the entrance to the Bronze.
"No," Buffy moaned. "No, no, no."
Giles was closing his umbrella as he scanned the crowd. The sort-of-haphazardly-dashing forty-something Brit's expression was serious in the extreme, and that, combined with the fact that he usually avoided the Bronze like the plague, was a fairly good indication that he was here on business.
"You guys distract him while I hide under the table," Buffy grumped.
Giles spotted her and headed on over. Willow frowned in sympathy, and Xander wagged his finger in Giles's direction.
"This Slayer's out of service," he said by way of greeting. "In serious need of downtime."
"Hi, Giles," Buffy said wanly. "What's the haps, not that I really want to know?"
"I am sorry, Buffy." At least he was contrite. "I've just learned that the medical examiner conveniently failed to mention to the media that Jackson Kirby's neck was torn open and he was drained of blood."
Jackson Kirby had been something of a local celebrity. A homeless panhandler, he had been a fixture on the corner of Avenida Ladera and Escondido Boulevard for seven years. "WILL WORK FOR FOOD," the sign around his neck had read. Whether anyone ever actually called him on the offer seemed unclear.
He had been found dead in an alley early in the morning. With no family and - according to the local news - nothing suspicious about his death, he'd been quickly interred at city expense.
"He was buried at Restfield," Giles continued. "If he rises, we need to make sure he doesn't stay risen."
Sigh. Life as the Slayer, Buffy thought glumly. "Don't you think he'll wait until it stops raining?" she asked. She started pulling on her raincoat.
"I've got my car," he told her.
"And an umbrella," she noted. She picked up her coffee cup and examined it. "And, happily, I have finished my piping-hot beverage."
"So, the glass is half full," he ventured.
She gave him a look.
"One-third," he amended.
"Hey, that's my line," Xander said. "Buffy, you want some company?"
"Xand, that'd be above and beyond the call of duty." She flashed him a wan smile. "But you're sweet to offer."
"I've got nothing better," he insisted.
"It's just one dusting. It'll be over like that." She snapped her fingers.
"So, I'm thinking, company," Xander insisted.
Oz walked up with a buttery croissant on a plate, which he offered to Willow. "Is there a rumble?" he asked.
"We're rumble-free," Buffy assured him. "Or, rather, you are." Then she shrugged and said to Xander, "If you're all pumped to be wet and cold and bored, who am I to stop you?"
Xander smiled and hopped off his stool. To Oz and Willow, he said, "Duty calls."
Willow pulled off a piece of croissant and popped it into her mouth. As she chewed, she said, "Do you want us to come with? Cuz we're happy there."
Buffy smiled. "You guys have something better to do."
"Hey," Xander protested, miffed. Then he shrugged. "Okay, I was first to comment on my lack of social engagement, but let's not all rush to help out."
Giles cleared his throat. "Let's be off, shall we? I imagine this won't take long."
"Yeah, that's what they all say," Xander said. Then he flushed. "Forget I said that."
Buffy smiled slightly and picked up her Slayer's bag. Poor Xander.
She led the way out of the Bronze just as Cordelia Chase sauntered in, killer in a trench coat and heeled boots, completely dry. Xander tensed at her side, but Buffy didn't let on that she'd noticed.
A moonstruck kid about half as tall as Cordelia carefully lowered his umbrella from the heights of her hair. A single droplet of rainwater tapped the end of Cordelia's nose, and she glared at the guy. He withered.
"I'm sorry, Cordelia."
She gave him an impatient scowl. He stared at her. "Coffee?" she prodded. "Muffin?"
He snapped his fingers. "Double latte, nonfat milk. Peach, nonfat."
"And?" She raised an imperious brow.
He strained for the answer. Looked not so joyful. Here he had made it all the way to Final Jeopardy, and he was drawing a blank.
"Possibly, two packets of blue sugar substitute," Xander suggested.
Cordelia moved one shoulder. The boy stared at her as if he had never heard of blue sugar substitute. Then his lips parted. "Oh!"
He scampered away.
"He must have a really nice car," Xander said evenly.
"His father owns the Porsche dealership." Cordelia nodded at Buffy and Giles, removing her coat. "What exciting adventure are you running off to? Another tour of the lovely Sunnydale sewer system?"
