Karen Koehler,
(Black Death, 2002; KHP, 2007)

Alek Knight is a dhampiri: half vampire, half mortal. He has lived on the coven grounds and been raised and groomed by the covenmaster, Amadeus. Taught to fight and to protect the mortal world from the killing vampires, he is a Slayer. Slayers are both feared and respected by the vampire community.

The coven was created by the Roman Catholic Church and this relationship is both powerful and old. When Alek makes a move against the coven, he begins to question its purpose. He also begins to question the covenmaster, the man he has always called father.

Alek is an emotionally deep protagonist who battles his inner demons, what he was taught to be his morals and eventually his coven. All the while he struggles with the love for his sister and the love for his master, and the guilt that comes with being in the middle of these two powerful enemies.

With the help from some fascinating side characters, Alek begins to look for the Chronicles, the documented history of the Vampire that has been hidden by the Church. Alek once thought this book was just myth, but now he sees he may have been wrong, and he hopes to find truth in this legendary book.

The battle scenes are graphic and horrific; the love scenes are sensual and erotic. To say that this is a complex tale would be a gross understatement. Karen Koehler has created a multifaceted and riveting story that encompasses and crosses over many genres. With so much action and suspense, love and hate, good and evil, fantasy and reality, and heart aching pain, this well-written book is completely and utterly compelling.

review by
Cherise Everhard

5 April 2008

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