Friday, January 23, 2009

Review – “Stay the Night” by Lynn Viehl

STAY WITH HER...Legendary outlaw and immortal vampire Darkyn lord Robin of Locksley has stolen countless works of art, evading human authorities for the past seven hundred years. The prince of thieves also tends to steal the hearts of women—until the night he meets the woman who steals his.

STAY ON HIM...Undercover federal agent Chris Renshaw has no time for an affair with Robin. She's hoping to snag an elusive art thief, using as bait the priceless Maiden's Book of Hours. When it's stolen, Chris has no choice but to. join forces with Robin to recover it.

STAY THE NIGHT...Although Chris and Robin mistrust each other, the sexual tension between them grows ever tauter. As they cross Europe to rescue the book—and those, the thief would hurt—they'll have to choose between losing each other and losing everything valuable to them.
There is some good news and some sad news about the latest Darkyn book. First the sad news. Stay the Night is Lynn Viehl’s seventh and final novel in her Darkyn paranormal romance series. The good news is the final book is terrific and there is going to be a spinoff series called the Kyndred.

Stay the Night delivers an exhilarating globe-hopping thriller and romance. FBI agent Chris Renshaw is working undercover as an art dealer on a sting operation to snare the notorious international art thief they call The Magician. Little does Chris know that The Magician is Robin Locksley, a Darkyn with the gift of persuasion. The bait used is an ancient manuscript that Robin has been chasing for centuries.

The operation goes bad, the book is stolen by Robin’s Darkyn nemesis Nottingham and Chris and Robin are thrown together to recover the book taking them on a journey to Venice and ultimately London. Robin is enthralled with Chris who is immune to his vampire l’attrait that normally allows Darkyn to control and manipulate humans. Chris struggles to reconcile the many bizarre events with rational explanations but is slowly convinced by Robin of the reality of Darkyn existence. Part of the attraction of urban fantasy for me is seeing how characters respond to such revelations and Stay the Night gives us a great protagonist in Chris – intelligent, self-reliant and inquisitive – who responds with ingenuity and flare. This and the romance dance between Robin and Chris is the heart but not the whole of the novel.

Stay the Night also continues the series long story arc featuring Cyprien the Darkyn seigneur of North America and his physician wife Alexandra. A conclave of all of the seigneurs has been called in London to debate whether to go to war with the Brethren, the secret society bent on destroying the Darkyn. Darkyn refugees and survivors are pouring into London after being burned out of their territories across Europe. In treating the many burn victims, Alexandra uncovers the Brethren’s strategy and purpose to their campaign of destruction which has significant implications to the Kyn.

Alternating POV’s neatly integrate the two main story lines and a number of subplots making Stay the Night a complex and fast-paced story. Chris and Robin’s mission, the ancient manuscript, Nottingham and his accomplices and the decisions in London all prove connected and lead to an emotionally satisfying conclusion of both the book and the series that includes Alexandra’s long sought after solution to the origins and cure for the Kyn. The romance between Chris and Robin in particular has several surprising and unexpected twists at the end.

Stay the Night does not tie up all the story arcs introduced throughout the series, but definitely hits the high notes leaving no sense of disappointment. There is no doubt many of the unanswered questions will be brought forward to the new series. There is some excellent foreshadowing involving the recurring character of Luisa and Alexandra’s brother John that presages some interesting possibilities for more stories involving the Brethren and the fascinating Darkyn universe. A preview of Shadowlight (Nov 2009), the first novel in the Kyndred series is provided at the back of the book.

The novels of the Darkyn are best enjoyed in sequence. If you are looking for paranormal romance that delivers great characters, storytelling and romance, then try this series, one of the best in the paranormal category.

For those familiar with the series, there is one last opportunity to read a Darkyn novel. Lynn Viehl has written a parallel story called Master of Shadows related to Stay the Night involving events back in the United States after Chris and Robin’s disappearance. This is available only as an ebook and can be purchased from the usual online sources.


Excerpt from Stay the Night and Master of Shadows.

Penguin Group (USA)
Published: January 2009
ISBN #: 9780451412669
Format: Paperback
Pages: 317

Darkyn Series:

  1. If Angels Burn (2005)
  2. Private Demon (2005)
  3. Dark Need (2006)
  4. Night Lost (2007)
  5. Evermore (2008)
  6. Twilight Fall (2008)
  7. Stay the Night (2009)
  8. Master of Shadows (eSpecial release)

Kyndred Series:

  1. Shadowlight (November 2009)


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