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Friday, July 12, 2013

Shadows of Falling Night By S.M. Stirling

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Terrance McArthur

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of this post.

Vampires, werewolves, and succubi: legends.

Shadowspawn: the stuff that legends are made of.

In S. M. Stirling’s Shadows of Falling Night, third in the Shadowspawn cycle, the Shadowspawn are shape-shifting, blood-drinking, world-controlling creatures that can live in the darkness after they die.

After a century of scientific breeding, Adrian and Adrienne Brézé are the most powerful of their kind, but she wants to trim mankind down with a plague to a number easy to dominate; he is married to Ellen, a human with no powers and doesn’t want to control humanity…beyond manipulating governments and the Stock Market to his benefit–he’s not totally good, but he’s better! In addition, there are Shadowspawn who want to atmospheric-nuke the world back to the good-old, pre-tech Dark Ages and rule as gods, as well as a rogue Spawn (or is he part of someone else’s plan?) with a plutonium device, out to blow up a Shadowspawn gathering in Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the Southern state).

Image source: Penguin

Part of the near-future chess match between Adrian and Adrienne is who has custody of their twins–yes, brother and sister had children–euwwww, and that expression is used repeatedly in the book–and this triggers several mega-action sequences as Adrienne tries to get them back. There are aerial attacks, chases through fairy-tale forests with bunches of big and/or bad wolves, and a wizard's-war at sea where the siblings shape-change into creatures that can take out each other’s creatures. There are deadly feedings, betrayals, disguises, and even a Murder of the Orient Express!

Stirling originally made his mark in the military SF arena, co-writing with the likes of James Doohan and Anne McCaffrey (The City Who Fought). His take on the urban-paranormal genre shows the attention to detail, meticulous world-building, clever dialogue, and military precision that are his hallmarks. I love the references to movie sequels that are yet to be made.

The third book in the series, Shadows of Falling Night, makes a grand finale to the story with a rousing climax that could bring about an apocalyptic end of the world…although…there are some major changes of the playing field that beg for further installments.

To enter to win a copy of Shadows of the Falling Night
simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Falling”, or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 20, 2013. U.S. residents only.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a California-born, Valley-raised librarian/entertainer/writer. He lives in Sanger, four blocks from the library, with his wife, his daughter, and a spinster cat.

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