By Blood We Live by Glen Duncan is the third book in the series that began with The Last Werewolf and was followed by Talulla Rising. These novels are not your usual fare of werewolves and vampires and teen romance. These are visceral and bloody. The romance fast and hot and saturated in animalistic lust. In the first novel, a philosophical Jake, believing himself to be the final living werewolf struggles to survive as he is hunted by vampire and humans alike. In his final acts he brings forth a new line of wolves led by his lover Talulla. She in turn must protect her new pack, with her two twin babies in toll, as she tries to learn in a short time what Jake had known for hundreds of years.
Now, with Jake gone and a new enemy in a military arm of the church, Talulla must find a safe place for her pack and werewolf cubs. But also come to terms with the dreams that haunt her. Dreams of a vampire and the lost love between them. The vampire known as Remshi, thought to be the oldest vampire left alive. For Remshi, he is in search of his lost lover Vali, who he has come to believe is Talulla brought back to life.
“…I sucked hard, went wholly seduced-went wantonly into the drink. If the soul was immortal it left its memories behind in the blood, shed consciousness and passed on, naked and pure, to the realm beyond the image and word, to be wrangled over by God and the Devil, or to reach final dissolution in the void. But I didn’t need the soul. Only the blood. Always and always and always the blood. I drank and felt the rhythm of the drinking in my eyelids and fingertips and nipples and feet. I drank and swam down…”
Duncan paces the novel extremely well, his cadence a poetic dance even when the beast is tearing you piece by piece and chewing on the gristle of your flesh. Yet there is a vulnerability to these immortal and cruel beasts. As they themselves struggle with what they are.
“…I was remembering something Fluff had said. He was always teasing me about not reading books, but one day he said: Reading a book is a dangerous thing, Justine. A book can make you find room in yourself for something you never thought you’d understand. Or worse, something you never wanted to understand…”
Talulla is offered a reprieve from her life. If not for her, perhaps her children. A cure. A chance to be human again if she would only do the most inhuman of acts. But would the wolf in her allow her to do so? And what of Remshi and his prophecy that only by being with Talulla would he find his way back to Vali?
Duncan weaves an intricate tale of love lost and survival in peril. The choices made and the fate of all touched by them. This is old style horror with Werewolves written the way they should be. With the wolf being the more powerful side, not the human.
An excellent addition to a very well written series.