I really enjoyed the original series, so I knew I would enjoy this extension of the story. It is pretty important to read the All Souls Trilogy before this book. There are a lot of references to characters and major plot points. So, fair warning before you read this book.
The main story follows two of the supporting characters from the trilogy, Phoebe and Marcus. There is also a subplot which follows the two main characters from the trilogy, Matthew and Diana. Phoebe and Marcus are mates. Phoebe is a human that is transitioning to a vampire in this book. Marcus became a vampire during the Revolutionary War. The book mainly follows these two transitions.
What I loved most about this book was the historical fiction aspect. In telling the story of Marcus, the author recounts parts of the Revolutionary War, the French Revolution, the yellow fever outbreak in Philidelphia, as well as what it was like during that time in places like London and New Orleans. It was absolutely fascinating. This author does the interweaving of historical figures like Thomas Paine and Benjamin Franklin with the fictional vampires and witches so well. It actually prompted me to look up some of these events since I had never heard of them before (primarily the yellow fever outbreak).
There was a major familial theme throughout the book. What makes a family and what is your responsibility to the family you choose or is chosen for you? How should we treat our children? In the acknowledgments, the author mentions her father who passed away in 2015. I can see how her relationship with her father heavily impacted a lot of the relationships in this book. Especially with Marcus who came from an abusive home as a human and spent a lot of time searching for a true father.
There is profanity in this book. The “F” word is used a few times. There is also a good bit of explicit sexual content. When vampires are transitioning from humans, they go through an “adolescent” stage which makes them have a lot of hormones. This led to sexual fantasies, some dirty conversations, and a sex scene. There is also a time when Marcus is being trained as an aristocrat that they compare handling a sword with masturbation.
There is also some violence in the book, although it spans the time of both the French Revolution and the Revolutionary War so there is bound to be some loss. I didn’t feel it was very graphic or explicit, though. They even include Dr. Guillotin in the story who proposed the guillotine as a new form of capital punishment (used for Marie Antoinette – not a spoiler, just history).
I really enjoyed this series. I highly recommend it for anyone who likes a bit of historical fiction with their paranormal stories. I would caution with the above caveats about the content, but it’s definitely worth a read.