Title: Fool’s Rush (Fool’s Odyssey #3)
Author: Chris Quinton
Cover Artist: Anna Bryukhanova
Publisher: Manifold Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M futuristic/vampire
Length: Novella (43,000 words)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Leslie S
Review summary: Interesting, well paced vampire sequel that works as a standalone.
Father Esteve hires Xavi to trace the true owners of the gold found in the crypt of San-Pedro-by-the-Wall, but it’s an old and tangled web. Someone has an undisclosed agenda, and a rising tide of anti-vampire reaction sweeps through Barcelona. It’s focused on Xavi and Andreas, which causes additional problems with the vampires of Renaissance. Then Xavi meets a handsome young man who isn’t all he seems, and that’s when things begin to get even more complicated…
Book Three of the Fool’s Odyssey trilogy.
I really enjoy Chris Quinton’s writing. It’s clean and crisp and always manages to evoke a good sense of place. Fool’s Rush is no different. Here we’re in Barcelona in 2042, in a future that, in Spain at least, doesn’t feel unlike our own time. I haven’t read the previous two books in the series (an omission I must remedy now I’ve finished this one!), so although I was missing some background knowledge (mainly as to why the vampires left the US and what the political situation is over there), in terms of the story arc for this book, I was able to pick up enough information to understand the various relationships, alliances and enmities.
Xavi, a young Spaniard, was made a vampire by accident. He’s impetuous and self-confident but sometimes his new nature gives him problems, not least because he’s always been a loner and doesn’t like fitting in with others in society, whether they be human or vampire. The one person he’ll listen to is his lover, Andreas, who is a Warden responsible for policing vampires who live in the commune Renaissance just outside of Barcelona. In addition, Andreas is a detective assigned to Barcelona PD, which has a group of officers immune to vampire blood and who are working to ease relations between a wary and sometimes hostile human population and the vampires who just want to lead their own lives unmolested.
Andreas lives within Barcelona itself, choosing not to separate himself from humans as the Renaissance vampires have done. I liked this ‘ghettoising’ aspect of segregating vampires from humans and the problems this causes. Some are external, such as the media frenzy surrounding Xavi’s involvement in discovering a cache of gold (described in the previous books) and how the vampires deal with being thrust into the spotlight at a time when they’d prefer to be keeping a low profile, and there’s also internal conflicts within Renaissance itself over how much contact should be allowed between vampires and humans.
The council of Renaissance want to protect their children, who were born biologically and are thus rare and precious to the community. Their parents and the commune as a whole are desperate to shield their children, many of them teenagers who want to mingle with human teenagers and have fun, and this leads to clashes between different groups. Renaissance are sufficiently worried that they bring in another Warden, Lucien, who is more of a hard-liner than Andreas.
While Lucien provides an intriguing contrast to Andreas’ style and the two vampires circle one another warily, Xavi feels a mutual spark of attraction for the new Warden. Sadly this didn’t go anywhere. On one hand I’m glad it didn’t, because it’s clear that Xavi has been fighting his natural impulses to bolt even as he’s surrendering to Andreas, but on the other hand I was intrigued by this sliver of attraction and what it could hint at in the future, especially given Andreas’ thawing towards Lucien. Plus Lucien sounds hot and I wouldn’t be averse to reading more about him 😆
In the meantime, Father Esteve, a pro-vampire priest who ministers from the church in which the gold was found, asks a reluctant Xavi to uncover the mystery of the treasure. Who put it there and why? Xavi starts following clues that date back to the Spanish Civil War, and just as he thinks he’s on to a lead, he meets a handsome young man, Matt, who claims to be the descendant of family who owned the gold. Can it really be that easy?
Meanwhile, Andreas is tipped off about a smear campaign in the press, a series of anti-vampire stories and attacks on humans that cause an even greater rift between humans and vampires. Andreas and Lucien must work together to control the situation, especially when it becomes clear that there’s a connection between this case and the task Xavi is carrying out.
It took me a while to read the first half of the book, mainly because it referenced events from previous instalments and was tying up loose ends whilst setting the scene for events going forward. However, the characters and the politics of Renaissance, the low-level conflict of vampire vs human, and the medical background to vampirism and immunity all kept me reading. And at the literal halfway point when my Kindle said 50%, the action really swung up a notch and I read the rest of the book all in one sitting.
At 43k this is a novella, but in all honesty it felt like a novel, there was so much packed into the story. The characters are all well rounded, and though it took me a while to warm up to Xavi (he’s very prickly!), I enjoyed his personality by the end and was hoping for him to make the right decisions. I liked Andreas’ calm head and no-nonsense attitude, and the (mild) D/s aspect of their relationship worked well.
If you like your vamps just a little bit different, you’re sure to enjoy Fool’s Rush. As for me, I’m off to pick up the first two books in the series – and I’m going to bat my eyelashes in a winning manner at Chris Quinton and ask if there’s any chance for a story about Lucien, pretty please?