Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Priest of Blood by Douglas Clegg #review

Title: The Priest of Blood (The Vampyricon book one)
Author: Douglas Clegg
Publisher: Alkemara Press

Pardon the pun, but I’m a sucker for vampire fiction, and especially when it has historical elements. In that regard, The Priest of Blood worked well for me as a reader. Turned by the vampyre Pythia, while involved in the Crusades, Falconer recalls his life growing up as the bastard offspring of the village whore.

Much of the book tells of his early years in Brittany, and of the boy’s need to prove his worth considering his humble beginnings. We learn that Falconer has a gift for working with birds and eventually is employed by the local baron.

But life for Falconer is a trial. He never quite fits in, and an ill-starred passion for a woman far beyond his station results in his being sent to fight in the Holy Land, where he ultimately meets his doom.

Yet among the damned, it appears that Falconer is exalted – a chosen one and their Priest of Blood, with all that the role entails. He and his companions embark on a journey to their source in order to gain a better understanding of their kind and to find a solution to eradicate a frailty in their bloodline. As for what they find once they discover their goal – their actions will have far-reaching ramifications.

And that’s pretty much what book one is about, since it functions as a prologue for what I assume to be more to follow. Essentially, if you’re waiting for things to get off the ground, you’ll be in for a disappointment.

That being said, what I did enjoy was the last part of the story, when the companions really get going in their explorations. the many wonders they discover are fascinating, if not bizarre – and certainly off quite a nice diversion from the usual vampire origin stories. I kept thinking this was Indiana Jones meets The Queen of the Damned.

Clegg weaves a tale on epic proportions, with much depth, though at times I felt I wanted a little more input with regard to the environment – to put it bluntly, a little more “show” to counterbalance his telling. I can’t fault the latter. He does it well, though at times I also feel to detriment of characterisation. I wanted a little more in that department too.

My verdict: this story is wordy and sometimes ponderous, but if you’re a huge fan of vampires, and are a patient reader who has enjoyed Anne Rice, then this may appeal to you.

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