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61 A.D. (Bachiyr Book 2) Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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The answer, I'm happy to say, is 'yes.' Not only does McAfee's latest effort equal the first book in the series, but it many ways it surpasses it with a surer hand and a better feel for pacing and juggling multiple plot lines. In 33 A.D. the plot placed members of the Bachiyr, a secret society of vampires, in the midst of Christ's crucifiction. As potentially disastrous as that plot could have been in the wrong hands, McAfee pulled it off. Now several of the characters from that novel have returned in a second novel set mostly in London (or Londinium) shortly before and during an attack by the Iceni queen Boudica.
Returning characters include Taras, the reluctant Bachiyr who was a Roman legionaire in Judea at the time of Christ; Theron, the former enforcer for the Bachiyr's Council of Thirteen; Ramah, the council's Blood Letter; and in a few key scenes, Herris, the head of the council. Joining them this time around is a new character who is as facsinating as she is deadly, Baella, who is as old as the oldest members of the council but who is a renegade to the council's rules. Baella makes a great addition to the Bachiyr mythos. Without her in the story, much of 61 A.D. would consist of the conflict between Taras, who lost his love and his life to Theron, and Theron, who lost his high position in the Bachiyr because of Taras. Baella (and, to a certain extent, Boudica and her two daughters) gives 61 A.D. the strong female figures that were lacking in 33 A.D. But I don't blame McAfee for his lack of female characters. During that time period it was definitely "a man's world." That he manages to bring strong female characters into the second novel in the series is a reflection of his talent.
McAfee shows he has mastered the art of pacing in this book. Theron, Taras and the others are literally put through their paces as events unfold around them. Once Boudica and her army start attacking Londinium, events unfold at a break-neck pace that make the book all but impossible to put down. The only part of the plot I found a bit heavy-handed and overly melodramatic was the story of Boudica's daughter's pregnancy (the result of her rape at the hands of the Romans) and her choice to die in battle rather than face a "shameful" birth.
To sum up, I thoroughly enjoyed 61 A.D. In fact, by the time I finished the story I immediately went searching for more information on Boudica and the Iceni revolt in Roman-era Britain. Now what's next, Mr. McAfee? At what point in human history can we next expect the Bachiyr to show up? The fall of Rome? The court of Charlemagne? The Dark Ages? I've got my literary bags packed and ready to go wherever you take me next!
The Iceni and Trinovante tribes have band together in an attempt to overthrow the Romans for transgressions they've suffered. Their plan is to destroy all the Romans in a coordinated a siege on the city of Londinium. This all happened in the year 61 A.D., and thus is the backdrop for this book.
Taras, a Roman, was accidentally turned into a Bachiyr (the term for vampire used through this series), and Theron has vowed to hunt him down to kill him. Taras' transformation was a mistake, and it has cost Theron dearly. Theron is no longer in the good graces of The Counsel of Thirteen, and has become what he always sought to slaughter - a renegade vampire.
Now Ramah, the Blood Letter, and second in command of The Counsel of Thirteen, is sent to hunt down Theron and being him back alive for his punishment. Theron is chasing Taras, and Ramah is chasing Theron, and now Ramah is being chased by a phantom that the Counsel has long sought after. All of this is happening amongst the slaughter of Londinium.
The conspiracy still lingers in the world of vampires, and no one can be trusted.
FROM THE BOOK:
"I should like to know what I am agreeing to before I agree to it."
"That is not the deal," she said, jangling the keys for effect. "Agree to my terms or die with the sun. You choose."
The Bachiyr turned his head toward the eastern horizon. The sky had begun to lighten slightly. It had not turned pink yet, but the black of night no longer reached the ground. Sunrise was an hour away at most. He turned his face back to her, his thin lips tightened into a grin.
"It would seem I have little choice," he said.
The story of David McAfee's vampires is well written. The research is phenomenal in order to place the vampires in a race across time. I love how David has brought the vampire back to his basics - being a monster. This book was good compilation to first book, but I found some of the backstory slightly repetitive. Overall I would definitely recommend this series for the reader that's looking for murderous vampires.