Buffy shook her head. "Naw, we did that last night, saving the world from the Unbengi Serpent."
"Well, on behalf of the world, thanks. And excuse me. You're blocking everyone's view of my outfit."
Xander huffed and rolled his eyes at Buffy. Buffy was thinking up comebacks, but Giles tapped his watch and said, "We really must be going."
"Have fun." Cordelia gave them a wave. She had not spoken one single word to Xander, nor even acknowledged his presence.
"Porsches. How common," Xander grumbled.
Xander and Giles flanking her, Buffy made a point of giving Cordelia a wide berth as they exited the Bronze. The rain was really coming down, and even the short walk to the car was daunting. Giles unlocked the doors to his ancient gray Citroen. Xander climbed into the backseat while Buffy sat shotgun up front with Giles.
There was that inevitable exciting moment when she wondered if the Gilesmobile would start. Once again, Buffy was astonished when the engine sputtered to life. Then they were off.
* * *
Alone at home, paperwork spread before her on the kitchen table, Joyce Summers listened to the rain and wondered what time Buffy would be home. As she stared at the night-blacked windows, she felt another cough coming on and tried to stifle it. She had been coughing for days, and sniffling, and now was the worst time to get a cold. There was so much to be done at the gallery. She had been working for more than two months to mount the Malaysian shadow puppet exhibition and organize the artist's reception. Working too hard, that was a given. But it was going to be a wonderful exhibit.
She sipped her tea, which had grown lukewarm. She didn't feel well at all, and, truth be told, she wanted Buffy's company as much as she wanted to be reassured that her child was safe and warm.
It was hard to be a mother, harder still to be the mother of the Chosen One, the only girl in all her generation to be pitted against the forces of evil. At first, Joyce had not believed Buffy's story about being a vampire Slayer, to the extent of pretty much forcing her out of the house. Her reward for that lack of faith was an entire summer spent hoping and praying that her absent daughter was not dead and that she would come home.
But as the days and nights had dragged by in one long, agonizing vigil, momentary flashes of debilitating panic - she's been killed, she's never coming back - pierced her grim determination not to break down. It had never occurred to her until then that she might actually outlive her child, a nightmare reserved, she had assumed, for bad parents. Careless parents, neglectful parents. Despite her work with the runaway shelter, she couldn't shake the notion that if something ... bad happened to Buffy, it would be her own fault entirely.
But feeling guilty had not been a priority. Finding Buffy had. Giles scoured the country in search of her, while Joyce took on what was to her the more difficult task of waiting by the phone. Jumping at every sound, imagining she had heard the door open.
As she was doing now.
How could any mother stand by, night after night, while her child was in danger? And yet that was precisely what was required of her.
She coughed again. She was tired, and her chest was very sore. Her throat was raw. All she wanted to do was sleep.
Cold, she thought glumly. And no wonder, with all this rain.
Her mind drifted back to happier times, when Buffy was little and she and Hank thought happily-ever-after applied to all marriages, especially theirs. Her ex-husband had sworn by chicken soup whenever she was sick, and he would bring her a piping-hot bowl on the wicker tray he had brought home from the Philippines. Saltines, she remembered.
Then the marriage died, rather quickly, and they were divorced. He had remained in Los Angeles. And though she knew Buffy blamed herself for her parents' breakup, the two of them had no one to blame but themselves. They were the adults. She was the child.
Restless, feeling bilious, Joyce got up and walked to the refrigerator, mostly for something to do. She wasn't particularly hungry. It occurred to her that she hadn't had much of an appetite lately.
Maybe I should just go to bed, she thought. But ever since she had learned that Buffy was the Slayer, she had made it a policy not to rest until her girl was home.
She coughed again, much harder. Grabbing a tissue from the box beside her calculator, she put it to her lips. The copper taste of blood seeped into her mouth, and she daubed the tissue against her tongue.
Her breath caught in her throat as she examined it.
I'm coughing up blood, she thought. There really is something wrong with me.
The thought terrified her, not only for her sake but for Buffy's. I can not get sick. She needs me too much.
