Thomas Nelson, Sep 7 2010, $25.99
In 1772, Tsarina Catherine the Great sends her loyal battle hardened soldier Toma Nicolescu to Moldavia with instructions to keep the Cantemir family, especially the two sisters Lucine and Natasha, safe at all cost. Although unhappy with leaving the war zone to watch over pampered royalty, Toma understands his mission is to die if necessary to protect his charges.
Toma and his friend, also an experience warrior, Alek Cardei arrives in Moldavia to perform their task. However, Toma is attracted to Lucine while Alek likes both charming siblings. All is well until Vlad van Valerik and other travelers arrive from some obscure locale in Transylvania. The men wear black and the women wear tight fitting garb that showcases their assets. One of the newcomers “kisses” Natasha, leaving her unconscious and bloody while Alek fumes as he wants her. Soon Natasha begins visiting the outsiders while the Russian bear sworn to protect her distrusts this enigmatic stranger and his friends. However, he wonders if he suffers from jealousy as he watches angrily Vlad courts Lucine although Toma trusts his instincts as if he is in battle, which he may be.
This is a fascinating dark Christian historical thriller in which the Carpathian Mountains setting during the Catherine the Great era brings a fresh tone to the tale. The story line is fast-paced with good and bad extremely obvious as Toma is pure Old Testament angelic and Vlad is pure Dante’s Inferno devil. Although the odd use of modern phrases (especially by womanizing smart aleck Alek) more than just distracts, as it knocks armchair travelers back to our present, fans will enjoy Ted Dekker’s entertaining Eastern European vampiric historical.