Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The Deathless

Author: Keith R. A. DeCandido
Pocket Books
RRP: 6.99, US $6.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84739 037 0
ISBN-10: 1 84739 037 4
Available 08 May 2007

Buffy has enough problems in her everyday life (Ring Day is coming up and she can't even afford one of the less expensive silver bands). Then she discovers that the stars are properly aligned for an attempt to resurrect a long-dead evil sorcerer. A little investigating leads Buffy and the gang to the necromancer who killed the sorcerer long ago - an immortal of Russian descent named Yulia Dryanushka, who can control vampires - and who just happens to live in an ordinary split-level house in Sunnydale, California. When Buffy and the crew pay Yulia a visit, she assures them that, with Willow's help, she is powerful enough to kill the sorcerer for a second time, should he be successfully revived. Both Buffy and Willow are uncomfortable with aligning themselves with a necromancer, and are unsure if they can trust their new ally. But they have no choice when, twenty-four hours later, the vampires of Sunnydale start behaving strangely, and evil is awakening rather sooner than they expect...

The Deathless is Keith R. A. DeCandido's latest addition to the Buffy range of books. The plot takes place between the TV episodes The Zeppo and Bad Girls from Buffy's third season.

DeCandido should be ashamed of himself for the pun revolving around the fact that Buffy's arm in a sling: "Sling of the past" is just a terrible, terrible gag - which had me grinning like a fool for quite some time.

I wasn't so sure about Yulia Dryanushka's (or Baba Yaga as she is quickly discovered to be) protection spell which meant that she is able to go about her business without being harmed by a Slayer. Also Bulat the Brave is equally unable to be harmed (as he is immortal). The problem with this is that it means that (without spoiling any of the plot) if either or both of these characters turn out to be evil then Buffy and Faith have their work cut out for them. And if the slayers can kill either of them then it makes a mockery of the whole set-up.

Thankfully DeCandido gets around this rather well, but surely a protection spell should not have been introduced - this means that any old vampire could get their hands on the spell and be invulnerable to a Slayer attack. The consequence would be that we could have a situation where the Slayer can not kill any demons because they all know about the spell (which I'm surprised has managed to remain a secret for so long).

There are few surprises here. The Deathless is a pretty run-of-the-mill, paint-by-numbers affair that offers nothing in the way of surprises. Having said that, it's still an enjoyable read.

Amber Leigh

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