Feehan's followers will be well sated by the latest addition to her Dark series (after Dark Guardian), set in modern-day Italy. This time around the focus is on Carpathian vampire hunter Byron Justicano, a "good" vampire who feeds only to sustain himself. He is drawn to the haunting music created by Italian concert pianist, Antonietta Scarletti, the woman he has chosen to be his "lifemate." Blinded and orphaned as a child by an explosion on the family yacht, Antonietta, a strong psychic, is heir to the Scarletti family fortune and the massive Scarletti palazzo, which accommodates all her relatives. When Byron learns that someone within the family is siphoning off the family treasures and slowly poisoning Antonietta, her grandfather and her cousin, he draws upon his supernatural powers to catch the villain. Feehan's prose is smoothly laced with romance and erotica, and the subject matter is titillating. But new readers may be daunted by the complexity of the Carpathian world, which has its own set of rules (e.g., Carpathian males can mate for life only with mortals who are psychic, and if they don't mate, they lose their emotions). Once readers gain a foothold in Feehan's fictional realm, however, they'll be roped in by this unconventional and intriguing installment. (Mar.)
Forecast: Dark Symphony will likely trail close on the heels of Nora Roberts's Portrait in Death as it rockets up the charts. Already, Feehan's book has hit #85 on Amazon.com based on preorders.
Release date: 02/01/2003