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No Shelter From Darkness
The Cruentus Saga – Book One
Mark D. Evans
Number of pages: 304
Cover Artist: Greg Simanson
“Her hands began to shake as she looked down wide-eyed at the blood-soaked cotton that covered her.”
London emerges from the Blitz, and every corner of the city bears the scars. In the East End—a corner fairing worse than most—thirteen year-old Beth Wade endures this new way of life with her adoptive family. She also suffers the prejudice against her appearance, an abiding loneliness and now the trials of adolescence. But with this new burden comes a persisting fatigue and an unquenchable thirst that ultimately steals her into unconsciousness . . .
What happens next is the start of something Beth will fear more than the war itself. She begins to change in ways that can’t be explained by her coming-of-age, none more frightening than her need to consume blood. The family who took her in and the former best friend who’s taken refuge in their house can never know. Aware of the danger she poses to everyone around her, Beth has never felt more alone. But someone else knows Beth’s secret . . . someone who understands just how different she really is. He alone can decrypt her past and explain her future. But he’s been sworn to destroy her kind, and as Beth grows ever more dangerous, he’s forced to take sides.
Can Beth keep all of the secrets? Can she trust a man sworn to kill her? And can she stop the vampire within from taking her humanity?
I have to start by saying this book had everything going against it for me. I’m not a fan of World War II era novels, I’m so done with vampires, and this was a debut novel which usually means the author has a ways to go before evolving into someone I want to read again. And now I have to say . . . lesson learned. I will never let preconditioned prejudice dictate my reading preferences again.
Mark D. Evans has penned an extraordinary tale that grabbed me from the first few pages and kept my interest to the end. No Shelter From Darkness takes place in World War II London. Evans has done his research and created an entirely believable world with characters that come alive page after page. Yes, there are vampires but the story never stops reminding us of their emotional angst. This is especially true with the main character, Beth Wade, as she struggles with her transformation to vampire. Thirteen year old Beth must deal with the wartime London Blitz as well as an internal metamorphosis to something she doesn’t understand or want.
NSFD contains a few horror scenes, a great deal of suspense, the YA factor due to the character’s age, and enough vampire lore to satisfy paranormal fans. History buffs will revel in the detailed and accurate descriptions of WW II London and family saga readers will clamor to learn more about Beth’s familial relationships as she transforms into a blood lusting creature. So you see, there’s something for everyone in No Shelter From Darkness. This is a five star book from a very talented author. I’m anxiously waiting his next book in the series.
Read on for an excerpt.
Beth breathed furiously. She was exhausted, but the air she breathed had a new scent to it. It stopped her short. Her insides jumped in excitement at the rusty metallic scent. Her jaw twitched and her body flinched. She spun her head around, toward the aroma. Oliver had felt his way back to the uneven wall and leant against it cradling his arm. He sobbed and whimpered, while looking aimlessly at it. Beth could see what he couldn’t: a jagged edge of bone poking out from his forearm. He was slightly sheltered under the broken floorboards above him, and the rain wasn’t washing away the blood that now oozed freely. Beth didn’t need to see everything. She could smell it.
Beautiful, delicious, unparalleled and unbeatable human blood.
Her head tipped forward. Her nose flared involuntarily and her lips snarled into a sadistic smile. She felt the four pointed canines being pushed out; unsheathed. The tip of her tongue curled under one of the two fangs that slid down. Her heart deafened the rain and the approaching bombers. Almost subconsciously, she lowered herself into a half-crouch, ready to pounce, and though her nails were trimmed short, her fingers curled into claws. She couldn’t even feel the hole in her palm any more. She felt nothing at all except raging bloodlust. Her brother leant there sobbing, oblivious to the bloodthirsty creature no more than a yard away that wanted nothing more than to cover everything with his precious life force. To swim in his blood.
Beth could almost taste it.
MARK D. EVANS was born near London, England. He graduated university with a degree in something not even remotely connected with writing and went on to become a successful consultant. Then he threw it all away to chase his dream of being an author, via a considerable amount of travelling. Today, his life largely resembles that of a nomad, and he can currently be found typing away in a tiny flat in north London, sustained by coffee.
He is the author of two short stories, one of which made it into a Kindle Top Ten.
His latest work is his debut novel, No Shelter from Darkness, which is the first book in his series, The Cruentus Saga.
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