Monday, September 12, 2011
Damascus Road by Ellen C. Maze
With Damascus Road, author Ellen C. Maze continues her fascinating Corescu Chronicles, and in this fantastic sequel to The Judging, readers are not only plunged into darker twists and turns, but into some profound and thought-provoking spiritual questions as well.
Mark Corescu, horrified by how he has used the excuse of judging the wicked acts of sinners to justify satisfying his bloodlust, has fled to a remote location in Europe to protect humanity, leaving newly-made vampire, Paul Black, without his mentor. For this, Paul blames Tony Agricola, and his revenge on this man of God who helped open Mark’s eyes is a most terrible one. Despite his repulsion and Paul’s constant torment, Tony succeeds in convincing Paul to feed his bloodlust on only him and preacher Big John Jenkins, who reluctantly agrees in order to keep others safe and for reasons of his own. But Paul and Mark have left a trail of bodies that have set two detectives on a mission to solve the mysterious case and, finally, Tony and Paul are forced to flee to Germany in search of Mark, with the abandoned woman who loves him, Hope Brannen, hot on their heels. But will finding the ancient vampire really lead to the answers they each seek?
Damascus Road is another amazing story by Ellen Maze that doesn’t just offer non-stop suspense and fascinating characters, but also provides an extremely unique way to look at human spiritual dilemmas. I loved the development of the characters Tony and Paul in this sequel. It’s possible to sympathize with the two in both their strengths and their weaknesses and their complex relationship is absolutely spellbinding. Even when Paul’s cruelty and constant sarcastic barbs and Tony’s often too patient suffering soul make the reader want to shake them, it’s still impossible not to feel for them and see them as simply human – fallible and redeemable, both. The questions their story poses about selfishness and self-sacrifice, temptation and faith offer great depth, raising a suspenseful paranormal horror story to a wonderful piece of speculative fiction, as do the challenges and struggles of new characters, Big John Jenkins and the pursuing detectives.
Another excellent work by an author who has become one of my favorites for her incredibly imaginative and well-written stories that don’t just entertain, but give me so much to think about. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Corescu Chronicles. If you haven’t read any of her two series or short stories yet, don’t miss out!