Series: Danilov Quintet (Book 1)
Cover Design by Anne Kragelund
Cover Artwork by Paul Young
Twelve by Jasper Kent is a brilliant example of historical novel combined with elements of horror, fantasy, and suspense. In this case, it is the year 1812 and the Russian army is being forced back towards Moscow by Napoleon’s massive hoard of infantry. Something drastic, desperate, and historic must happen swiftly or all of Russia will soon be overrun by the French army. A small band of Russian freedom fighters, in a desperate attempt to turn the fate of their beloved country, enlist the aid of a small band of vicious mercenaries known as the Oprichniki. Unbeknownst to almost everyone the Oprichniki are, in reality, thirsty nightwalkers. And no one is aware of their true motivation.
One of the many things I found interesting about Twelve is that we do not find out that the mercenaries in the story are actually vampires until about a third of the way into the book. Not that we couldn’t see it coming, there was a nagging sensation of the supernatural about them to begin with, but I, as a reader, was captivated by the suspense created while we waited for the vampires and their predictable conduct to be revealed.
Twelve is an excellent fantasy tale filled with all the ingredients that make great fantasy stories good and right. There is murder, and love, and revenge, and hate, and vampires, and gruesome scenes of warfare and devastation. But inside all of that is a well-written, wonderfully spoken, and clear narrative that was fun to read and which will, in this reviewer’s opinion, stand the test of time. Jasper Kent’s voice is captivating and the story flows with emotion and action and adventure and intrigue and surprises and, well, I think you get the point.
Recommended for fantasy fans, horror buffs, historical fiction enthusiasts, war geeks, and anyone that enjoys a well-written, clearly phrased narrative that entertains and enchants.
5 out of 5 stars
Books in the series:
The Danilov Quintet
1. Twelve (2008)
2. Thirteen Years Later (2010)
3. The Third Section (2011)
I absolutely love these covers and had to post them here for your enjoyment. The mystery, a melancholy war motif, and death and destruction ooze off the covers and they drew me to these books like a vampire to a blood bank or to a stumbling drunk woman in a red dress who has lost her way in a dark, wet alley and is just asking to be bit.