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Laws of Blood: Deceptions
Susan Sizemore
Ace Books, 260 pages

Miro Sinovcic
Laws of Blood: Deceptions
Susan Sizemore
Susan Sizemore has done historical romance novels, time travel romance novels, a contemporary suspense romance novel and a media tie-in novel for Forever Knight. She likes to travel, has an affinity for just about anything canine and collects art glass. She's a fan of good coffee, Terry Pratchett books, Star Trek and movies with explosions. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Partners
SF Site Review: Gates of Hell
SF Site Review: Laws of the Blood: The Hunt

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

Olympias, who once ruled at the side of Philip of Macedon, who gave birth to Alexander the Great, is a powerful woman who history has not always portrayed in the most positive of lights. Centuries later, she finds herself in another power struggle, as the Enforcer of Washington D.C. A vampire of terrible power, she is responsible for ensuring the safety of the vampires in her area. A secret government project, where they teach especially psychically endowed people to project their souls to different places and seek out intelligence important to the US government, is threatening to expose vampire kind. Her decision in this case would usually be easy... kill any humans who are too much of a threat, absorb the rest of the group into the vampire society. To become a vampire, one must have a strong psychic gift... and all these people would qualify. The group leader, Falconer, has already been chosen by Lora, a vampire whose hunger for a companion has taken away her good sense. It would be the easy way, but Olympias has to fight an attraction to him that she's never felt for another being in her whole long existence. These are not her only troubles. Roger Bentencourt, the companion to Rose, is hungry for power. Expecting to become a full vampire any time, he is carefully manipulating the people around him. Even Olympia's chief and most trusted slave, Sara, isn't immune.

The hardest thing about this genre is to handle vampires in a way that hasn't been done before. Susan Sizemore accomplishes this well, taking the traditions and restructuring them in an way that makes a fertile ground for exploring the vampire civilization. By creating her world on a system of nests and enforcers, she allows for a lot of political tension, as well as some action. The nests are headed by a master vampire, who decides when and where a vampire in her care can take a companion, who, after a time, will become a vampire. One of the negatives is that they also have human slaves, who, in sharing blood with their master are given a link that forces loyalty. Once you've shared blood with a vampire, you become utterly attached to them, whether you wanted to be or not. The enforcers keep the law, and protect the secret of vampire existence. Her vampires are very passionate, almost spoiled, because they are so used to their wants being catered to. When something is denied them, they react violently.

Olympias is, in some ways, just as bad. Sizemore keeps true to the sensible guidelines she has set for her vampires, and creates in Olympias an interesting yet contradictory vampire. In some ways I found it hard to get next to her. Olympias is strong and smart, but somewhat self-centered. She places too many burdens on Sara, making demands that I thought were somewhat unreasonable. I also didn't like the thought of slaves... even if it's willing, it's still slavery. She tries to set this aside by having a scene where Sara makes Olympias get her own coffee, but still, if you're in a relationship where you're half afraid someone will kill you if you displease them, then that's hard to make that reflect well on the main character. I liked Sara a bit more. She is the everyman character for this book, the human who wants to be a vampire but can't, so she has to make due with being a slave. I think that Sizemore did too good of a job making us feel bad for Sara... which is to the detriment of Olympias.

Where Deceptions really shines is in the political maneuvers of Bentencourt, and where better for this book to be set, then, than in Washington? How he carefully takes all the aspects that the author provides him and weaves a deft and evil trap is quite interesting.

Olympias is a tough heroine, well suited to her job, and someone who, with time, I'm sure I'd get to like. This is the fourth book in the series, and with the increasing popularity it seems to be getting, it won't be the last.

Copyright © 2003 Cindy Lynn Speer

Cindy Lynn Speer loves books so much that she's designed most of her life around them, both as a librarian and a writer. Her books aren't due out anywhere soon, but she's trying. You can find her site at

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