THE OUTCAST BLADE
Although vampires and werewolves are becoming a bit overdone, Grimwood manages to bring a refreshing viewpoint to the genre. The historic setting is well crafted, the characters are magnetic and the backdrop richly detailed, bringing the reader right into his world. Definitely a great read.
Ancient Venice lies in a delicate balance. There are plots to depose the simpleton Duke Marco. His uncle Alonzo schemes to rule in his place, and Repub-lican insurgents seek to impose their own government. Outside the city, Basilius the Byzantine emperor and Sigismund the German emperor turn their eyes to the wealth and profits of of Venice. Two young people may have the power to tip this balance. Giulietta is the beautiful and wealthy cousin of Duke Marco, and widow of Prince Leopold. Her hand in marriage could cement an advantageous alliance for Venice. But Giulietta will not be the pawn of Venice’s scheming nobility — just as she knows her turbulent feelings for the handsome young Tycho must be hate. Tycho has recently returned with the victorious Venetian fleet. Just how he aided in this victory is a mystery, for he cannot reveal the unnatural powers growing within him. Only his love for Giulietta gives him a place to anchor his human heart. (ORBIT, Mar., 399 pp., $14.99)