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Malachi's Moon
Billie Sue Mosiman
DAW Books, 352 pages

Art: Don Brautigam
Malachi's Moon
Billie Sue Mosiman
Billie Sue Mosiman is also a suspense novelist and short story writer. She's been writing since she was a teenager and began publishing in her early 30s. She writes full-time on novels and short fiction. One of her novels, Night Cruise, was nominated for the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Paperback Original, 1993. Her 1995 novel, Widow, from Berkley, was nominated for the Bram Stoker award for Superior Novel in 1996 by the Horror Writers Association.

Billie Sue Mosiman Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by A.L. Sirois

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In Billie Sue Mosiman's novels, vampires are created by a mutated form of the human disease named porphyria. The sickness does kill most of its victims, but some arise from a death-like state as vampires, supernatural beings who can live for centuries, shape-shift, and even dissolve themselves into a mist. Mosiman's vampires come in three varieties: Predators, corresponding most closely to the classical type of vampire familiar to us from films and books; Naturals, who try to get by as more or less human beings; and Cravens, physically impaired vampires who cannot stand the light of day and who are too weak to supply themselves with blood. It has always been the Predators' responsibility to oversee the Naturals and Cravens, and to arrange for a steady supply of blood for them so that they will not have to prey indiscriminately on humans. This is how vampires have been living for many centuries.

But the balance is about to be upset.

Former billionaire industrialist Charles Upton is a deranged Predator imprisoned in Thailand and overseen by a band of vampire Buddhist monks. Upton is convinced that the natural balance between vampire and human must be overthrown, with the Predators taking their rightful place as absolute rulers of the world, and all of humanity in their thrall.

Balthazar, another solitary Predator living deep below an extinct volcano in a cave whose furnishings are made from the bones of his victims, also dreams of world domination. He has another obsession, too. An ancient prophecy states that a dhampir -- a hybrid born of a vampire and a mortal -- will one day capture and kill all Predators. Balthazar has come to believe that young Malachi Major is the dhampir foretold of by the legend.

True enough, Malachi is a dhampir. His mother, Dell, is a vampire, living happily with her human husband Ryan, though privately saddened by the truth that Ryan will eventually grow old and die, which she will not.

Malachi is tormented by strange dreams in which a silver wolf threatens him. Balthazar is sending these dreams, and Dell herself enters her son's dreamworld to promise the older Predator that Malachai poses him no threat. Balthazar seems to be satisfied. But the powerful and influential Mentor, a widely respected vampire who has renounced his Predator ways to help guide the vampire culture to a peaceful détente with mankind, warns her that Balthazar may not be satisfied for long.

Indeed, Balthazar eventually begins sending assassins to kill Malachi. By this time the boy is eighteen, however, and because of his half-vampire heritage is much stronger than the Predator had suspected. As the attacks continue, Malachi flees his home and takes refuge with a small family in the desert. But even there he is not safe, and neither are his new friends.

And when Balthazar and Upton team up, it quickly becomes clear that no one on earth -- human or vampire -- may ever be safe again. Even Mentor may be vulnerable, because of his love for a human woman.

This novel is a sequel to Red Moon Rising, which I have not read, but it stands on its own. There is plenty of action, the characters are vivid and interesting, and the book moves well. Being part of a series, though, the book contains plot threads and characters that remain unresolved. The entire story arc itself remains unresolved in fact, although Mosiman is skillful enough to disguise this until almost the very end, which feels a bit rushed.

Nevertheless, this was a satisfying read. Not being an ongoing fan of vampire fiction, I can't compare it to similar books, but Mosiman does a credible job here. If vampires are your meat, Malachai's Moon may well be to your taste.

Copyright © 2002 A.L. Sirois

A.L. Sirois has been reading and writing science fiction since he was in single digits. He is now closer to triple digits than he cares to think about. His personal site is at http://www.alsirois.com.


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