Roman is a centuries old vampire, 200 centuries old to be exact. He is currently trying to save his lover, Cole, from drowning in heroin. Every man Roman has ever loved has died and he is determined to save Cole by whatever means necessary. As Roman and Cole become closer, Roman tells him his story, which starts in ancient Rome 79 AD.
There we meet Jovian, who is living in the countryside with his lover Betto on their sheep farm. When there is an attack on the farm, Jovian walks to Rome to seek assistance. A second attack leaves him near death and he is saved by the mysterious and handsome Titus who brings him to his palatial home. Confused and inexplicably drawn to Titus, Jovian loses all sense of time and of himself and Titus has no plans to allow Jovian to leave. When Jovian is finally able to escape back to his farm and to Betto, Titus, in an obsessive, jealous rage, converts Jovian to a vampire so he will be his for the rest of time.
Across the centuries, Titus follows Jovian, who is later known as Roman. Every time Roman thinks he is finally free, Titus is always one step ahead, still obsessed, and forever evil. This time, Titus is out to take Cole away from Roman permanently.
We have real vampires here. Vampires who kill and drink blood. Vampires that also need to consume food and can walk in the sun. The vampire world is not so much built as we just learn of their traits and we can just accept it and go with it.
We start out in present day and very quickly move to Roman telling his story. His story of ancient Rome, his lover Betto, and of meeting Titus, is fascinating when he first wakes in Titus’ home, and his confusion and dream-like state is written so well. When he is made a vampire, his rebirth, so to speak, is written very clearly. Then, time passes and we don’t see him acclimating to being a vampire.
There is a lot of time spent on Roman’s past. We move through centuries with him and it’s all visual, with a well done gladiator scene, and we get a handle on Titus’ obsession and rage for Roman. We periodically come back to present day and that’s where the story starts to lose structure. So much is wrapped up in the past, the connection between Roman and Cole in present day is harder to feel. The culmination scene brings in secondary characters as major players and they had only been mentioned briefly.
I was totally drawn into Roman’s story and then the ending is rushed and tries to accomplish a whole lot in a short amount of time. There is a lot thrown at us, some that I could see coming, and not nearly enough time left at the end to resolve it all. There is just not enough balance between the past and the present scenes and final execution of the story is not tightly wrapped up and there is a whole lot to process.
I enjoyed the good versus evil vampire aspect and the detail of Roman’s ancient life over many centuries. Take a look at this for an obsessive historical vampire story told throughout the centuries.