Thursday, August 26, 2010

Review: TWELVE by Jasper Kent

This story had me with the screaming monkeys. I'm just sayin'. No, the book is not populated with screaming primates; they are merely mentioned in a folk tale that sets the tone of the story, and prepares readers for the horrific, yet entertaining story to follow.

To be very honest, I don't read a lot of historical horror fiction. I thought the time period, Russia, 1812, was interesting, and so requested a review copy.  As well, I realize the majority of VampChix visitors read paranormal romance, so once in a while, I like to introduce you all to a story not in the romance genre.  That said, the military details went over my head a bit, but only because that wasn't what interested me (yes, I'm all about the romance too, and there was a satisfying romance thread throughout; though, by no means should this book be considered a romance). The horror story kept my interest and with Kent's masterful means of slowly building tension, by the time I was halfway through, I was telling myself I could stay up just another half hour to read—because I did not want to put this story down.

It follows four Russian soldiers who enlist the aid of the mysterious Oprichniki to help them defeat the relentless French (Napoleon's Grande Army). The main character, Aleksei Danilov, is initially quite pleased to have the help, even though he's not sure how the Oprichniki actually accomplish their deadly task. Yet slowly, the Oprichniki's true nature is revealed and the reader becomes as horrified as Danilov, as again, the tense builds and the reader feels the betrayal, horror, exhaustion, and even the quiet moments of tenderness he experiences during this war-ravaged horror.

Danilov's morals are challenged and he struggles with what is right and wrong. Can he do right by his country and still do right by his own heart? What is trust? What is love, and what will a man do for it? With spies and deceptive lovers populating his precarious world, the main character is pushed to his limits. And one final, delicious twist nicely brings the story to a heart-racing conclusion.

Blurb: Twelve is the story of Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, a captain in the army of Tsar Alexander I, sworn to defend Russia against the onslaught of Napoleon's Grande Armée in the autumn of 1812. He joins forces with a band of twelve Wallachian mercenaries, whose zeal and success in slaughtering the French invaders seem too good to be true.

Soon, Aleksei unearths the gruesome secret behind the Wallachians' abilities, and discovers that they make little distinction between Frenchman or Russian. His fight becomes not simply one against Napoleon, but against a far more dangerous enemy.

Story available from Pyr September 7th.

To read an excerpt from Twelve, click here.

Stop back next week when author, Jasper Kent guests at VampChix, and the publisher is offering a copy of TWELVE to one lucky winner!


Blodeuedd said...

This book does sound very very cool

SandyG265 said...

This sounds good. I like historical horror.

Rain Maiden said...

I have not read a historical horror story, but it is nice to read something other then paranormal romance.

Rob said...

The book is every bit as good as this review says. And when you're done with it, the first sequel (13 Years Later - also excellent) is available in the UK, with the third book in it's draft stages (exciting).

Anonymous said...

I just got it in the mail! It looks great. But I can't start it till weekend. OMG.....