I’d been waiting eagerly for this book, and it didn’t disappoint in any respect.
An offshoot from Mark Henwick’s BITE BACK series, you can find my previous reviews from this series below this one.
Bian’s Tale is an offshoot from Henwick’s Athanate series, with THE HARVEST OF LIES the first in a planned 5 book series. The main series is contemporary urban fantasy with a unique take on vampires – the Athanate are not the undead, but the undying, and the complex social structure of Athanate society is world building at its best.
Though not the protagonist of the main series, Bian is one of the most intriguing characters. An Asian Athanate, skilled in many martial disciplines and also languages and politics, her back story begged to be told and I was thrilled when this book appeared.
The daughter of a disgraced mandarin, in the late 1800s Bian is adopted by a highly placed French family in French ruled Saigon. She fears for her birth family’s safety as they are hunted by a legendary villain, and she realises too late that her older sister has been sold into prostitution after the woman recruiting ‘maids’ is executed for her crimes.
Bian sets out to find her sister, but politics force a change of administration and suddenly her privileged life proves to be a fragile façade that crumbles away with alarming haste.
The supernatural elements of this story do not surface until about two thirds of the way through the book. Despite that, the story is mesmerising. Henwick’s richly layered descriptions and detailed historical and geographic research deliver a fully immersive read, and you cannot help but be swept up by Bian’s unique mixture of innocence and worldliness. I am waiting impatiently for the next one.
My reviews from the BITE BACK series so far