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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something of a mish-mash (but fun, all the same!)
Jasper Kent's début novel "Twelve" was a well-paced action horror novel, set during the Napoleonic War in Russia in 1812. Its sequel, "Thirteen Years Later", is set, not surprisingly, in 1825, in the months leading up to the sudden and mysterious death of Tsar Alexander I and the subsequent so-called Decembrist Uprising. The protagonist (and narrator) of the first...
Published on April 10, 2010 by Steve Benner

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tale of Russian history... with vampires
Thirteen years ago, in 1812, Captain Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov fought alongside a group of twelve highly-skilled Wallachians who called themselves the 'Oprichniki,' savage mercenaries who helped halt the advancement of French troops into Russia. But Danilov soon discovered that the group were actually 'voordalak' (vampires) and, believing them to be a greater threat to...
Published on June 30, 2011 by Brad Middleton


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Something of a mish-mash (but fun, all the same!), April 10, 2010
Jasper Kent's début novel "Twelve" was a well-paced action horror novel, set during the Napoleonic War in Russia in 1812. Its sequel, "Thirteen Years Later", is set, not surprisingly, in 1825, in the months leading up to the sudden and mysterious death of Tsar Alexander I and the subsequent so-called Decembrist Uprising. The protagonist (and narrator) of the first book, Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, is a now a Colonel in the Imperial Life Guards; his son, Dmitry, is about to follow his father into a military career, while Aleksei himself continues to juggle his time between serving his country, a home life with this wife and son in Saint Petersburg, and a mistress (and illegitimate daughter) in Moscow. The horrors he had to deal with thirteen years earlier are very much a matter of the past. Or at least so they seem, until the day he receives an enigmatic message that could only have come from someone he knows to be dead; someone whose corpse he himself buried all those years ago.

Kent draws the early part of this story out with the same tantalising (or irritating, depending on how you view these things) slowness with which events unfolded in the earlier volume, although here he abandons the first person narrative in favour of a third person approach, allowing him to present the story from multiple angles, building the suspense and intrigue throughout the first half of the book. I couldn't help but feel, however, that the author loses his way a little in the second part of the book, vacillating between a desire to present historical fantasy and a need to present his readers with some action. As a consequence, neither are handled particularly convincingly, while the third-person narrative keeps the reader at a distance from the protagonist, losing a dimension as a consequence and failing to provide any insight, for example, into why Aleksei takes some of the somewhat silly decisions which he later comes to rue. In the comparatively short third and final part, the book draws to its conclusion, giving every impression of rushing after the slow and measured pace of the earlier parts.

While this book is every bit as clichéd in its horror aspects as its fore-runner (and in many regards revels in this fact even more, at times taking itself far from seriously), those readers looking for a repeat of the first volume of this projected quintet of novels are likely to be disappointed, concentrating as it does much more on retelling (albeit with a fanciful slant) Russian historical events and dealing less with the fighting of monsters. It is also clearly setting up many opportunities for threads linking into the remaining three volumes and so, even though Aleksei's story is brought to completion here, the end of the book feels to be nothing more than a pause for breath in a longer, infinitely more complex, story arc. Personally, I rather liked the shift in emphasis, but I am sure it will disappoint many.

Despite its flaws, however, the book remains an immensely enjoyable read. I for one am intrigued to learn how subsequent generations of the Danilov clan will take up the Mother Land's fight against the designs of the sinister Zmyeevich in the volumes still to come; roll on "The Third Section"!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worthy sequel to TWELVE, July 31, 2010
Since I felt that Jasper Kent's Twelve was the 2009 speculative debut of the year, I was quite excited to read the sequel, Thirteen Years Later. Regardless of their undeniable popularity, it's relatively easy to become jaded about the whole vampire fad. But the way Kent mixes up historical fiction and these bloodsuckers, well the results are something that keeps me coming back for more!

