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Taint In The Blood, A (2010)
Fiction Review by The Gravedigger

Taint In The Blood, A (2010) S.M Stirling, who is probably best known for his science fiction/adventure novels, takes a stab at the vampire genre. These creatures are called The Shadowspawn and are sort of a separate species of human. Their line has become diluted over the millenia and many humans have a trace of the lineage (such as ESP). It begins with Ellen, an art curator, who has left her boyfriend Adrian. She ditched him because she sensed he never told her the truth--but this was for a good reason, as she soon finds out. She's abducted by his sister, Adrienne, who is a sadist. She's doing this pretty much to get back at her brother for a past battle. When Adrian finds this out he makes every effort to get her back, though he has to be very careful since the Shadowspawn his sister is aligned with are very powerful and dangerous. These bad guys want to decimate the human population and keep them more in control, even though they've been influencing our society on a regular basis.

Author Stirling establishes that these creatures are the basis of many of our legends, primarily those of shapeshifters and vampires. They love drinking human blood, the more filled with emotion the better. And they can transform into any animal as long as they have a sample of the beast's DNA. There are some very cool scenes in which Adrian takes the form of a saber-toothed tiger. Mostly, the Shadowspawn are vicious, along the like of the Drakas from his other series of books.

The one thing that wasn't pulled off so well was the whole "Romantic Vampire" aspectm which I could have done without. But I guess you have to put it in for those TWILIGHT fans. Nevertheless, A TAINT IN THE BLOOD is a decent enough read and the first in a Shadowspan series, of course.

Author: S.M. Stirling

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