But this wasn't mere paranoia on Joyce's part. The blood was real. She had never coughed blood before, and she knew that such things didn't happen unless there was something really wrong. And suddenly she felt small and cold and did not want to be alone on a stormy night in a house in Sunnydale, with blood in her mouth and her daughter patrolling the dark for monsters to kill.
She rose and stared at the window, willing Buffy to come home. Or, at the very least, to be safe.
Buffy muttered to Xander, "Sing it with me now. 'It never rains in Southern California.'"
"It's our state song," Xander said brightly.
They had been huddling with Giles under his extra-large black umbrella for almost half an hour. Buffy stood close to Xander, a stake clutched to her chest. They had run out of small talk - or at least the other two had - and Xander knew prattling could be annoying, though he had no clue why, and now they waited quietly, each with his own thoughts. Lightning flashed, and the rain poured down.
They stood there.
We look like an Edward Gorey print, Xander thought, and he was just about to share this observation - which would no doubt prompt Giles to ask what exactly Xander knew about Edward Gorey - when the mound of mud on top of Jackson Kirby's economy-style gravesite started to move.
"Finally," Buffy said.
She started to dart from beneath the umbrella. Giles said, "Oh, here, we'll move," and the threesome edged in concert closer to the mound. Rainwater sluiced down through the newly created rings of mud as the newborn vampire began to rise, like a baby chick breaking open its shell.
Or maybe not so much, Xander decided, as one pale hand burst through, followed by the other. Then the head emerged, fully vamped out-ridged forehead, wild, glowing eyes, and the feral, senseless grin of a mouth stuffed with fangs.
The demon that now inhabited Kirby's corpse saw them and growled savagely, renewing its efforts to leave the grave. As soon as its chest was clear, Buffy murmured, "'Scuse," to Giles.
"Mmm? Oh, yes, certainly," he said, stepping out of her way.
She stooped down, just about to run the newborn through, when something came flying through the cemetery and launched itself at the three of them.
Excerpted from Immortal by Christopher Golden Nancy Holder Copyright © 1999 by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I wasn't very impressed by this, in the throes of a Buffy obsession as I am.The main plot, revolving around a vampire that is reborn into a new body each time she is killed,was good and menacing, and had some interesting flashbacks. There was a secondary plot about ghosts that wasn't fully resolved, but maybe it is in another book.The narrative jumped around enough to confuse me, especially as the point of view also shifted often, on occasion in the middle of a paragraph. The use of slayer slang to identify the characters seemed a little forced.
This is one of the Great Buffy Novels. It seams to take place during Buffy's 3rd season. When Angel was still in Sunny Dale and Willow was still with Oz. The story revolves around a Vampire named Veronique. Originally she'd been a skilled sorceress, but then became a Vampire. After that a deal with demons made her even more than a Vamp. A trio of soul eating demons from another dimension granted her the power of resurrection. When her body is slain her essence remains bound to place she'd died at. Next time a Vampire is sired within a certain distance from that site, she's reborn in that bodied. She gains the knowledge and skill from the new body, but none of the personality. Whatever body she takes possession of, she's still the same creature. In return for that gift she pledged to bring her masters to Earth. That was a difficult mystical task. It took centuries for her to learn how to accomplish it. Then specific circumstance were needed for the ritual. Her first attempt was foiled by a Slayer. Then that Slayer found a way to keep Veronique disembodied. Her masters chose to leave her that way, to punish her for her failure and defeat. But when the time came that the ritual could be attempted again, they finally sent her assistance. Once corporeal again, she came to Sunny Dale. Buffy and her crew were facing a new type of global threat. If Veronique's masters came to Earth, they'd literally devour every human soul. Leaving human bodies alive but in a sheep like state - live stock for Vampires.
I'm a HUGE Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan...this book has it all!! For a real treat, check out the audiobook version of Immortal...it is brilliantly read by Charisma Carpenter - you will of course recognise her as Cordelia Chase from the Buffy/Angel hit tv series.
This book is totally awesome. I love it. It has great twists. Also Angel, witch is a good enough reason to buy it if you ask me.
This was one of the best Buffy paperbacks that I have ever read. It was engaging and the character's personalities were realistic and true to the show. This is a must read for any Buffy fan!!!
