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Amazon Digital Services
eBook, 426 pages

Vigil is a vampire apocalyptic novel told in two time streams penned by English author Craig Saunders (writing here as C.R. Saunders). This is not a romance, the vampires are brutal and viscous killers, and the humans at war with them are suitably meek but actively opposed to the hunters higher up in the food chain than themselves.

The first time narrative stream, set many decades into the future, is told from the viewpoint of the few human survivors hiding out in a high tech facility in France called the Fallon Corp. The world outside is devoid of humans because the vampires in their savagery have almost wiped us out. The Fallon Corp survives only because the original owners were a corporation that had something to do with the status of the vampires.

Our hero, Tom Fallon, is old enough to remember what life was like before the fall, yet knows little about his distant father who founded the corporation. There is a secret to be uncovered and it is linked to a certain particle accelerator in a neighbouring country, and it is Tom’s mission to both learn the truth and convince the rest of survivors that he has knowledge worth imparting. He’s old though, and the new generation of post-apocalyptic survivors who don’t remember what the world was once like see him as having no relevant skills or knowledge to impart.

The second time stream covers the seven hundred year history of a European vampire. We watch him as he learns to control his blood-driven rages, manages his relationships with humans including a marriage to a mortal, and how technology impacts his very long life.

Needless to say both stories come together in a rather interesting way, but to say more would spoil this intriguing tale. The conventions are there, vampires, crusades, blood and gore, secretive corporations, the apocalypse and military action, but here Saunders has thrown all these ideas into a basket, jumbled them around and put them back together in an unexpected way. Vigil thus becomes a novel for readers who love their undead at the end of the world, but want to see it done differently. Highly recommended.

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David Conyers

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