Of Saints and Shadows by Christopher Golden
JournalStone (September 2016)
340 pages; $29.95 hardcover; $19.95 paperback; $7.95 e-book
Reviewed by Dave Simms
JournalStone has been a treasure trove of new authors and new stories which rarely disappoints. For years now, each release has drawn strong attention from readers of horror, dark fantasy, and other speculative fiction. This time, they made a smart decision to reprint Christopher Golden’s “Shadow Saga” series.
Yes, it’s a vampire series, but before writing it off, give this very different, strongly-written and smartly-plotted tale a chance. Golden has never failed to entertain his readers. From the amazing Strangewood to the forthcoming Ararat, he has tackled most genres, often encompassing the best of thrillers, horror, and urban fantasy, with characters which always connect with his readers.
The first novel in the series, Of Saints and Shadows, introduces readers to Peter Octavian, a figure who lives in the shadows between his own kind and those who hunt him. He makes his living as a private detective and has refused to partake in the “blood song,” the drinking of human blood.
How is this possible? Golden tackles several myths about the vampire, which Peter happens to be, and turns them upside down. It appears most of the myths are only that and find their power in the belief of the suggestions, such as not being able to walk in daylight.
Peter Octavian discovers that a secret sect of the Catholic Church is hell bent on recovering the book The Gospel of Shadows, which has the key to destroying all of the vampires. Several groups race to retrieve the tome, each with its own agenda. Peter races to the Vatican City to help his brethren, even as he exists as the outsider who refuses to live as one of them.
Golden has updated all of the books in the series, with introductions and more. Hopefully it will find the audience it should have had the first time. Look for Angel Souls and Devil Hearts, Of Masques and Martyrs, The Gathering Dark, and Waking Nightmares. Recommended for fans of the vampire tale but, more importantly, for anyone who loves a good, strong story.