FROM THE BOOKCOVER:Bond of Darkness rounds out Diane Whiteside’s trilogy of The Texas Vampires. This gritty urban fantasy series has been a particular favourite of mine. In it the author has created a unique vampire culture based on customs and language from feudal Spain. Layers of this heritage flavour the book with a rich texture that melds wonderfully with the frontier cowboy culture of Texas.
Texas Ranger Stephanie “Steve” Reynolds is on the hunt for a serial killer who is stalking innocent women in the Lone Star State. The beautiful Ranger comes to suspect the unbelievable – that the killer is a vampire.
Steve knows all about vampiros, since she has a demon lover of her own. For the past several years, Ethan Templeton has been helping her on cases when he wasn’t sharing her bed. But Steve, craving mortal motherhood, refused to get serious about the handsome vampire. Especially after she saw him kill a man she’d just arrested…
Ethan loves Steve, but he thinks nothing can come of their passion. Even if he could convince her to share his immortal life, his vampire patron, Don Rafael Perez, would execute him for transforming her.
But when the killer menaces Steve, Ethan realizes he has no choice except to risk everything. Will Steve agree to join a man she’s called murderer—or will she refuse her one chance at eternal life, lust, and love?
The novels are dark and hard-edged, about powerful men with strong passions and loyalties, evocative in many ways of gangster stories like the Godfather, only with vampires. Against this backdrop is interwoven a compelling romance. This is Ethan and Steve’s story.
Bond of Darkness may seem familiar to those that have read the earlier two volumes. Much of the background story arc is a fresh retelling of many of the events from the first two books told from the point of view of Steve and Ethan. Steve has been Ethan’s lover off and on for 15 years and is recently divorced. Her work as a Texas Ranger leads her to investigate a horrible string of deaths, that may be murders, and she suspects vampires are involved. She reconnects with Ethan romantically and professionally to enlist his aid.
There is plenty of taut action as Steve pursues her investigation leading her to crime lords, vampires and more then one bloody showdown. The case expands to include the FBI and U.S. Federal agents and a joint task force. Steve benefits from her insider knowledge of vampires but is unable to share the real truth with her fellow agents in the hunt for the killers. The law enforcement procedural elements of the story are particularly well done.
Through Ethan’s eyes we see the entire behind the scenes activity in the lengthy war against Madame Celeste and her New Orleans vampire forces responsible for the troubles in Texas. As head of security for the Texas territory Ethan is intimately involved in every detail. We also watch as he struggles with his envy of his patron’s cónyuge, or life mate bond and his own desire for a similar bond with Steve.
All of the story threads, both romantic and action, converge in a rousing and satisfying conclusion. Bond of Darkness may be read as a standalone novel; however I would encourage everyone to read the earlier books. That prior knowledge will bring an additional appreciation and depth to this freshly told and many-layered urban fantasy thriller.
As a final observation, I have often found it curious that in the fictional worlds of immortal vampires, urban fantasy and paranormal authors rarely take advantage of the opportunity to delve in to the historical antecedents of their characters backgrounds even though centuries of history may be available to mine. Handled appropriately, integrating detailed flashbacks can add considerably to the stories. This is ably demonstrated in Ms. Whiteside’s trilogy where such flashbacks add even more depth to her already complex characters.
Read the Prologue and Chapter One.
Earlier Books in The Texas Vampire Trilogy
From the author’s website.
- Bond of Blood is the first volume of The Texas Vampires trilogy. While most of the story takes place in present day Texas, part of it occurs in thirteenth century Spain and fifteenth century Lebanon. It was published in January 2006.
- Bond of Fire is the second volume, focusing on Jean-Marie St. Just, Don Rafael’s chief diplomat and spy. Again, while most of the story takes place in present day Texas and New Orleans, part of it takes place during the French Revolution and the Peninsular War. It was published in January 2008.