Title: Blood Price
Author: Tanya Huff
Publication Year: 1991
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Source: E-book version borrowed from the public library
From the cover:
Vicki Nelson, formerly of Toronto’s homicide unit and now a private detective, witnesses the first of many vicious attacks that are now plaguing the city of Toronto. As death follows unspeakable death, Vicki is forced to renew her tempestuous relationship with her former partner, Mike Celluci, to stop these forces of dark magic — along with another, unexpected ally…
Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of King Henry VIII, has learned over the course of his long life how to blend with humans, how to deny the call for blood in his veins. Without him, Vicki and Mike would not survive the ancient force of chaos that has been unleashed upon the world — but in doing so, his identity may be exposed, and his life forfeit.
(This is the first book in the Blood Books series.)
Of all the vampire books I’ve read, this is the only one I’ve seen so far that’s written by a Canadian. (I’m not counting Kelley Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, because vampires only feature peripherally.) It was nice to read a story set in my own city, with landmarks and places that I recognized.
Blood Price introduces some rather complex characters, some in ways that aren’t usual for fantasy novels. For starters, Vicki – one of the main characters – has a physical disability, a degenerative eye disease that has changed her life drastically before the events in the book take place. There’s also clearly a complicated history between her and Celluci that becomes more obvious as the story progresses.
I also really liked the character of Henry, though he’s a bit less interesting to me than the others. I’ve seen much more fascinating vampire characters, to be honest, but at least he’s likeable enough and has an intriguing backstory.
To be honest, one of the things that struck me the most – and was part of why I like the series so much overall – was the attitude towards relationships and sex that is portrayed in Blood Price. There’s a nonchalance towards same-gender relationships, casual dating, and the ability to have multiple caring partners that I wouldn’t have expected from a book that’s over 20 years old. And yet, it manages to happen without there ever being an explicit sex scene, one of the things that many people criticize about Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series.
Overall, this was a fun, fast-paced read with an interesting plot and complex characters that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.