In this second novel of the Darkyn, the author picks up right where the first one ended. Having eluded capture by his fellow Darkyn, Thierry Durand is now in Chicago to protect a woman he believes was tortured by the Brethren just as he was. Weak and hungry, he comes across Jema Shaw, an antiques expert who moonlights as a police forensic consultant, and takes her blood. However, his fascination with this secretive young woman has only begun.
Using his talent, he slips into her dreams every night, and together they escape her dreary reality where she’s trapped between a domineering mother and a debilitating illness. Hard on Thierry’s heels in order to capture him come Michael Cyprien and his lover, the newly-turned Darkyn, Dr. Alexandra Keller. Intent on her research to isolate the virus causing Vampirism, Alex soon finds herself repeatedly attacked - and all signs point to her brother, the priest, as the culprit. No one is really as they seem to be, and therein lies the crux of the matter.
Lynn Viehl’s vampire saga began spectacularly in If Angels Burn, and this second novel in the Darkyn series justifies the great beginning. Indeed, it is as splendid if not more than the first one. The author provides many new tantalizing leads as to how and where vampirism first began and delves deeper into the power structure of this terrible ancient legacy. Jema Shaw is a most unlikely heroine with her crippling illness and faded personality, but her surprising resilience in the face of terrible revelations and betrayal more than makes up for her weaknesses. Thierry is an unknown factor here - a tortured vampire with a bitter past and no hope for the future, he’s as unlikely a hero as you can find. Still he does pretty well, even though half his time is spent delving in Jema’s dreams.
Although Jema and Thierry are clearly the protagonists of this novel, this story as a whole works to further deepen and darken the saga, giving a new twist to the eternal battle between the Darkyn and the Brethren. But it’s the human angle, particularly the complex relationship between Alex and her priest brother, that will hold readers fascinated. Adding new characters, angles and motivations to the central plot while further complicating the existing ones, the author ensures that readers will wait with bated breath for the next book in this series. On that note, readers are advised to read this series in order as it will help them understand the continued and complex plotlines.