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Pro Luce Habere Volume I (On the Soul series Book 2) Kindle Edition
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The book is full of mankind's injustice to mankind in the name of God and justice, and it documents Valery's struggle to come to terms with his `remade' self and reconcile his beliefs with the fact that he must kill in order to live. The events shown are dark and disturbing, and Valery's angst is real and continual, yet the book is full of light, Valery's light. The light of his soul, his compassion, his beauty - both inner and outer, his unquenchable search for truth and the depth of his love.
I love Valery and I wonder what it is about this tortured soul that draws me so. I think it is his thirst to know God. Even when he has given up on God, still he seeks to know the essence of life, which is in the end, the same thing. Keley's vampires can't live on animal blood, because they seek to taste the soul of their prey at the moment of death. Animals do not know good or evil, or right or wrong, and without this knowing, their life is too simple for their death to satisfy. So Valery is forced to kill, hence to sin and deal with his guilt.
As we travel with Valery across Europe and through his life, we also hear the stories of his friends, mostly sad tales of love and loss, betrayal and unjust punishment. The stories make for moving reading in themselves, but what makes them special is how each person shares with Valery their philosophical rationalisation for their and other's behaviour. This adds to the books deeply contemplative nature.
It's probably not a book for everyone, but it's perfect for those who like an intense, passionate character in a dark setting and especially for anyone interested in medieval history. I give it 5 stars and look forward to volume two in Pro Luce Haber.
Four years later, Valéry, near death from a beating, is saved by his "maker," an ancient and beautiful vampire named Lukios. But at a terrible price. Instead of dying a mortal's death and at last seeing the light of heaven, Valéry, now an immortal vampire, must abandon thoughts of heaven and kill to survive.
His faith all but destroyed by his experiences and "new life," Valéry begins a journey stretching over three centuries, from Alexandria to the port of Genoa and beyond, across much of medieval Europe, including his native Kingdom of Arles. Traveling both alone and with Lukios, he searches desperately for meaning in what has happened to him. And because he must, he learns to kill.
After reading the first few paragraphs of Pro Luce Habere (To Have Before the Light), I knew I was in for something different. There is a richness to the language here that evokes just the right tone and conveys both the time period in which the book is set and the passage of time--of centuries unfolding.
And Ms. Keley can tell a story. In Valéry she's created a rich, complex character you care deeply about, even as he takes human lives. In spite of it all, you sense the potential for great good in him. His anger with God and his struggle to not quite become the "creature" he says he is are, well, very human. It doesn't hurt that Ms. Keley somehow manages to infuse her vampire death scenes with beauty and love (love of the vampire for his victim and vice versa).
I highly recommend this book. Although it's Book II of Keley's On the Soul series, it doesn't hurt to read it first since it's a prequel. And if you do, I guarantee you're going to want to continue with Valéry's story in Book I.