Im obsessed with buffy and this book is just great belive me you cant put this book down its so great.great suspense!! and most important the relation ship between angel and buffy!!!! Krissy 14 may 6 2004
What i liked about this book was that it was totally different from other Buffy novels. it involves a female vampire who is reborn every time she is staked, and comes back in a new body. Her name is Veronique, the only true immortal vampire who cannot be killed. on a mission to Sunnydale to ressurect the Triumvirant to drink the blood of the last man on earth. Buffy is now on a mission to stop her but how can she when veronique knows all her moves?? great great book!!
This is one of those Buffy books that you want to read over and over again. I love the way both C. Golden and N. Holder plays on the relationship of Angel and Buffy. It makes the word 'FOREVER' some hope and that it might be possible for these eternal lovers.
The book was awesome. It was hard to put down . I have read the book 3 times since I got it . I would reccommend this book to anyone, whether or not you enjoy Buffy the vampire slayer.
After all the vampire and demons Buffy has faced, has shee met her match? When a vampire comes to Sunnydale, you'd it'd be stake, dust, you're done. But not with Veronique. She seems to know all of Buffy's moves.
I like all things Buffy, but I still found this book excellant. It had all the usual Buffy payoffs, action, suspense, and all your fav. characters. You should read it!
This was good but the ones with angel in it is even better.
I loved this book! It was very inventive and creative. I loved the chemistry between the characters. (It's just like the show!) I especially loved the parts with 'Buffy' and 'Angel'!!! They were great! When I bought the book, he had left the show, so it was nice to see them together in the book, since I couldn't see them on the show. Overall, I give it an A+!!!
Immortal was a great book! The plot was perfect, and the writing suspenseful. This book inspired me to write my own vampire novel. Please read it even if you don't like Buffy! It'll do you good.
I got this book a couple of months ago, and I finished it in ONE DAY! I was hooked!! I also write Buffy stories, but sadly, I've never had them published. But seriously, I got in trouble because I stayed up all night reading this book! It was sad, funny, suspenceful, action packed, downright kooky, and incredibly long, but worth the read!
It was good in the beginning, the middle and the end until the last two pages before the epilogue. Then I felt that the book was rushed on a bit. Other than that it was good. I gave it 4 stars because it was'nt all that like The Silver Wolf and its sequel The Night of the Wolf by Alice Borchardt.
This was an awesome book and it shows the bond between Buffy and Joyce. It also shows a little of Angel`s life way back when. This was a really awesome book and it was wonderfully written.
Warning: Do not start this book at night!! You will end up reading until morning. I couldn't put the book down. I enjoyed the book imensly. If you like the Buffy series, I highly recommend this book. But, for warning, get the hardcover, the paperbacking will fall off of the paperback. I enjoyed this book as did my friends and their parents. Enjoy this book, and watch your back for Veronique!
This was one of the best Buffy bookes I've ever read!! Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder did an amazing job writing it, as they usually do. It was a total page-turner and I couldn't put it down. A total must-read for every Buffy fan.
this book was really great and i loved it. the way it dealt with mortality was great. in the book buffy had to come to terms with the fact that her mother could die and so could she. Just like in real life people have to deal with the fact that one day they'll be here and the next day it could be over. i also liked how they dealt with buffy's feelings about angel's immortality. I guess that was a question begging to be answered. overall it was a good book and dealt with topics that become of interest while watching the television show.
This was probably one of the best books I have read in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series books. If you're a Buffy fan, then I totally recommend it. The relationships between the characters in this book have a great effect on the actual plot. I love both Christopher Golden's and Nancy Holder's books. I have read several others of both of their works. Together, they create the perfect piece of writing because they both add their own styles into it.
If you are a fan of BtVS you should take the time to sit down and read this book even if you haven't read a book from the Buffyverse before. I personally feel that Immortal is the best novel that the team of Golden and Holder have written yet. A top notch read!
I love Christopher Goldens Work. The book itself is on my top ten books to read and would recomend this book to all of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Fans. I also like the idea that Golden put in the Great Jack Kirby's name in there in some way. Although it's Jackson Kirby. Those who read this book and are Marvel Comics fans will pick this up right away. You are great Golden keep up the good work.