From S. M. Stirling, the “master of speculative fiction” (Library Journal) and the author of the New York Times bestselling Novels of the Change, comes a new vision, as a man battles the dark forces of the world—including those in his own blood…
Aeons ago, Homo nocturnus ruled the Earth. Possessing extraordinary powers, they were the source of all manner of myths and legends. Though their numbers have been greatly reduced, they exist still—though not as purebreds.
Adrian Brézé is one such being. Wealthy and reclusive, he is more Shadowspawn than human. He rebelled against his own kind, choosing to live as an ordinary man, fighting against his darker nature. But Adrian’s sister is determined to bring back the reign of the Shadowspawn, and now she has struck him at his weakest point by kidnapping his human lover, Ellen.
To save Ellen—and perhaps all of humanity—Adrian must rejoin a battle he swore he would never fight again.
Stirling (The Sword of the Lady) launches a new series with a messy and unappetizing mix of well-worn monster tropes and excessive sexual violence. The ancient, powerful, and sociopathic Shadowspawn have always lived among (and interbred with) humans. When Adrian Br z , the one Shadowspawn capable of resisting his violent urges, discovers that his ex, Ellen, has been kidnapped by his evil twin sister, Adrienne, he begins a war against his own kind. Adrienne repeatedly rapes Ellen, who endures using psychological techniques she developed during childhood abuse, as she prepares her own political machinations. Stirling hits just about every clich , from the grizzled vampire hunter and mentor to Adrienne's pathologically devoted servants (who call themselves lucies and renfields ). Stirling's prose is competent, but there's nothing new in his story, and few readers will have the stomach for the over-the-top sadism.
New and amazing, with some rather disconcerting ideas. It doesn't surpass any of his other works, but equals them easily. Well worth it.