Burying the Shadow is a book that involves two major storylines intertwining and finally, at the conclusion of the story, colliding. The story is told by two female narrators who alternate their accounts (not switching off every chapter, but very nearly) and together give the novel an narrative style wherein the reader often knows more about what's going on the than do the characters themselves.
The first narrator is Gimel Metetronim, an 'artisan' in the city of Sacramante, part of a vast, fantastic mystical world Storm creates as a stand-in / alternature universe for Earth. The 'artisans' live in an isolated quarter of the city while gaining fame among the human populace, gifting them with their plays, music, poetry, paintings and other creative endeavors. All the artisans' work is sponsored by patron families, who, as it turns out, pay for this artwork with more their money -- they pay with their blood. This is because the artisans don't just *seem* otherworldly, but actually *are*, for they are the eloim, a race of human-seeming but immortal blooddrinkers who came from another world and now live on earth, surviving through a symbiotic relationshp with the patron families.
Although Sacramante is widely renowned for its arts scene, the intimate relationship between the eloim and the human families is a tightly held secret, with family members accepting and welcoming the 'sup' (small drinks that do not kill), eloim using human servants (who'se lives can be extended via bloodsharing), and offerings of willing sacrificial victims, including children. This is the way it has been for centuries, only now, after such a long period of stability, the situation in Sacramante has begun to change, become unbalanced. There is a sickness among the eloim/'artisans,' with a rash of suicides, unheard of among the immortal race. There is debate as to the cause of this sickness, but finally Gimel and her brother (yes, brother) Beth decide they can't wait for answer to fall from the sky or be delivered by the Parzupheim, the body of ancients who govern the eloim world. They go in search of a 'soulscaper,' a highly specialized professional trained to enter the subconscious and repair the soulscape, the inner mind and spirit found in all individuals and tied to both mind and body. (Those readers familiar with the study of archetypes, Carl Jung, dreams, etc., will find this fascinating.)
The second narrative is delivered by of Rayojini the soulscaper, whose story intersects with that of the eloim. As the story begins Rayojini is a human girl, a daughter of a soulscraper, living in the fantastical petrified forest city of Taparak, home of the soulscapers and their art. Through a sacred cememony involving the specialized scrying fumes (needed to enter the subconscious world), Rayojini is initiated into the life of a soulscaper and also introduced to her 'guardian pursuers,' symbolic figures all soulscapers are taught to look for as figures of their conscience and/or overseers in their lives. Little does Rayojini realize that her 'guardian pursuers' are real -- Gimel and Beth!
From here on out, Rayo finds the course of her life straying from the ordinary as she feels the presence of her guardian pursuers, who track her life, waiting for the moment they can use her talents to discover the source of the eloim sickness, which is growing worse as yet further disturbances and mysteries unfold in Sacramante. Finally Rayo begins to make discoveries that lead her on a quest across vast distances, through strange cultures and soulscapes, uncovering a world of which she never dreamed. By the end of the tale she is doubting her own sanity as the world of the eloim collides with that of the human and vast mysteries, hidden even to the eloim themselves, make themselves known.
As a Storm Constantine novel, Burying the Shadow comes complete with the usual Storm trademarks, including a lush narrative, a marvelously complex fantasy world with races, history and geography of its own, and heavy eroticism among members of both/all genders. That said, the book is an interesting contrast to the Grigori triology, which covers some of the same ground (secret immortal race stranded on earth after being expelled from alternate, higher universe of vast powers, with a narrative involving two groups attacking the same problem from different angles) in that it has a much tighter, more focused narrative, offers more in the way of plot and mystery, and is set in a fantastic, rather than contemporary, world. Burying the Shadow is also notable for featuring not one but two strong female protagonists who share the spotlight along with a vast array of supporting characters, including dangerous Avirzah'e, manipulative Keea, a fabulous tribe of nomads, the enigmatic Sammael, and more.
I would strongly recommend this book to those seek a distinctly different reading of the vampire myth as well as those looking to dive into a unique and thrillingly gothic fantasy world.