I first heard of this series over on Vampire Wire, which has an excellent interview with the author and a contest for one of the books going on right now.
The premise: William Cuyler Thorne is an old (circa 1500's) vampire who lives in Savannah, GA. He's got two ancient Egyptian guard dogs who shift into human form during the night, and a voodoo priestess at his beck and call to protect him. He's also got a 'son', or fledgling vampire that he made 140 years ago -- Jack.
Jack was a soldier during the "War of Northern Agression" (that's what some southerners term the American Civil War), and he's a good mix of modern fun compared to William's older, more serious personality. Both men enjoy women, with Jack being a self-described womanizer, and whereas William's tastes are much more refined, Jack is a good ole boy who runs an automotive shop and follows NASCAR religiously.
The setting of Savannah, which reminds me alot of New Orleans, with its eccentric characters, heat, and voodoo, was perfect -- there's a great blend of magic, vampire lore, shapeshifters, along with good old southern charm. The plot in this novel is as follows: William's sire, Redreek, has made the trip from the Old World to Savannah for the purpose of seeking out William, though for what purpose isn't clear -- to destroy him, or convert him to an ally in Redreek's evil cause. William HATES his sire, as Redreek destroyed William's wife and child before making William carry the memory of their deaths for all eternity.
William and Jack make for a good pair -- kinda like the guy-buddy movies you see of the more straight-laced guy with the reckless one. William didn't ask to be made into a vampire, but he doesn't sit around bemoaning that fact, and though Jack is sad about the fact that he'll never have a wife and family, he doesn't sit around whining about it, which is a relief. Redreek is evil and fun in that way, and the only thing I can really say that is a bit of a negative was that I found some inconsistencies in the presentation of the characters -- Redreek loves being an ancient vampire, lording over the human world, though he used some decidedly modern speech patterns and phrases. The same for William, and whereas William started off as describing himself as evil to the core, death on two feet, he's clearly not that as the novel progresses.
In terms of depth and themes, this is more of a plot-driven novel, and there's some very tense scenes when one wonders if Jack will succumb to the dark side. I didn't find it as deep as Interview With the Vampire, with its themes of 'meaning of life and death', though it's not a light, fluffy romance novel, either. The book is told in the first person from the viewpoints of both Jack and William, and I found the contrast in terms of thought patterns and language between the older and younger vampire very funny and well-done. All in all, the novel is a good blend of an entertaining read with some interesting, fun characters in a perfect setting, and I really do recommend it. I'll definitely be getting more books in this series, after I read Midnight Brunch by Marta Acosta!
Three out of 5 stars!
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