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Smoke and Shadows
Tanya Huff
DAW, 375 pages

Art: Jude Palencar
Smoke and Shadows
Tanya Huff
Tanya Huff worked at Bakka, Canada's oldest SF and fantasy book store, for many years. Leaving there, she moved further east up the St. Lawrence and found the perfect place. Elsewhere Tanya has said there will be no more Blood Series books but she is planning volume 4 of the Quarters Series to be called The Quartered Sea.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Second Summoning
SF Site Reading List: Tanya Huff
SF Site Review: Wizard of the Grove
SF Site Review: Summon the Keeper
SF Site Review: Blood Debt
Tanya Huff Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Cindy Lynn Speer

For Tony, his job as a production assistant for the Vancouver based TV show "Darkest Night" is a bit of an irony. The show is about a vampire detective, and he, himself, has actually shared a life, bed and vein with a vampire who often has to act as a detective. Because of his association with Henry Fitzroy, he's seen some pretty terrible and scary things, but nothing he's faced yet can match the shadows that seem to move of their own accord. Shadows that can kill, and are, according to Arra, the company's SFX creator and refugee wizard from another world, only the forerunners to a terrible invasion that can not be stopped.

That doesn't mean that Tony and his friends aren't going to try.

People who have read Tanya Huff's books before are no doubt thrilled with the return of Henry and Tony. Henry was teamed up with Vicki Nelson for five volumes starting with the book Blood Price. Tony was their protegé. While I have to be honest as to really having no clue as to the amount of Tony's involvement in these books, it's doubtless that he has really come into his own here. He's no longer Henry's lover (at least officially) instead he's trying the near impossible. That is to have a strong friendship with an ex-lover and vampire despite the fact that said vampire can make him do anything he pleases. In this world, vampires own those they feed from and, the more the feeding, the stronger the bond. Tony doesn't want to be Henry's possession. It adds to his worries about how much he needs to depend on the nightwalker, about how he can still keep their friendship. I liked the fact that Tony doesn't shy away from getting his much more well versed and strong friend to help, yet keeps carrying on during daylight hours. His determination to stop the Shadow Lord despite the helplessness of the situation, of which Arra is quick to remind us, is really one of the most inspiring aspects of the book.

The voice of Smoke and Shadows is also rather neat. Culturally literate and witty, any idea that this is going to be your usual dark and gloomy vampire book is killed by the very irony of the juxtapositions of fantasy and reality. That's not to say that there aren't some pensive moments (you genuinely feel bad for Arra) and that the book doesn't have a lot to say. One of the points of this book is the comparison of what we normally consider fantasy (wizard crossing a gate into another world to take over, vampires, etc.) with reality. Albeit it is the rather warped reality of people who create fantasy as their job. It brings some interesting thoughts on perception. What we perceive as real, what hides in the shadows, what dies in the light of reason.

A well done and exciting adventure.

Copyright © 2004 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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