Monday, April 15, 2013

Blood Trade by Faith Hunter

Once again, Jane gets smack dab in the middle of vampire power struggles when the master of Natchez, Hieronymous (referred to mentally throughout as Big H by Jane) pays her to take care of an...infestation of Naturaleza vampires. Perhaps a bit of Jane's universe history would be good here. For centuries, there have been two types of vampires in the world, the Naturaleza, or free, vampires, who simply prey upon humans and slaughter their victims at will, with no thought for the consequences, and regarding humans only as prey, and the Mithrans who, at least for a vampire, seem to care for the humans who are their blood servants, and seldom drain them to death. Leo and Big H are Mithrans - not horribly bad guys as far as vampires go. The old master vampire villain from Death's Rival, de Allyon, was a Naturaleza, and had been responsible for the slaughter of thousands over his centuries of life.

The Naturaleza who have invaded Natchez turn out to be even harder to kill than others Jane has seen in the past, and are somehow being changed by a combination of the vampire plague and some black magic, losing their vulnerability to silver, healing faster, and in some cases turning insectlike, with chitinous armor. Ups the "ick" factor a little bit, eh? Jane takes up residence in a mansion she nearly destroyed in her last trip to Natchez, and she and her two new sidekicks, Eli and The Kid, proceed to make war upon the Naturaleza vampires and their allies.

Jane's relationship to Rick LaFleur is, of course, still strained, since she accused him of trying to kill her the last time she saw him. He is now working for the federal government's supernatural investigation team, PsyLED, and shows up on scene fairly early with a woman (actually some sort of supernatural being as yet unrevealed) named Soul, the gryndilow, and a werewolf locked in wolf form named Brute, ostensibly to help investigate this new vampire threat. So things are tense on the romantic front, especially when Jane suspects Rick of being involved with every female he talks to under the age of sixty.

To further complicate matters, Bruise shows up to keep an eye on things for Leo. Bruise has become an Onorio, a type of human servant who is not bound to serve any particular vampire, though they may do so by choice, and who are very tough to kill, and long lived (and probably possess some spiffy powers we'll get to see in later books). 

And to really make things fun, an old acquaintance, Misha, from the state school where Jane grew up with other orphans, occasionally sent out to the foster care system. Misha is a reporter now, recently turned author, in Natchez to do research for her magnum opus on vampires. Misha's daughter, Charly, has advanced leukemia, and it is rumored that some medicines mixed with vampire blood can cure the disease, so Misha has an extra motive to get close to the vampires. Another ward of the state, Bobby, has come with Misha. Jane used to defend Misha and Bobby from the bullies, and when Misha is kidnapped by the bloodsuckers, Jane has no alternative but to go rescue her.

Lots of violence, viciousness, and vampire politics in this one, plus the usual voyage of self-discovery for Jane.

No comments: