They are as night to day–but blood will tell when facing a common enemy.
A sought-after dancer in the upmarket Moonlit Garden, Isabeau Letier, has not given her future much thought. All that matters is the art of dance, and charming wealthy patrons into parting with a few extra coins. She has her exotic good looks and her youth. What could possibly go wrong?
When a mysterious nobleman pays her undue attention, Isabeau’s darker, bloodthirsty nature awakens and she kills him with her bare hands after he follows her home. Even worse, she drinks and enjoys his blood. Her brother, Eric, returns home to this disturbing tableau yet remains calm even as the corpse sifts to ash in the morning sun. Isabeau has no choice but to follow her sibling’s lead.
Not many people know that Michel Roux, owner of a slightly down-at-heel theatre in the District of Paper Lanterns, is a vampire. He prefers to keep things that way and steer clear of the petty politicking of the city's vampiric subculture. When his estranged sire, Tomas, goes missing, and his grandsire sets him the task of solving the mystery, Michel is unwillingly dragged into all of the very dangerous games he thought he’d left behind him.
Isabeau and Michel become unlikely allies as they try to wriggle their way out of being the pawns in a game where they don’t know the rules. Isabeau’s ancient heritage is a danger, not only to herself, but to the established hierarchies at odds with one another in the city of Ysul, and the elders are desperate to either control her–or kill her.
As events unwind, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate friend from foe, and as the two flee for their lives they must also explore the true nature of the bond that they've forged and uncover the ages-old secrets that have pushed them onto this path. Warring factions are about to overturn centuries of custom, and two young people are marked to pay the price—in blood.
Vampires by Gaslight – extending frontiers in dark fantasy
By Nerine Dorman
I haven’t been following trends, and no matter what all the doom prophets say about vampires in fiction, I’ll continue writing them. So, if you’re eye-rolling already at the mere fact that I’m going to be talking about “yet another vampire novel” then I suggest you stop reading right here.
I love vampires as characters, be they tragic or predatory, and I refuse to apologise. They’re immensely fun to write if you can go beyond the obvious tropes. Above all, when I write potentially overdone beings like vampires, I ask myself what I can do to put my stamp on the premise.
We all have vastly different backgrounds and influences, and I delve liberally into mine when I create new worlds. It’s at times like these that such familiar beasties like vampires act as a way to ground readers when I throw them into foreign territory.
My influences for Dawn’s Bright Talons stem chiefly from my love of history and the environment – I often do travel writing – but mostly, I envisioned a society that, much like my home city’s, has a past rooted deeply in colonialism.
While I find the Victorian era fascinating, I did not want to write a historical novel, per se; instead I borrowed a little bit from here and there. The city of Ysul is set on a subtropical north coast of a vast continent. On a clear night you can gaze across the sea and sight the answering wink of the lighthouse on the northern continent.
When I think about what the city looks like, I see the South African town of Knysna, with a large lagoon embraced by two headlands where the fabulously wealthy live. then I borrow from Cape Town, liberally, and plunder her for her wealth of Cape Dutch, colonial and Victorian architecture, and merrily toss it all together with cobbled thoroughfares and hissing gaslights.
It seemed only natural, afterwards, to populate this setting with fascinating characters who are not obvious choices nor ideal playmates. Isabeau Letier is a young woman and dancer who is wise beyond her years due to having to look after her younger (and more irresponsible) brother. Michel Roux is a slightly down-at-heel theatre owner and vampire, who is more concerned about paying his staff than getting involved in murky vampire politics.
Their paths do cross, however, and under normal circumstances they would never have struck up a friendship, let alone a close, symbiotic partnership. And, before you speculate, no, there is nothing romantic happening here either.
Dawn’s Bright Talons is mostly a tale of two youngsters who fight hard not only to survive, but to escape the machinations of those much older and more powerful than they are.
Though their story is by no means finished, and there is certainly some closure at the end of the novel, I like to let stories ferment before I strike out and expand.
So, yes, there is more, but I’m not quite ready to write the follow-up to Dawn’s Bright Talons. When I do, it will be something special, I promise, and you’ll see more of my world and unfold more of the mystery.
People often ask me how many stories I’ve written, and this question always catches me off guard. (The quick, dirty solution is to send them to my Goodreads page). I will recommend some of my most recent offerings, in the meanwhile. This year saw the release of my YA fantasy novel The Guardian’s Wyrd, which is available in print and electronic format. I also gathered a handful of my loose short stories that aren’t currently available in anthologies, so Lost Children came about.
Some of you might be looking for my novel Inkarna, but I’ve take that off the market in order to spruce it up. Book two, Thanatos, is done, and I’d like the two to be more evenly matched (and for there to be continuity). I’m also working on revising and releasing two older urban fantasy novellas, that are part of the same setting and in a way complement each other, so The Namaqualand Book of the Dead and What Sweet Music They Make will soon be released as a duology. Obviously, I have other projects in the pipeline, but I don’t want to scare you with the sheer, blithering madness.
So, if you’ve made it this far, congratulations. The first three people to sign up for my monthly newsletter will each receive a digital copy of Lost Children. Otherwise, stalk me on Twitter or go like my Facebook page.
Also, you can make me extremely happy by purchasing Dawn’s Bright Talons on Amazon, Kobo or Smashwords.