cover image The Court of Shadows

The Court of Shadows

Victor Dixen, trans. from the French by Françoise Bui. Amazon Crossing, $28.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-66250-569-0

Supernatural alternate histories don’t come much more suspenseful or fully realized than this impressive series debut from Dixen (the Phobos Trilogy). In 1715, France’s Louis XIV, the Sun King, underwent a rite that made him the world’s first vampyre and became known as Louis the Immutable, King of Shadows. Europe’s other monarchs, hoping that they, too, could attain immortality, allied with him. Now, almost 300 years later, Louis reigns over a police state where commoners must donate blood to sustain their undead masters, while nobles curry favor with the vampyres. The life of commoner Jeanne Froidelac is upended when her home in Auvergne is invaded by the authorities, who believe that her father, an apothecary, is hiding alchemical secrets that threaten the realm. She alone survives the encounter, and vows revenge upon Alexandre de Mortang, the vampyre present during the incursion—even if it means she must infiltrate Versailles itself. Jeanne’s pursuit of vengeance is anything but linear, and Dixen excels at concocting unexpected detours and jaw-dropping cliffhangers. Anne Rice fans will be especially enthralled. (Sept.)