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Christian Baines’ SINS OF THE SON is my favorite kind of pulp novel. Morally ambiguous supernatural beings, intrigue, clandestine organizations, and eldritch creepies? Sign me up! The novel starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up until it’s taken you on one hell of a ride.
The book is actually book 3 of the Arcadia Trust series. I hadn’t read the first two (something quickly changed, as I really enjoyed this world). It read just fine as a stand alone; there are enough explanations without being tedious, but my unfamiliarity with some of the terms took a little bit of adjustment.
Case in point: Reyland, the main character, is a Blood Shade, and he is rather adamant that he is NOT a vampire despite the allergy to sunlight and appetite for hemoglobin. There is a really interesting mythos attached to the supernaturals in this book that makes it different from any other origin stories with which I’m familiar, and I like it. It’s unique, and I have to say that about the whole book.
Reyland’s usual MO to find dinner and a little recreation is cruising Sydney’s gay scene. A young man approaches him, and what starts as just another night for Rey ends in an attack on his life by this soldier of the Scimitar of Light, a hate-based religious warrior group. But there is something both painfully familiar and very wrong about his attacker, and Reyland calls in his friends at the Arcadia Trust to help him get to the bottom of it.
A priest named Iain Greig insinuates himself into the care of the young soldier, and Reyland is powerfully drawn to him. As the mystery begins to unravel, the evil truth about the Scimitars and their zealous desire to destroy all supernatural beings comes to light—and they are willing to deal in forbidden magic to get what they want.
Meanwhile, Reyland’s irresistible attraction to Iain is getting in the way of business, but there’s more to Iain than Rey can possibly imagine. The survival of the Arcadia Trust hangs on whether Reyland should trust this mysterious stranger.
This book was a blast to read. The secondary characters are well-drawn (I loved Dorotha, Reyland’s elderly downstairs tenant: “Oh, I’m sorry, Reyland, is this one of your ‘special’ parties?”) The end of the book definitely hints at more to come with a bit of a cliffhanger, but it’s wrapped up enough to be satisfying. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a change from your everyday vampire/shifter/witch kind of lore.