THE VAMPIRE'S BRIDE
Thanks to Showalter's great writing and imagination, this story, reminiscent of
a reality show with all-powerful gods pulling everyone's strings, will really appeal to some. The hero's cruelty and violence may give others pause, but look for the enjoyable secondary romances to lighten the mood.
The death of his beloved by the dragons sends vampire king Layel on a quest for revenge that lasts 200 years. Since then he hasn't desired any woman -- until he crosses swords with the Amazon Delilah.
When the gods take an active interest in the inhabitants of Atlantis, they create a Survivor-like game, taking two of each Atlantean species and creating two teams to be pitted against one another. The team that loses a challenge also loses a member -- through execution. With friends becoming enemies and team members supporting former foes, the attraction Layel has for Delilah could spell doom. (HQN, Mar., 384 pp., $6.99)