Geek Reads

Geek Reads

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Of Saints and Shadows- Christopher Golden

With True Blood author Charlaine Harris and Otherworld author, Kelley Armstrong both endorsing the novel, there was really some expectation for this novel to be good. And it really is and kicks butt.

I got introduced to the writing style of Christopher Golden when he penned the Gatekeeper trilogy for the Buffy The Vampire slayer tv tie-in books and I felt then that he was able to capture the essence of Joss Whedon’s characters and give us an adventure that most Buffy fans can dream of replaying it in their homes on their tv sets. But alas the story was only meant to be read. But that was enough to make a Buffy fan like me take notice of Christopher Golden and his ease and familiarity with the supernatural.

Fast forward, I read about Christopher’s Vampire series but haven’t had much luck in getting the book locally as it was not available. Luckily, I was able to get Book 2 at a Book Sale some years back and finally last year, the book that preceded and started the series, entitled, Of Saints and Shadows.

The whole novel apart from incorporating some canon information on Vampire lore that most people knew also included some massive reworking of that very same system into the heart of the novel itself. The novel centers on a vampire/private investigator, named Peter Octavian, living in the city of Chicago and discovering that the “random” case that he was working on may not be random after all. How could it not be when it involved seemingly indiscriminate killings of humans, with their corpses strewn around the crime scene and links to the Catholic Church. These same killings also coincide with the death of some prominent Vampires in their closed society as they are brutally hunted down by men of the cloth. One such Vampire happened to be Peter’s maker, a German Vampire who goes by his name of Karl Von Reinman.

In moments of his death, we are given an insight as to how Peter was disowned from Karl’s Coven for he claimed that the Catholic Church lied to them and was actually covering up the truth in the hopes of subverting their existence and keeping them in check. These truths consisted of misinformation and a form of brainwashing; for Vampires can actually withstand the rays of the sun, can change into any form at will and like Peter proved at a later part in the book, can in fact, enter the Catholic Church and not be barred from it.
Peter is no doubt the one who rallies his kind together in the hopes of exposing the lies that the Vatican has been spreading and hopefully inform as much he can of their kind; that all was lie. That the path for self discovery begins now.

My idol, author Anne Rice has always said that her Vampire books are about the mentality and the metaphor of a Vampire which represents the outsider. Peter Octavian for the most although acts alongside humans and suppresses his Vampiric nature. The fact that he has been cut off from his original Coven of the Defiant Ones (as the Church calls them), and his secrecy at keeping his true nature at bay to most humans save his blood supplier a new found woman, he proves to be the ideal Outsider in this story.

The other outsiders are the antagonists, consisting of Father Liam Mulkerrin, a Vatican Sorcerer after an old tome hidden in the vaults of the Vatican, called The Gospel of Shadows. The book itself is a prize to the Church but a truth revealer if in the hands of a Vampire. Golden’s writing is clear and accurate and makes any reader wish that this book would see the light of Hollywood if marketed right.

 But after reading this, I can contend myself in the fact that I would have to scour the many boxes of books I have in storage for the second book called Angel Souls and Devil Hearts and start looking for the subsequent books in the series of which

Book 3 called Of Masques and Martyrs (released last December 2010 and Book 4 (The Gathering Dark)

and Book 5 (Waking Nightmares) will be released subsequently in February and April of 2011.

Vampires. Vatican. Venice. Vengance. Vindication. Very Good!