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Danse Macabre (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter) by Laurell K. Hamilton
Review by Harriet Klausner
Berkley Hardcover Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 0425207978
Date: 27 June, 2006 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Anita is part of a triumvirate, a group tied to each other through the bites of Jean-Claude and together they are more powerful than before they joined as a team. She also inherited Jean-Claude's ardeur a magical sense that must be fed through sex otherwise it will overwhelm her and feed indiscriminately. The ardeur is growing stronger and it controls Anita instead of the other way around; she needs to find a pomme de sang that she can feed from since Nathanial is now metaphysically tied to her and doesn't satisfy the ardeur. Anita has become a succubus who needs to feed on sex either physically or psychically if she wants to live a normal life. As her powers grow and change so do the other members of the triumvirate but this must be kept hidden from the vampire council because they are breaking the rules and could be killed if someone exposes it.

Another worry Anita has is that she is carrying three strains of lycanthropy in her body wolf, leopard and lion and although it should be impossible it looks like Anita might shift even if she is a succubus and a necromancer. All the master vampires from the various cities in the United States are congregating in St Louis to see the ballet, many are not friends of Jean Claude or Anita. Some will use any methods available to them to have Anita use the ardeur on them; others want to know just how powerful the triumvirate is; and some want to see if they can control the triumvirate or its various members. Anita and Jean-Claude must discover who their enemies are and stop them from engaging in a power struggle that might reveal their strength which would mean a death sentence by various groups and individuals who fear what they can do.

This is the thirteenth book in the Anita Blake urban fantasy series and it is just as refreshingly original, entertaining and magical as is the first book. The third member of the triumvirate, Richard the werewolf leader of his pack only plays a supporting role. He gives help when Anita and Jean-Claude are in danger but he wants nothing to do with the preternatural world and has finally come to realize that is where his beloved Anita belongs.

Danse Macabre is very different than the other books in the series because it concentrates on the heroine's emotional state and the relationship with the men in her life. She plays a different role with each giving them what they need from her and in turn they are fiercely loyal to her.

There are many graphic sex scenes, in this book but they are necessary to the central theme of the storyline that Anita is changing; thus readers won't feel the author is writing sexploitation escapades. Each new major character that Laurell K. Hamilton introduces for the first time plays a pivotal role to the plot and may be seen in future books. Ms. Hamilton has a knack for keeping readers anxiously waiting to read the next book in the series. In this case, the audience wants to know if Anita will shapeshift and, if she does, which animal she will turn into. Perhaps the only quibble with this strong fantasy is that the audience will have to wait a least a year for another Anita Blake vampire executioner novel.

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