cover image Darkness on His Bones

Darkness on His Bones

Barbara Hambly. Severn, $29.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8523-4

In the sixth installment of the James Asher vampire series, Hambly (Kindred of Darkness) deftly nests one historical story inside another. The key to a mystery on the eve of WWI lies in James Asher’s fever dreams reliving the exploits of his old friend Don Simon Ysidro at the beginning of the 17th century, when Simon navigated the politics of religious dissent among his fellow vampires in Paris. When James’s practical wife, Lydia, receives word that he has been tossed from a church steeple in Paris in a vampire attack, she calls upon Simon for resources and protection while James heals in a hospital, despite James’s new resolve to destroy all vampires. Series regulars who crave more of Simon’s backstory will find the focus on him satisfying, and Lydia’s fans will enjoy her skills in medicine, disguise, lock picking, and not dissolving in sunlight, though those more focused on continuity may dislike that Hambly leaves James and Lydia’s new baby out of the story entirely. It’s not a standout on its own, but this book is a solid continuation of a strong series. (Oct.)