Here's the blurb:

In the summer of 1812, before the Oprichniki came to the help of Mother Russia in her fight against Napoleon, one of their number overheard a conversation between his master, Zmyeevich, and another. He learned of a feud, an unholy grievance between Zmyeevich and the rulers of Russia, the Romanovs, that began a century earlier at the time of Peter the Great. Indeed, while the Oprichniki's primary reason for journeying to Russia is to stop the French, one of them takes a different path. For he has a different agenda, he is to be the nightmare instrument of revenge on the Romanovs. But thanks to the valiant efforts of Captain Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, this maverick monster would not be able to begin to complete his task until thirteen years later. Now that time has come: it is 1825 and Russia once more stands on the brink of anarchy, and this time the threat comes from within...

It's been thirteen years since the French invasion, and Jasper Kent takes us back to a Russia at peace. But it is a peace that doesn't satisfy everyone in the country. Once again, the author's flair and his eye for historical details create an evocative narrative which takes us through the events that led to the Decembrist uprising in St. Petersburg. As was the case with Twelve, Kent's depiction of 19th Century Russia feels genuine and his prose creates an imagery that makes you feel as though you were there.

Unlike Twelve, however, Thirteen Years Later is not limited solely by Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov's first person narrative. Although it worked well in the first volume, I doubt it would have been as successful in this sequel. Hence, in addition to Danilov's narrative, we see events unfold through the eyes of a number of other players, great and small, and I felt that their POVs added another dimension to this quality tale. Danilov remains a fascinating character, complex and flawed though he may be, and it was great to see how he had grown in the last decade or so, and how he remained true to himself. New point of view characters include Tsar Aleksandr, Danilov's son Dmitry, Domnikiia, and the child Tamara. All in all, Kent maintained a good balance between the various POVs, which made for an enjoyable reading experience.

The novel's only problem was the sluggish pace that plagues the first portion of the story. The entire storyline surrounding Aleksei Danilov's first few meetings with the mysterious Kyesha moves at a snail's pace which prevents the reader to fully get into the novel. Once Kyesha's identity and his reason for seeking out Aleksei are finally revealed, then the plotlines kick into high gear and the rhythm is no longer an issue. God knows there are enough revelations through the later portion of Thirteen Years Later to satisfy anyone. But I get the feeling that some people might find the beginning offputting and give up on the novel. No matter how slow the opening chapters are, keep going and you'll be rewarded with another engrossing read.

It's now obvious that Twelve offered us but a glimpse of the multilayered tale that the Danilov Quintet will turn out to be. In Thirteen Years Later, Jasper Kent lives up to the promise generated by his debut and demonstrates that he is for real.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A tale of Russian history... with vampires, June 30, 2011
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This review is from: Thirteen Years Later (Paperback)
Thirteen years ago, in 1812, Captain Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov fought alongside a group of twelve highly-skilled Wallachians who called themselves the 'Oprichniki,' savage mercenaries who helped halt the advancement of French troops into Russia. But Danilov soon discovered that the group were actually 'voordalak' (vampires) and, believing them to be a greater threat to Russia and mankind itself, he systematically hunted and destroyed each and everyone one of them. To his surprise, the leader of the group -- Iuda -- actually turned out to be human, although he was equally as vicious as his undead companions. Thirteen years later, in 1825, the war is over and Danilov continues working as a spy, trying to protect his beloved tsar Alexandr I from an uprising he's facing from within his own army, as well as a secretive group of influential Russians who want to see their leader dead. But it's not long before Danilov learns of a curse upon the royal family; a promise broken one hundred years earlier has lead to the return of an ancient voordalak, who intends on claiming Russia for his own by turning the tsar into one of the undead.

