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Written in the Blood


Written in the Blood

In THE STRING DIARIES, the supernatural thriller by first-time novelist Stephen Lloyd Jones, readers met the hosszú életek, a race of creatures who live impossibly long lives and wield strange and amazing powers, like shape-shifting and the ability to heal themselves and others of serious injuries. The story centered on a man named Jakab and the terrible damage he did to one particular family for generations. It ended as he was finally vanquished by Hannah Wilde, who survived along with her nine-year-old daughter, Leah.

WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD returns to Leah Wilde, now 24 years old, who is, along with her mother, fighting for the survival of the hosszú életek. How did the Wildes go from fighting against Jakab to helping his kind? It happened when they learned that they are hosszú életek as well. The singular focus of THE STRING DIARIES is gone as WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD follows several characters, switching wildly between different tense and action-packed subplots. But the movement through time remains --- this time around from Budapest in 1873 to New York in the late 1920s to Canada in the mid-1940s, and then all across Europe and the American West today.

"WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD builds into an exciting and absorbing tale that brings together elements and characters from the first book and resolves all the plot threads nicely."

Hannah is desperate to increase the dwindling population of the hosszú életek and with the help of Leah is searching for women to participate in a risky fertilization program. Their only hope may be with the recruitment of kirekesztett women, those outcast from hosszú életek society for previous crimes. To find those women, shunned by most of the hosszú életek, Leah must travel to Switzerland to meet A Kutya Herceg, one of the most feared kirekesztett in history. She also meets his son, Luca, a charming yet also dangerous man, but one willing to help her and her mother by bringing her to some of the kirekesztett women.

While Hannah and Leah are working towards saving the hosszú életek by bringing more babies into the world, a dark and sinister force is preying on them and threatening to destroy them once and for all. The lélek tolvajok, or child-snatchers, steal the bodies of the hosszú életek and live in them as parasites until their host-bodies finally wear out.

Another storyline follows Izsák, a hosszú élet, who, after an early life marred by tragedy after tragedy, has come to believe the events of his past are far behind him. But, as a group of ancient lélek tolvajok is stalking the hosszú életek, and Leah and Hannah are gathering women together and helping new children into the world, Izsák is once again thrust into a world of hosszú életek culture, danger and intrigue. All the characters find themselves facing off in a final bloody and chaotic confrontation that just may destroy the world of the hosszú életek once and for all.

Though it starts off a bit slowly, WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD builds into an exciting and absorbing tale that brings together elements and characters from the first book and resolves all the plot threads nicely. Without having read THE STRING DIARIES first, readers will be lacking in much of the background information to fully understand the world Jones creates, not to mention the backstories of several of the key characters. He spends little time reviewing what happened before, instead moving his story forward from page one. For those who read THE STRING DIARIES, WRITTEN IN THE BLOOD offers a satisfying and entertaining conclusion to the tale of the hosszú életek and the specific characters introduced in both books.

Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on May 29, 2015

Written in the Blood
by Stephen Lloyd Jones

  • Publication Date: May 26, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Horror, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316254487
  • ISBN-13: 9780316254489