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    Review of THE PRIEST OF BLOOD by Douglas Clegg (see his website)


    Berkley, October 2005

    Son of a whore and an unknown father, Aleric is told that the blood of ancient kings runs in his veins. Still, poverty and early death seems more likely to be his fate--until his skill with birds lets him get a job for the local baron. Even there, he faces emnity. When his mother is convicted of witchcraft, Aleric is sent off to a Crusade--where he is eventually captured by a vampire and finally converted. Only then does his real adventure begin. Aleric, it seems, just might be the prophesied savior of the vampire tribe--but only if he can seek and find the lost city of the vampires and reclaim the power of the Priest of the Blood.

    Author Douglas Clegg creates in intriguing alternate earth world. In their lesser state, vampires may be immortal, but they lose control of their bodies after a mere century or so. They are hunted by men, just as men hunt them. Still, they pass down memories of their ancient glories--and the dreams of a savior who will let them reclaim their ancient powers.

    Clegg chooses to tell his story from a ponderous first-person point of view. For me, at least, the faux-medieval style of his narration and dialogue detracted from the story's interest. Too, the first half of the book, before he bacame a vampire, is mostly backstory (the brief affair with Alienora certainly needs to be covered). As a result, the really critical moments of the story--the invasion of the mountain city, Aleric's visions through the veil, the return, and his final conflict, all seem shortchanged and robbed of emotional intensity.

    Clegg creates a world of high potential, but doesn't quite tell the story that lives up to this potential.

    Two Stars

    Reviewed 12/18/05

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