This novel, a sequel to "Twelve" and the second in a planned series of five, works within a much bigger canvas and therefore is much grander in scale. With many of the original characters killed off in the first book, Kent has come up with several new ones to beef up the story, some of whom take on the narrative as it switches voices between the major players. Although this is a different writing style from its predecessor, it works for the most part, and the only issue I had with it was with Danilov's daughter, who's voice seemed a little too old for her age. Unfortunately with the change in cast and the extended period of time between the stories, much of the first half of this book is spent developing new characters, helping the reader play catch-up from events in "Twelve," and putting elements in motion to serve the latter half of the tale. This leads to a slow read in parts, and I found myself putting the novel down for several days in between reads -- it never really felt like a page-turner for me. Added to this is the fact that this novel has much less of a vampire element than the first; it's an historical tale of this period in Russian history, and the bloodsuckers -- although they are the driving force behind the premise of the story -- aren't as prominent within it.

Some of the storytelling issues I had with the first book are found in the sequel as well. The main character, Aleksei Danilov, spends much of his inner narrative over-thinking events and continually questioning actions of those around him. Considering he is a spy, perhaps this is just a character trait that the writer is showcasing, but I found it far too distracting, and for me, it impacted the pacing of the story. Most importantly, I found Danilov and his interaction with his main foe, Cain -- and often his lack of action against the man -- impacted the believability of the story. It should also be noted that at one point, the writer attempts to explain why vampires cannot be seen in mirrors. The answer is both convoluted and unintentionally laughable, so one wonders why this section of the book was even included.

There's no disputing that this is a well-researched book, and certainly gives the reader an extensive lesson in Russian history. For those who enjoy historical novels, "Thirteen Years Later" will certainly entertain, but for those who are looking for a vampire tale, this one doesn't have much bite.
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5.0 out of 5 stars super Russian historical fantasy, February 5, 2011
This review is from: Thirteen Years Later (Paperback)
By 1825, Europe including Russia continues to revel in peace and prosperity. Napoleon and the French were defeated over a decade ago. Russian Colonel Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov was on the winning side, but in his opinions his true victory was over the dozen Oprichniki mercenary voordalak monsters that destroyed the advancing French and the nearby Russian villagers; he prefers not to ever think about the bloody horror again (see Twelve) as even the thought chills his blood.

Still Tsar Aleksandr I fears for his family and his country as a pledge made in blood was broken a century ago. However, it is not the revolutionary Decembrists that have the Russian ruler trembling; the other party in that blood debt is coming to collect. Aleksandr's only hopes he will be able save his soul, but he fears it is too late for his life, and to keep his family and his fellow Russians safe remains with loyal Aleksei. Worried about his wife, teenage son Dmitry and four year old daughter Tamara, the colonel realizes what he defeated during the Napoleonic War as they returned Thirteen Years Later to collect blood and souls.

The second Russian historical fantasy is a super tale as the hero of Twelve returns to the fray of fighting an invincible amoral beast who believe humans are toward the bottom of the food chain. Overall the story line is filled with action though the protagonist muses on all sorts of topics including his children, the Oprichniki, the new monster he faces, the revolutionaries, and his loyalty to the Tsar. Tied to the Tsar's real mysterious death on December 1 1825 in Taganrog and the confusion that ensued, fans will enjoy this epic saga as the voordalak blood suckers have returned.

Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars nice sequel, April 25, 2014
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This review is from: Thirteen Years Later (Paperback)
good addition to the series. Not as action packed as the first but still not a bad read overall. cant wait for the third
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!, April 18, 2013
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Christopher Springer (PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirteen Years Later (Paperback)
This is an excellent book. In fact, the whole series is just excellent. This series is a refreshing take on vampires in an age where they are friendly, glittery, attractive people; these vampires are gritty, real killers.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, June 15, 2011
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This review is from: Thirteen Years Later (Paperback)
First book was great and I enjoyed this one as much as I did from first. This guy is a great writer. Don't miss it.
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Thirteen Years Later: Russia, 1825.
Thirteen Years Later: Russia, 1825. by Jasper Kent (Paperback - January 31, 2011)
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