FROM THE BOOK COVERThe First Vampire is a debut paranormal romance subtitled ‘A Novel of Samson & Delilah’. Author Alicia Benson has re-imagined the origin of the vampire by pulling a page from the Old Testament with a twist. Although set in contemporary New York City, the back story of the events that made Samson an immortal vampire and Delilah his nemesis are skillfully and gradually woven into the main story arc so as to sustain an air of mystery and uncertainty about the characters and their motivations.
Some journeys take more than one lifetime, and three thousand years after he was betrayed, captured, blinded and turned into a vampire, Samson is still holding a grudge. In fact, ever since Delilah used a devilish brew from Lilith to turn him into a vampire and then turned him over to the Philistines, Samson has been plotting revenge against his former lover and arch nemesis.
When he finally catches up to the reincarnate Delilah in modern day New York City, it seems as though he has all the time in the world to see that the last chapter of their sordid saga is finally written. But much like old enemies, old passions die hard, and Samson is forced to make a surprisingly hard choice. Does he want her dead more than he wants her back in his bed?
While billionaire Sampson has lived an immortal life, Delilah is currently incarnated as Ariana Chambers, a successful financial advisor. Sampson has revenge on his mind and Ariana/Delilah has no idea of her past lives. A chance encounter with Ariana’s ex-husband James leads him to Ariana and recognition of her as Delilah. As you might expect there is a spark between Samson and Ariana much to Sampson’s conflicted dismay.
Nevertheless Sampson plots his revenge which draws Ariana to London and then back to New York after everyone’s plans go awry. Schemes and plots surround Sampson in The First Vampire, from the mysterious disappearance of older vampires, to the reappearance of a millennia old enemy with his own agenda for revenge. Acolytes of Lilith even put in an appearance to fulfill the original bargain Delilah made with the demon.
Ariana’s life of course becomes supremely complicated as she becomes immersed in the supernatural world she never knew existed. Her romantic entanglements equally so, as she finds herself beguiled by another vampire.
His kisses were like martinis she thought dazedly. Three of them and the room was spinning.For those expecting a rosy romance, be forewarned that the vampire culture portrayed is surprisingly unsympathetic and unapologetic towards use of humans as a mere food source. While this is not ground breaking, many scenes including a ‘feast’ at the Council House are particularly horrific for the very matter-of-factness with which they are described. This makes for an unusual mix of the macabre and affairs of the heart.
The novel concludes with some unresolved story arcs, but no cliff-hangers leaving plenty of opportunities for the planned sequel. The First Vampire is a solid debut for Alicia Benson. Recommended for those that prefer harder edged action romances.
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