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Shadow Lord
The Second Species, Book 1
Click one of the above links to purchase an eBook.

ISBN-10: 1-77115-135-8
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Romance/Fantasy/SF
eBook Length: 320 Pages
Published: November 2013
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Men call them vampires. They call themselves aventurieri. For generations, they hide in the mists of the Carpathians away from their human foes.

In 1793, everything changes… Their prince’s assassin is murdered. His son demands revenge.

Marek Strigoi’s quest for justice will take him from his Transylvanian homeland to the Hellfire clubs of Vienna and the boudoir of a Parisian Marquise, but not even love can stop his vengeance.

Mircea Ravagiu must die. Janos Strigoi’s spilled blood demands it, and Marek must obey.

When both the hunter and the hunted are vampires, not even Hell will stand in the way!

Reviews and Awards



"Tony-Paul de Vissage once again delivers the type of work I have come to expect from him. There is a certain classic charm to his writing. He brings to the reader a unique twist to the vampire that is far from the usual fare." --Teresa D, Vampire Romance Books Reviews

"I gave this novel 4.5 Stars because it left me wanting much more of this addicting story, but I am a revenge junkie as always and nothing reads better for me."--Douglas C. Meeks, Paranormal Romance Review Team

". I am looking forward to the second book in the series to see what happens..."--Charlayne Elizabeth Denney, PRG reviews

"...all I can think of is when is the next book coming out. I can only hope that it is soon."--Linda Tonis, Member, Paranormal Romance Review Team
"You'll never look at vampires the same way again...Tony-Paul de Vissage tells a fast-paced, enthralling tale of vengeance supreme... The book is extremely well-written. The language is powerful yet lush...Tony-Paul de Vissage weaves an enchantment for his reader."--LBN, an Amazon Review.

"Bright and fresh new look at the weary and worn out version of the vampire. Marek is so real you can reach out and touch him. I WANT TO!"--Ark Lilly, an amazon customer.

Shadow Lord (Excerpt)


Chapter 1

1793

Fortreasta Minea

The Decebral Valley

Carpathius, Transylvania

They felt safer when night fell. Safe from sunlight casting barred shadows upon the dungeon floor and sending them cringing into the protection of remaining darkness, huddling far from the bright and deadly light. Clinging to damp granite, they watched the image of crossed metal moving over stones, becoming fainter and fading as the sun set.

They weren't certain how much time had passed since Ravagui's winged soldiers attacked their father's castel killing gardi and servants alike. The attack was too soon after the sun went down. Most were still heavy from slumber, even the humans serving them caught so unaware as to be completely helpless. Their parents were killed with a viciousness bespeaking old grudges and long-nursed vengeance. The children saw their father wielding sword and fangs, taking several of Ravagiu's minions with him as he went down before their onslaught. Their mother barely had time to herd them into a bedchamber, thrusting their little sister into one twin's arms before locking them in and turning to face the soldat launching himself at her.

Her single scream still echoed in the older children's ears.

What followed was a confusion of images and sounds drowned in the smell of blood as the door was smashed open. The four were dragged out... Andreas, his twin Vlad hindered by the screaming baby in his arms, and Karoly calling for his mother, his voice rising in a shriek as he saw her bloodied body lying in a twisted heap beside the splintered door.

When their captors launched themselves into the air, all resistance ceased. None of the children as yet had wings. It would be too easy to slip from clutching fingers and be dashed to pieces on the mountain's jagged slopes, so they clung in fear to their abductors. They were given no explanation as to why they were spared nor did they ever see the one giving the orders. They were simply dropped into the dark hole and left.

For ten days and eleven nights of unrelieved fear...and hunger.

On the fourth day a bloodskin was lowered through the barred ceiling, leaking its life-giving contents onto the shadowy floor. The drops struck the dust with a whispery sound. Only Andreas, made desperate by thirst and Ruxanda's wails, tried to reach it. By now the baby was crying constantly, calling for her wetnurse, her sobs more shrill with each passing night. Summoning his courage, he stood at the edge of the sun-brightened floor, rocking back and forth like someone preparing to leap a wide chasm.

If I'm fast enough...

He knew the consequences if he wasn't, but he didn't have the speed of an adult. His sudden dart into the light was too slow, grasping at the skin with scrabbling fingers as the sun bit into his bones and his flesh began to blacken and curl. Dropping the bag, he stumbled back into the shadows, clutching his smoldering arm and trying not to scream while Vlad pushed the baby into Karoly's hands and seized his twin. He held him tightly until the spasm passed, and the spilled blood dried to a dark red stain upon the gray stone floor...

