Ancient Blood: A Novel of the Hegemony By Brian Patrick McKinley
The story begins with Caroline Ludlow and Avery Doyle, lovers, running from an unknown threat. That threat is Sebastian: a feral Vampyr whose more primitive traits have smothered those of his more human characteristics. He is Caroline’s Creator, the man she once loved with all her heart and the person she lived with for many generations. Sebastian introduced Caroline to The Order.
After a brief struggle, Caroline and Avery are captured by Sebastian’s people and tossed into his version of a “wine cellar.” Sebastian’s cellar is stocked with more than 100 human prisoners used for food and liqueur recipes by his masterful chef. Avery, a new Vampyr, who dreamt of becoming such a creature his entire life, struggles with this far from romantic reality of life as a Vampyr he is now facing.
To punish Caroline for running from him and taking a lover (and Creating), and to punish this Creation, Caroline and Avery are forced to serve the Hegemony (the Vampyr leaders). During this time, the two try to come up with a plan for escape. They determine the best way is to assist in a takeover of the Hegemony. The current leader, Iago, is going to be overthrown; he knows this and seems to accept it. There are others who might take his place. One is Sebastian; if this happens, the world will become a dark place, since Vampyrs control all politics and world leaders. Or, Iago can rally back and prevent this from happening. There are other choices of course, all grim.
If Sebastian wins, Caroline and Avery will die. If Iago wins and they are Released, they will become part of The Game.
Brian Patrick McKinley has created a complicated vampiric world, a world that is dark and dangerous. Here there are dungeons and war; hate and discontent bubble just beneath the surface.
Vampires in this world are not the beautiful, but flawed humans looking for love to heal their wounds many of us are used to reading about. They are shallow, competitive, sex-driven beings who enjoy herding humans along and savoring the taste of blood for its own sake. They don’t stay awake at night mourning the loss of their humanity. The few caring creatures left in this world seem to be idealistic and the reader wonders if they will hold onto this fanciful notion of life a few centuries down the road.
McKinley’s world is a different take in the multi-faceted vampire genre. He is able to create some compelling and disturbing images of his Vampyrs.
This novel was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review (in affiliation with Goodreads’ Read for Review program).