Elizabeth Knox, Author . Ballantine $23.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-345-45795-0

Saint or vampire? The identity of the Blessed Martine Raimondi, a French nun murdered by the Nazis in 1944 for her part in the daring cave escape of rebel partisans, is only one question answered in this illuminating tour-de-force set in the south of France from New Zealander Knox (Billie's Kiss). Another puzzle is Martine Dardo, the suspected daughter of the nun. Brian "Bad" Phelan, a New South Wales bomb tech and expert "caver" on paid injury leave, helps retrieve Martine's blistered corpse outside a cave near the Italian border and discovers she bears a shocking resemblance to a woman he'd encountered years before in another flooded cave. He's further struck by Martine's resemblance to Eve Moskelute, the subject of a painting by Jean Ares, her Picasso-esque deceased husband. The author constructs an impressive mystery that dissects the meaning of miracles while putting a fresh spin on the vampire archetype, with her creation of Lou Ila, an 18th-century Provençal journeyman/artist vampire, on a par with the best Anne Rice has to offer. Bad seeks out Eve, who not only knew Martine but has a "dead" twin, Dawn, accidentally "turned" by Ila when he mistook her for Eve. This multi-layered dazzler also includes the unforgettable Father Daniel Octave, who hopes his investigation into the "miracles" surrounding the Blessed Martine will result in her canonization but instead leads into Ila's dark world and the disturbing discovery that the vampire is "a sign... and so belonged to God." (Apr. 1)

Reviewed on: 03/17/2003
Release date: 04/01/2003
Hardcover - 356 pages - 978-0-86473-449-5
Open Ebook - 356 pages - 978-0-86473-726-7
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