Bad Bishop

Irene Soldatos. Hadley Rille, $16 trade paper (486p) ISBN 978-0-9971188-0-3
Soldatos’s debut, originally published in 2013, merges a heavily detailed historical background with a fresh, deeply literary view of immortals known as vampires. Set in the 12th century, the story follows several such immortals—most notably Amarante, an intellectual noblewoman—through the intricate political machinations that can only be conducted by the truly ancient. Amarante has always been a woman of learning, even though academic pursuits are not popular in her home of Toledo, Spain. Her love of the written word draws her into the shadowed world of those who walk secretly beside humans, but she is both part of that world and distinctly apart from it. After the assassination of one of the elders, a power vacuum opens and the plot begins in earnest. Harkening back to the vampire fiction of the early 1990s, the hierarchical structure and deeply passionate intrigues have a faint role-play feel, complete with the somewhat overwrought drama inherent to this type of plot. The heavily academic and historical nature of the setting may make it inaccessible except to those readers who have a burning desire to sink their teeth into something incredibly dense and colorful. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/28/2016
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