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Under the Blood Red Moon by Mina Hepsen
Cover Artist: Allan Jenkins
Review by Harriet Klausner
Avon A Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780061373251
Date: 01 October 2008 List Price $13.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

It's 1871 and half-Russian Princess Angelica Belanov prefers to hide away from society at her father's remote English estate because she can hear the thoughts of people. That skill makes going to balls and other soirees uncomfortable and at times unmanageable. Because the family needs money when their shipping business fell apart with three vanished vessels, she must make her late debut and find a wealthy match.

Escorted and encouraged by her brother Prince Mikhail, who is unaware that the family fortune disappeared when three ships vanished, her fears prove true as the chatter of the inane, the desperate, the envious, and the boorish Ton overwhelm her. Her preference is to hide in a library with a book as her companion, but she tries to do her duty.

The dwindling vampire clans are worried as Sergey has gone rogue killing humans and vampires. He is in London with Prince Alexander, the head of the Eastern vampire clans, on his trail. When Alexander meets Angelica, he assumes she is a vampire like him, but wonders why she is not included on the Northern Clan list provided to him. He soon realizes though they can communicate without speaking. The Russian princess is shockingly, a mortal. As she learns who he is truly is, they fall in love while he wonders if Angelica is the Blessed legend that will save his dying species while Servey and an ally stalk both of them.

The key to this exciting paranormal Victorian romantic suspense thriller is the belief that vampires exist in Europe and are in deep trouble facing future extinction as their population dwindles rapidly with each generation. The comparisons between vampiric customs and the English aristocracy add to the overall feel that vampires live but are not quite thriving.

Angelica is a fascinating heroine as her skill to hear thoughts is a curse until she meets Alexander. Once again the prime vampires fans will believe in her ability due to the little snippets that debut author Mina Hepsen provides. For instance, her introduction to Lady Elisabeth is priceless as Angelica listens to the mental jealousy while the woman politely asks whether to call her Princess Belanov or Lady Shelton; Angelica responds haughtily by saying Princess Belanov; Elisabeth thinks she was insulted by this "Russian whore", but Angelica has to remain silent as the insult was not said. That exchange sets the tone of this excellent supernatural historical.

Finally there is the villain whose actions leave the clans in fear they will be exposed to the superior numbers of humans if they fail to stop him. The Sergey serial killer subplot is critical to moving the story line foreward with a clever spin that will stun but elate the audience. Under the Blood Red Moon is a magical and enthralling vampiric, romantic, historical, suspense, as Ms. Hepsen understands that it is the details that make the supernatural seem natural, but inside there is a strong plot.

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