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Book Review

Book Cover

The Vampire Gene
Book 2 - Futile Flame


Author: Sam Stone
Publisher: Telos Publishing
RRP: £9.99
ISBN: 978 1 84583 914 7
Publication Date: 31 August 2015

Gabriele Caccini and Lilly, his recently turned vampire lover, travel the world trying to keep out of sight of the human population, but in their travels they have come across something which feels both older and darker than anything they have previously encountered. Concerned about the entity, Gabriele sets out to find Lucrezia, the vampire who had made him, hoping that her greater age would hold some answers...

The Vampire Gene: Book 2 - Futile Flame (2008, Telos Reprint 2015. 213 pages) is the second book in the series, written by Sam Stone.

Whereas the first book concentrated on Gabriele and how he turned Lilly into a vampire, Futile Flame is almost exclusively Lucrezia’s story. Stone uses the same motif of characters discussing the past in the present as a jumping off point for the more historical perspective.

This structure works better in this novel than it did in Killing Kiss. Partially this is down to the fact that much of the novel has only Gabriele and Lucrezia discussing the past before the reader is taken there and partially because those transitions are more heavily delineated. I found the jumping around in the first novel poorly structured and often confusing.

Overall, this is a better book than the first, Lucrezia and her brother are more interesting characters than Gabriele, who can often come off as a bit of a wet weekend. I’m presuming that Stone was going for brooding but fell short of the mark. True to her Anne Rice genes, the book does contain graphic descriptions of sex, this time it’s a lot rapier, thankfully much of this is restricted to the first half of the book,

This is a better novel than book one as Stone comes out from Rice’s shadow to produce something which is uniquely her own. I have said before that the series gets significantly more interesting from book three and the second half of the book lays down a lot of the groundwork, although as a standalone you’re going to finish the book with more questions than answers, so in that sense it doesn’t work especially well.

I guess there is a temptation to start the series with book two; it has enough information that you’re not really missing much. So, if you don’t want to read the whole series I can heartily recommend starting here.


Charles Packer

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