A short time later, the bag was pulled back through the bars. Once again bright sunshine filled the opening, highlighting dust motes dancing in silent air.

On the fifth night, Vlad opened his wrist against a sharp edge protruding from the dungeon wall and shared his blood with his brothers, holding Ruxanda while the child nursed at his pulse. Within minutes, all were retching up the blood their stomachs rejected. In the morning, heated by the sun, the puddles shimmered and baked. Foul odor permeated the dungeon, driving them even deeper into the shadows.

By the seventh night, hunger pangs taking continuous hold, Karoly began to cry. Refusing the twins' efforts to comfort him, he lay on the floor moaning quietly, legs curled, hands fisted. When the bloodskin once more appeared through the grate, Karoly was the first to see it. Before the others could stop him, he scrambled to his feet, staggering toward the sunshine-filled square. Arms reaching for the skin bag, he stepped into the brightness.

"Karoly! Come back!" Andreas shouted.

A rope dropped through the bars and over the child's body, lifting him off his feet. Legs kicking, Karoly struggled to escape while the sun shone mercilessly upon him. His entire body became a living flame, his shrieks blending with the crackle of roasting skin. Flesh along his arms burst and split amid a liquid bubbling as the blood in his veins began to boil. Andreas and Vlad were screaming, their childish voices alternately begging the gods for mercy and cursing their invisible captors.

The fire rushed upward, and it was over. Only a blackened skeleton hung from the rope, twisting slowly. What was left of their brother looked very small and fragile hanging in the glittering sunlight. The bones of their young were as soft and unformed as a human child's. One piece at a time, the skeleton began to separate, falling onto the dungeon floor with the dull thud of stones landing on velvet. They crumbled, rapidly reduced to dust.

The rope was withdrawn. A small box dropped through the bars, rolling into the shadows to strike Andreas' foot. He picked it up. It was small enough to fit in one hand, had a hinged lid and carvings along the top and sides. He touched the engravings on its surface, then pulled at the hasp opening the lid. On the underside cut into the wood were the words Dormit in Infern... Rest in Hell. Below that had been scrawled in ink the words Strigoi Spawn.

"Murderers!" Slamming the box against the wall, Andreas began to scream. Fists raised, he rushed toward the bright square. Vlad's grasp stopped him from dashing directly into the sunshine. "He was just a baby! Why did you do it? Why?"

Later, when the sun went down, Andreas gathered his little brother's remains, the dust and bone fragments and little malachite knuckle stones. Sobbing quietly the entire time, he placed them in the chest. Then, holding it against his heart, he crept away to huddle beside Vlad.

Shortly after Karoly's death, Ruxanda's cries dwindled to soft whimpers, then stopped altogether. The following day, while they slept in darkness at the back of the pit, someone entered and took her away. They were frantic with fear, but the next night she was returned, unharmed and with no explanation.

And then, it was over...

They heard shouts, the rapid beating of wings, swords clashing, a repeat of the nightmare bringing them to that place. A soldat fell across the grate. There was the muffled thunk of metal striking flesh. His head rolled away, severed neck dripping into the pit.

"We're here! Down here!" Vlad rushed forward, standing under the bloody shower. He wiped it off his face, licked it from his hands. The taste sent a momentary tremor through him.

The body was kicked away and someone knelt to peer into the darkness before rising and disappearing. With a creaking so sharp it was like a scream, the dungeon door swung open. Silhouetted against the torchlight was an armored figure, wings casting a raptor's shadow upon the floor. In his right hand was a sword wet with blood. His head was unhelmed, black hair streaming loose from its club.

"Fraten?" Peering into the darkness, he held out his free hand to the bloodstained child. "Brothers, I'm here."

"Marek!"

Grasping the box, Andreas launched himself at his older brother. Vlad stumbled toward them, clutching Ruxanda. Both were enveloped in a hug.

"Where's Karoly?" Marek's eyes searched the dungeon's shadows.

"Here." Andreas pulled away from his brother's embrace to hold up the little box. He'd never seen such a look on anyone's face. For a moment it frightened him more than anything else that had happened.

"Mircea Ravagiu'll die the slowest death possible when I find him."

The Clan Strigoi's new lord pushed the twins toward the dungeon steps and freedom.