Title: Knight of Swords
Author: Sara Curran-Ross
Page Count: 281 KB (Kindle format)
Publisher: Hellfire Publishing
Genre: paranormal romance
Copy for review provided by the author in anticipation of an honest review
Nathan Valancourt is young, stinking rich, a darling of London's social scene in 1893, and a notorious womanizer. He had never believed in the supernatural, but, when a vampire killer masquerading as a clergyman begins haunting his dreams, forcing him to endure visions of the murders of his previous female conquests, Nathan determines to amend his frivolous ways.
When the killer turns his attention to Nathan's beautiful ward, Juliet, Nathan is anxious to protect her. As they battle the monster, Nathan and Juliet gradually realize that they share a psychic connection. This close bond triggers the discovery of their true heritage as descendants of human-vampire unions. Led to the gradual revealing of powers beyond their imagination, their bond offers them hope of victory.
Knight of Swords is a unique book. It's a genre-bender, which seem to always catch my eye, and in this case the genres being bended are paranormal romance and historical fiction, two of my perpetual favorites. This story is also unique in that it's told from the hero's point of view, even though, at first, he might not be the one we as readers might have chosen for a heroic role.
Nathan, Lord Valancourt, begins the story as a rake in the truest sense of the word. If it wears a skirt and walks on two legs, it's fair game for his attention as far as he's concerned. That all changes when his dreams begin to be haunted by a creeptastic guy dressed as a clergyman who horrifically and methodically kills Nathan's former lovers, one at a time, all while talking about a mysterious Juliet. Nathan can't do anything to stop the murders- who would believe him if he tried to explain how he knew who the killer was, after all, and since marital status was not previously a boundary which Nathan respected, the police are vaguely considering him as a suspect as well.
Things go from bad to worse when Nathan realizes that Juliet is not only a real person, but is the young woman whom he takes on as a ward as a last request to his dying uncle. When he goes to rescue her from the horrible abuse she's suffering at the hands of jealous relations, he opens a supernatural can of worms that make his horrible nightmares pale by comparison.
You see, Juliet and Nathan share a peculiar ancestry. As unknowing descendants of relationships between humans and vampires, neither of them had any knowledge of the parallel supernatural world that was following them, just below the surface. When the trauma Juliet was suffering forces the change on her and drags Nathan down as well, both have to learn to live as creatures that they previously thought were totally made up. Add in some blossoming tingly feelings for each other and challengers from all sides who want Juliet for themselves, and these two find themselves in quite a sticky wicket indeed.
I know what you're thinking. Sure, sure, another vampire book, another story of fated mates and overcoming tremendous-bordering-on-ridiculous odds, another series about to be launched. I'm happy to say that this story takes elements of traditional vampire lore and remixes them into something new and unique. Juliet has powers and abilities far beyond what anyone expected, and all Nathan wants is to stand by her, which her followers and his advisers make exceedingly difficult. With protectors like that, it seems like it might be more efficient to stand naked in the middle of the street with a sign that says "free to a good home." They tried, they really did, but in the end it didn't help and Nathan is the one that has to make the tough choices. Even at the end, where the ground is being prepared for the second book, a remark is made that everyone in attendance on Juliet would give their lives to protect her while Nathan leaves on another quest. Hopefully they're willing to pay up if the first book is any indication.
Like I said, this isn't your typical vampire romance. It's different, which is a good thing, and I recommend it to everyone who loves the vampire subgenre but is ready for a different flavor.
Sara Curran-Ross has graciously offered up a digital copy of Knight of Swords to one lucky carnival participant! Standard procedure applies- fill out the form below to enter. Comment saying you entered this giveaway on the 7/1 Why Read Indie Books? post for an added shot at the $25 Amazon gift card. Make sure you leave your entry comment in the correct place for it to count.