Friday, July 22, 2011
The Council of Shadows by S. M. Stirling
This second book in the Shadowspawn series continues, in a somewhat relaxed manner, what was started in the first book, A Taint in the Blood. Ellen and Adrian are finally free of his evil twin sister, Adrienne, and they get married to...live happily ever after? What's the line from the Hertz commercial?
Of course, the Shadowspawn are still around, and the Council is determined that it is time to thin out the human herd. The only question is about which method of inducing mass extinction is best. The "progressives" think it should be done in a manner which leaves all of the modern conveniences which they've grown accustomed to in place, while the "conservatives" don't care for all this modern nonsense, and just want to return to the glory days when their kind ruled the world.
The Brotherhood is sneakily trying to put together a plan to catch all of the Council members at a summit in Tblisi and to nuke them out of existence.
In this installment, most of the graphic sex and violence happens "off-stage", for a change. Evidently after setting the scene in Taint, Stirling feels comfortable knowing that we all understand how depraved the Shadowspawn are, and doesn't belabor the point, but reinforces it more subtly. There's a few good plot twists, as Ellen and Adrian indulge in a bit of intrigue while honeymooning, and there's a new side plot about human detectives looking into some bizaare happenings, that I expect we'll see more fully realized as time goes on.