Zarek's Point of View:
Dark-Hunter: A soulless guardian who stands between mankind and those who would see mankind destroyed. Yeah, right. The only part of that Code of Honor I got was eternity and solitude.
Insanity: A condition many say I suffer from after being alone for so long. But I don't suffer from my insanity-I enjoy every minute of it.
Trust: I can't trust anyone...not even myself. The only thing I trust in is my ability to do the wrong thing in any situation and to hurt anyone who gets in my way.
Truth: I endured a lifetime as a Roman slave, and 900 years as an exiled Dark-Hunter. Now I'm tired of enduring. I want the truth about what happened the night I was exiled-I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Astrid (Greek, meaning star): An exceptional woman who can see straight to the truth. Brave and strong, she is a point of light in the darkness. She touches me and I tremble. She smiles and my cold heart shatters.
Zarek: They say even the most damned man can be forgiven. I never believed that until the night Astrid opened her door to me and made this feral beast want to be human again. Made me want to love and be loved. But how can an ex-slave whose soul is owned by a Greek goddess ever dream of touching, let alone holding, a fiery star?
The third entry in Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series, which focuses on the sexy vampire-like immortals who defend humans from soul-stealing Daimons, is darker than last year's Night Embrace due to its change in setting (from the French Quarter of New Orleans to the isolated Alaska wilderness) and its focus on Zarek, the baddest of all the Dark-Hunters. Physically gorgeous but scarred psychologically thanks to his former life as a Greco-Roman slave, Zarek is bitter, feared and rejected by everyone, including the Greek goddess who transformed him. It's up to the emotionally detached nymph Astrid, sister to the three Fates, to judge whether 900 years of isolation has made Zarek too vicious to be redeemed. To accomplish this task, she tries to push Zarek "to the heights of his tolerance and beyond." Sasha, a werewolf posing as a mere pet, serves as her protector, and the witty telepathic banter between them is a nice counterpoint to the seriousness of Zarek and Astrid's relationship. Kenyon's slangy dialogue also leavens the story. In the midst of a heated battle, for instance, a disoriented Astrid asks Zarek what's happening, and his blas reply is, "Not much.... Some invincible asshole is trying to kill me." Those who can't get enough of bad boy heroes and Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns will relish this roguish tale. (Dec.) Forecast: Move over, Anne Rice. Kenyon's Dark-Hunter books are changing the face of the vampire novel, making it hip, darker and all the more appealing to the next generation of readers. Booksellers who display this title alongside similar paranormal novels, rather than shelving it in the general romance section, will most likely see the strongest sales. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.