Author: Tal Bauer
Publisher: NineStar Press
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: History says the Knights Templar were destroyed in 1307.
History is wrong.
Vampires haunt the sewers beneath Rome, revenants desecrate graveyards, ghouls devour helpless passersby, and incubi stalk dark alleys and seedy nightclubs in Italy’s capital. Deep in the Vatican, a brotherhood exists, sworn protectors of the earth, and they stand firm against monsters from the dark depths. Operating in secret and silence, they protect our world from the sinister, the etheric, and the evils that exist beyond the Veil.
But it’s a lonely life, and Alain Autenberg knows that more than most. His lover was ripped from him years ago, and he vowed never to get close to another soul again. Even when the loneliness presses down on him, and his empty heart cries out for something more.
Something more comes in Cristoph Hasse, a new soldier arriving in Rome to serve in the Pontifical Swiss Guard. Young, brash, and fitting in at right angles everywhere he goes, Cris struggles in the murky, deceptive labyrinth of the Vatican. Propelled forward by a past he can’t understand, Cris collides with Alain, and both men crash headfirst into the darkest secret of the Vatican…and of the world.
Review: Alain Autenberg is nominally a member of the Swiss Guard. He doesn’t really fit in, though. He’s got special, secret duties and is not accepted by the other guardsmen. Christoph Hasse is a new guardsman and deeply unhappy and angry with the world. Then he gets the guy no one likes as his mentor. It doesn’t really go well for Chris and Alain in the beginning. They make peace with each other and Chris manages to find some friends among the other guards. Alain catches on pretty quickly he’s starting to care for Chris more than he should. Chris just gets upset when Alain doesn’t follow through on his promise to show up at a game. Alain also won’t talk to Chris and he continues to remain pervasively secretive. Even after Chris gets hurt Alain refuses to have an open and frank conversation with Chris. The incubus changes things. Neither man can deny their feelings for each other after the incubus shows them who they most desire. Alain can also no longer hide he spends his time fighting the paranormal and the supernatural on behalf of the Church. Alain stops trying to shield himself from falling in love again despite the fact the forces that cost him his previous lover are again powerful. Things don’t go quite as Alain and Chris had planned.
I really enjoyed this book. I did have some issues with Alain. There was a lot of pulling Chris close only to push him away. I get he had reasons, but I began to become bored with his actions and indecision. Despite my frustration I thought this book was a good combination of thriller, action, and romance. The paranormal aspects were at times pretty disgusting. All together it made for a book that not only kept my interest but made me curious about the locations and historical organizations being mentioned.
This book does end with an HEA of sorts. I wouldn’t say people are necessarily happy, but Alain and Chris are together. There is, however, a whole lot of unresolved stuff. Spoilery unresolved stuff. And wow, I really hope Luca gets a book. I just… need a Luca book. I strongly suspected Luca’s storyline along the way, but his feelings about it were so palpable. So yeah, I want a Luca book and I’m not shy in saying I’m eager for it.