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In Banks's third overheated hip-hop vampire thriller (after Minion and The Awakening), Damali Richards, a vampire huntress (or "Neteru"), reconnects with her vampire lover Carlos Rivera, whom she thought was killed in the previous novel but who's now serving a penance for his vampiric misdeeds within a modern-day Knights Templar stronghold. In Brazil, where were-creatures have been terrorizing a portion of the rain forest, Damali and Carlos encounter a female vampire possessed, via were-cat infection and flesh-eating, by the bitter memories of a 500-year-old Neteru who lost her life to raping and pillaging conquistadors. Carlos is tempted by the female vampire's offer of joint rule, and Damali must battle to stop an alliance between renegade vampires and demons that promises catastrophe for were-demons, vampires and humans alike. The hip-hop turn to the book's prose alleviates the tedium of a stock genre plot, while the well-conceived and intricate rules of Banks's vampire-inhabited world provide endless opportunities for riffs on the meaning of power and sex that will please lovers of similar purplish philosophical musings found in the vampire tales of Anne Rice and Laurell K. Hamilton.
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The third book in an exciting series picks up where the previous one, The Awakening [BKL Ja 1 & 15 04], left off, with spoken word artist-vampire huntress Damali Richards believing Carlos Rivera, the vampire she loves, is dead. Her depression has weakened her extrasensory skills, and her friends are worried about her. Little do any of them know that Carlos is clinging to life where they left him and is saved by three priests, members of the Covenant who believe Carlos owes them seven years of service protecting Damali. Carlos reluctantly submits, but he doesn't want Damali to know he is alive for her own safety. However, he isn't able to keep away from her, and the two find themselves in each other's arms, consummating their passion for the first time, even as danger from the Vampire Council and a powerful were-group grows. In this third adventure, Banks fleshes out the rich world Damali and her friends and enemies inhabit, making it an even more exciting place to visit. Another thrilling tale. Kristine Huntley
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