Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Council of Shadows-S.M. Stirling

The Council of Shadows
S.M. Stirling
Roc, May 3 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780451463937

They are creatures of myths and legends: beingss who drink blood; rhose who shift shape; and sorcerers who use magic to control people and the environment. They are Homo Nocturnis Shadowspawn hominids who are not human as they contain genes that enable them to use the energy powers of the universe. Their source is science not magic and once the Empire of Shadow in prehistorical times ruled mankind. Over the eons, their bloodline wasdiluted by mating with the humans and now they rule in the shadows, working behind the scenes to control people and events.

The Council of Shadows want to come out in the open and believe they can accomplish this by killing about half the human population in what they declare Operation Trimback. The Council will decide how when all the Shadowspawn meet in Tbilisi. Shadowspawn Adrian Brézé and his human wife along with the rebel group the Brotherhood want to prevent the pandemic species cleansing. He will soon be taken aback to learn who is leading the death squads as that person is as powerful as Adrian is, but also sinister as collateral damage even among the Shadowspawn is an acceptable price and has traitors supporting the endeavor.

Ellen and Adrian are in love, but while she lacks enough genetic material to tap into the Shadowspawn energy, he treats her as his equal. The middle book contains less action than its predecessor (see A Taint in the Blood) as the entreating story line digs deeper into the psyche of individuals and the group dynamics of the Council and the Brotherhood. Urban fantasy readers will appreciate S.M. Stirling’s enjoyable urban fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

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