In New York an antique bronze case containing an ancient Roman scroll is sold.
In Savannah, Minerva Starret begins a new job at an investment firm and walks into tragedy.
Shadowlight continues in the dark, sensual world of Darkyn, although its focus is on the Kyndred, ‘made from birth to be unique among humans’, developed, in essence, by the Brethren to fight the Darkyn. But something went wrong and the orphans were scattered, adopted out to families, without knowing of their special talents – until they experience their first ‘death’.
Shadowlight centres around one of these orphans, Jessa Bellamy, whose strange talent leads her to open Phoenix Inc., a company that performs background checks for clients’ new employees.
GenHance tries to hire Jessa, but in truth, is after her talent and attempt to ‘take’ her. Instead, the mysterious Gaven Matthias steps in and kidnaps her to protect her from the all-powerful GenHance – what the company can do to destroy a person is frightening as it strikes the right balance with what modern technology and people in the right place can accomplish in today’s society of computerised records.
Jessa finds Matthias’ explanations are outrageous; he cannot know her secret, for she has never told it. As she explores her new environment, she becomes aware of others like her.
She becomes the object of obsession by the man from whom Matthias rescued her.
This book also sees a return of characters from the Darkyn series: the tough cop Samantha Brown, her life partner the arrogant and domineering Darkyn assassin, Lucan and a cameo appearance by Dr Alexandra Keller.
Action, sometimes brutal, abounds in this book, and lifts the book to the next level. Ms Viehl carefully builds the sensuality between the two main characters while also focusing on Jessa’s confusion that she’s not the only one with a talent.
Though at times it has the feel of an X-Men comic – which I love - this book expands on the world-building of the Darkyn series with a more in depth look at the talents hinted at in the Darkyn novels.
Anyone coming to this series without reading the Darkyn will find it an excellent place to start, with explanations of both Darkyn, Kyndred and the suggestion of a link between the two enough to tempt a new reader to the previous series.
Shadowlight comes with a preview of the next novel, Dreamveil, which I await with anticipation.
Shadowlight will be released on 8 October, 2009 and Dreamveil will be released in June, 2010.