A tale of ambition, revenge and the rise of a vampire assassin from this critically acclaimed British author.
Venice, 1407. The city is at the height of its powers. In theory, Duke Marco commands, but Marco is a simpleton so his aunt and uncle rule in his stead. They seem all powerful, yet live in fear of assassins better than their own.
On the night their world changes, Marco's young cousin prays in the family chapel for deliverance from a forced marriage. It is her misfortune to be alone when Mamluk pirates break in to abduct her - an act that will ultimately trigger war.
Elsewhere Atilo, the Duke's chief assassin, cuts a man's throat. Hearing a noise, he turns back to find a boy drinking from the victim's wound. The speed with which the angel-faced boy dodges his dagger and scales a wall stuns Atilo. He knows then he must hunt him. Not to kill him, but because he's finally found what he thought was impossible - someone fit to be his apprentice.
Award-winning author Jon Courtenay Grimwood is a master storyteller. Here, he blends history, politics and dark fantasy in a compelling vision of an alternative Venice.
Gritty, grimy, decadent and compelling - SUNDAY TIMES
The political intrigue is handled with dexterity, springing surprises and plot twists fuelled by the Machiavellian cast. Grimwood delivers a page-turning read and offers a neat twist on the Vampire theme - GUARDIAN
This is dark majestic stuff . . . - FINANCIAL TIMES
This is a book full of mysteries that remain unsolved and outcomes that remain cloudy. Grimwood creates a fascinating world and involving characters - most importantly, he makes us want to read the next two volumes of the trilogy - INDEPENDENT
The writing is elegant, the dialogue is sharp, the characters economically but well drawn, the action unrelenting . . . Hits all the right notes - SCIFI NOW
A twisted, Machiavellian, complicated and ornate book about survival and the terrible lengths people will go to for power - PORNOKITSCH
Brilliant, haunting, dark, gothic historical fantasy... This is the best vampire novel written since The Vampire Lestat, while simultaneously being very different and original - CIVILIAN READER
Known for his near-future SF, such as the suberb ARABESK trilogy, Grimwood's new novel still features his trademark alternate timelines. His attention to detail and skillful weaving of fact with fiction make this a fine beginning to his new series - BOOKS QUARTERLY