3 out of 4 stars
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Peter Hadrian, a police officer, is mourning the death of his murdered wife and his missing son when he is called to a disturbance. Upon reaching the house, he finds two slain police officers and is soon attacked by a vampire. Peter kills him but not before being bitten. He and his friend Luke, a fellow police officer who showed up soon afterward, are rushed to ASA (Apocalypse Suppression Administration) headquarters. With ASA’s genetic manipulation, Peter survives the attack and is now stronger than ever. While at ASA, he encounters an imprisoned female vampire named Boriana who seems familiar. She presents him with a peculiar present and advises that he keep it with him at all times.
More and more attacks by vampires are detected around the world, and there is a fear they will soon be able to take over. Therefore, a plan is devised to send Peter and Luke, along with three others, back to Romania to 1476. This is when Count Dracula lived, and the evidence suggests that vampirism started with him. The plan is to kill Dracula and any other vampires they can find; hopefully, this will stop the present-day problem. Peter approves the plan but only if he can stop at the place and time his son disappeared and save him. They would undertake that after Dracula and the vampires have been killed. After coming to an agreement, plans are soon undertaken to send them back in time to battle this evil.
Christopher J. Penington utilizes the experiences he gained while in the military and as a police officer to write The Hand Bringer. It is a tale involving time travel, vampirism, and romance. The reader obtains an understanding of how hard life was in medieval Romania. Packed full of action, with many battle scenes and several twists, this fast-moving story is captivating until the ending. The writing is easy to comprehend, and the dialogue is believable.
The varied characters and their development are my favorite aspect of the book. Peter has the purest motives; he is courageous and risks his life on multiple occasions for the general good. Luke, his best friend, is also a fascinating character who is more interested in monetary gains than Peter. However, when the chips are down, he consistently has his friend’s back. Bat is an ex-convict with secrets. He seems less educated than the others; however, he is a remarkable fighter and a wonderful addition to the group. Enigmatic Boriana is one of my favorite characters and adds some romance to the story. Villains are also included, and the reader will come to despise Dracula especially.
An underlying theme of Christianity and the importance of faith in God is seen in the story. This is achieved in a way that I think is unoffensive. However, readers who think they might be offended need to be aware of its existence.
My least favorite aspect of the novel was the errors I encountered. Although they were not numerous or particularly distracting, there were too many for a perfect score. Therefore, The Hand Bringer achieved a score of 3 out of 4 stars as there was nothing else that I didn’t like. One more round of editing should easily take care of the errors.
I recommend this intriguing story to fans of science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, and romance novels. Those who relish reading about battle scenes would particularly appreciate it. People who don’t enjoy reading about battles might want to look elsewhere. Profanity, torture, murder, and some sex (although not very explicit) are seen in the book. It is unsuitable for children or anyone sensitive to those issues.
The Hand Bringer
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