The Gathering Dark by Charles O’Keefe
Publisher: Four Phoenixes Publishing
Length: Full (224 pgs)
Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Rose
Newly-made vampire Joseph O’Reily has rejected his vampire lover Cassandra and declared their relationship at an end. Although he loves Cassandra – and she loves him – he knows their relationship cannot survive because she places such low worth on human life and morals.
Former pirate and vampire sire Anne Bonny is bored from spending almost a century on a tropical island and makes her way to St. John’s after receiving the last thoughts of her creation, John Snow. Once in Newfoundland she engages with Joseph and Cassandra, both of them surprised to see a vampire that doesn’t wish them harm.
Joseph, who is dealing with his failed relationship with Cassandra and his new one with Anne, has forgotten a human figure from his past, Augustus Green, a pimp and murderer. Green plans revenge for the brutal beating Joseph and Cassandra gave him months ago.
The Emperor Commodus, leader of the vampire council, has commanded his subjects, Count Dracula, Countess Elizabeth Bathory and others, to swell the ranks of his evil army by creating brainwashed vampires. Hope is not lost though as other vampires secretly prepare for the war to fight for their survival and humanity’s. Anne Bonny devises a plan that would mean the death of the Countess and replacing her. Joseph must make the decision to join Anne on his own. As his enemies gather, so do his friends, and Joseph discovers he has allies he never even knew about. The good side of the Council holds its own meeting that Joseph and Cassandra are secretly invited to.
With Anne and Cassandra at his side, they wage a desperate battle against the Countess, in the hopes of not just defeating her but striking a pre-emptive blow against the forces of evil. Joseph is ready to take on his greatest challenge yet. If he wins, good will prevail. If he fails, he will enable the destruction of the entire world. With a lot riding on him, Joseph can only hope for help from old friends and old flames alike, if he is to turn the tide of destiny.
This is the third book in the series and while it can be read as a standalone for the most part, I feel I would have enjoyed the book more had I read the first two in the series. I’ve bought them and look forward to reading the series from the beginning.
Because the book has a history, there was some confusion at times as I tried to work out the different relationships. But that eased out as I got into the story.
The characters are complex and well-drawn–they are definitely not one-dimensional copies of vampires. They have their faults and foibles, and all is not fun and games in the vampire camps. In fact, they take great joy in killing each other. There is a side that fights for right and a side that fights for evil and this is where this book has us.
Joseph, a reluctant vampire at best, is doing his best to get on with his life and studies. Unfortunately life had different plans, and he is caught up in a battle to help save the world. The intricacies of his relationships with a former love and a new love set up an interesting dilemma of its own. While it’s not a romance, there were a couple of sex scenes that, in my opinion, did not add much to the book.
The book is easy to read, but I do suggest reading the entire series in order. I think you would find it a richer experience.