Thirteen Years Later
by Jasper Kent
Cover Artist: Paul Young
Review by Mel Jacob
Pyr Trade Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781616142537
Date: 08 February 2011 List Price $17.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Thirteen Years Later carries on the Danilov Quintet begun in Twelve. Colonel Aleksei Danilov, spy and friend of Aleksandr I, Tsar of Russia, seeks to foil a plot on the tsar's life. However, events cause Danilov to believe his old enemies, vampires, are again active. During the war against Napoleon, he made it his mission to destroy such creatures. Now they threaten the tsar, Danilov, and his family.
When Danilov discovers his son is one of those plotting against the tsar, he faces a major problem. He steals a list of conspirators and removes his son's name before giving it to the tsar. He leaves his own name on the list, which later has major consequences.
In addition to his work as a spy, Danilov lives a double life. His wife and son live in St. Petersburg, while his mistress and daughter live in Moscow. He begins to suspect his wife has a lover, but worries more that the vampires may seek vengeance on his families.
A young man, Kyesha, claims to be the brother of an old friend killed by the vampires. Kyesha knows a lot about the past, but to Danilov's knowledge his friend's brother died as a child. Gradually, he begins to suspect Kyesha may be a vampire. Kyesha sets Danilov on the trail of a man who experiments on vampires and may be involved in a plot against the tsar.
In this novel, Danilov discovers the nature of a bargain made long before that demands action by the tsar and threatens both his life and his immortal soul as well as all Russia. Danilov's loyalty is to the tsar, and he will guard him no matter what the cost. He has a fatalistic nature and accepts the consequences of his acts, but protects his wife and son as well as his mistress and young daughter.
A vivid and exciting climax forces Danilov to fight for his life as he tries to destroy the enemy. Despite his loyalty to the tsars, old and new, his name on the list of traitors leads to a bleak future. It also leaves the reader wondering who will defend Russia in the next Quintet novel.
Kent takes his time to build his well-crafted story with plenty of Russian history and places. Russian names may confuse a few readers, but Kent has kept the use of variant names within reason. The vampire elements are well done and show some in a very different light. The author's website (www.jasperkent.com) has a great trailer/teaser for the novel.
The third novel in the Quintet, The Third Section, is planned for August 2011. Two other novels are to follow to complete the Quintet. Each takes place at a pivotal point in Russian history through to the end of the Romanov dynasty.