Leah has heard the dark stories about him and knows she is walking into the lion’s den. But her options are running out. Her rare lineage, kept secret for years, is under terrible threat. That is, unless Leah and her mother Hannah are prepared to join up with their once deadly enemies.
Should the prey ever trust the predator?
Is hope for future generations ever enough to wash away the sins of the past?
With a new and chilling danger stalking them all, and the survival of their society at stake, they may have little choice…
Thanks to Headline and Bookbrigr for my review copy.
The sequel to The String Diaries and Stephen Lloyd Jones picks up with his narrative so we learn what happens to Hannah Wilde and her daughter Leah after the life-changing events outlined in his debut novel. We join the action 15 years after the events of The String Diaries and find that Hannah has been busy but her activities require her to keep a continued low profile.
Leah has grown into a strong, independent woman, however, her mother’s ongoing project is not yielding success as quickly as Leah would like – driven by her own personal demons – she decides to take a more proactive approach to assist Hannah’s project.
The avoidance of spoilers is key here so I am not going to give too much detail into the underlying story threads of Written in the Blood. Suffice to say that the story that began in The String Diaries is developed with much more depth in Written in the Blood. The society of hosszú életek is explored and the turmoil of survival for its members is displayed in all its savagery. Stephen Lloyd Jones has no apparent qualms over putting his characters to the sword and many characters suffer at his hands.
For the new reader I would urge caution – read The String Diaries first. Written in the Blood is a great read but without fully understanding the back history you may lose some of the fun that goes with joining a tale half-way through. There are twists in Written in the Blood that reward The String Diary readers and the concepts of hosszú életek are much easier to take on board when you have seen the evolution of the characters from the first book.
With the deepening of the mythos of the hosszú életek there is a greater emphasis on the factions within the society and the politics of power always bring a nice edge to stories. On a personal note, the broader cast of characters had me slightly disadvantaged (as I must confess to a terrible memory for names) so there were one or two occasions where a recap was required.
At the end of the book I find I am a happy reader. A strong follow-up to a debut novel and I am keen to read more from Stephen Lloyd Jones. I give Written in the Blood 4 stars out of possible 5 and urge you to treat yourself to The String Diaries and Written in the Blood – dark and different thrillers.