Second in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles series based in 19th century London.
A month after Philip’s death, Victoria finds herself out on the streets hunting vampires. Anything to distract herself from the pain of his death and her own guilt. But an incident on the street causes her to draw back and it isn’t until another year has passed that Victoria again takes to the streets hunting vampires where she finds a bit more than she bargained for. A sigil and the news out of Rome forces Victoria to sail for Italy. A new danger has arisen which, if successful, may spell the end for all Venators and the human world.
Lady Victoria Gardella Grantworth de Lacy, a.k.a., Lady Rockley, widowed after the events of The Rest Falls Away, is marking time in her husband’s mansion until his heir decides to return from America. The incident shortly after his death encourages her to train even more strenuously for her role as a Venator, an hereditary vampire slayer. Verbena is Victoria’s maid and completely aware of her alter ego. For which Victoria is thrilled as it makes dressing as a man and slipping out into the night so much easier…
Eustacia Gardella is Victoria’s aunt and The Gardella in the Venator society due to her direct descent from the original Gardella Venator hundreds of years before. Kritanu was originally assigned to train Eustacia and they became lovers.
Wayren is a librarian for the Venators. Max is one of Eustacia’s protégés and, although a human, he went through the tests to become a Venator. He is one of Victoria’s harshest critics.
Sebastian Vioget (Beauregard’s great-great-great-etc. grandson) is an unknown quantity in Victoria’s world. She can’t decide whose side he’s on but she can’t resist the sexual attraction between them. In The Rest Falls Away, he owned the Silver Chalice, a pub where vampires and humans mixed without harm.
Lilith is a vampire queen who Turned Phillip in an attempt to seize the artifact (in The Rest Falls Away). Victoria’s success forced her to retreat to Romania. The Tutela is a group of humans who support and nurture vampires in the hope that they will be Turned.
I liked this installment much better than the first book in the series. I’m caught up in the romance part of it now. I don’t know if I’m more accustomed to its soap opera feel or just because Victoria isn’t as incredibly stupid in this book as the first and Gleason does have a very good feel for the time period and continues this with the dialog.
I want to know what happens with Sebastian—he definitely wants her alive and in his bed or coach or… Then there’s Max. I think Max criticizes Victoria simply to push her away from him because he is attracted to her. Although, he has a long hard road ahead of him after his incredibly, horrible actions.
One niggle: when Victoria is “rescued” on the street, how did her rescuer miss noting the unusual circumstances and adding up 2-plus-2??? Weak, very weak.
Well, I can see the relevance of the lovely dagger the hot and hunky six-packed guy is holding as well as the tree with its limbs spread out like a cross, but what relevance it has for the story…I dunno.