The voordalak–creature of legend, the tales of which have terrified Russian children for generations. But for Captain Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov–a child of more enlightened times–it is a legend that has long been forgotten. Besides, in the autumn of 1812, he faces a more tangible enemy: the Grande Armee of Napoleon Bonaparte.
City after city has fallen to the advancing French, and it now seems that only a miracle will keep them from Moscow itself. In desperation, Aleksei and his comrades enlist the help of the Oprichniki–a group of twelve mercenaries from the furthest reaches of Christian Europe, who claim that they can turn the tide of the war. It seems an idle boast, but the Russians soon discover that the Oprichniki are indeed quite capable of fulfilling their promise … and much more.
Unnerved by the fact that so few can accomplish so much, Aleksei remembers those childhood stories of the voordalak. And as he comes to understand the true, horrific nature of these twelve strangers, he wonders at the nightmare they’ve unleashed in their midst….
Full of historical detail, thrilling action, and heart-stopping supernatural moments, Twelve is storytelling at its most original and exciting.
Jasper Kent is an excellent storyteller. Twelve was such a breath of fresh air to read because instead of people falling head over heals for his vampires, they are a force to be feared – that is, IF you see them coming.
Twelve starts off with 4 comrades discussing the war (the invasion of Russia by Napoleon Bonaparte) and their roles as secret operatives within it. In this discussion, it’s suggested by Dmitry that 12 strangers will turn the tide of the war in Russia’s favor. This leaves Aleksei and his other two comrades wondering how 12 mere strangers can turn the tide against hundreds of thousands.
This is where the plot starts, as we follow Aleksei on his journey through the war as a soldier being so far away from his wife and child. Throughout Aleksei’s journey, he encounters a whore named Dominique, in which he gets to know and visits often. He also discovers the disturbing reality that the voordalak are indeed real and not a myth as he believed as a child. His journey takes him deep in the middle of the war behind enemy lines, fighting not one but two enemies now that wish to see him dead.
Jasper Kent has created an amazing historical recount with the added mix of horror, betrayal and love. His attention to detail is outstanding; you actually feel like you know the area he is describing. His story telling is absolutely engrossing, so much so that even though there was not much actual *action* in Twelve, I was left every night not wanting to put the book down.
The only thing I found lacking in Twelve was that I wish there were more action scenes with the voordalak in them, though there is a second to this series so I am hoping Kent will deliver :)
The twists and turns in Aleksei’s journey is filled with brotherhood, compassion, betrayal, anguish, guilt and love. If you are a fan of vampire stories, and are tired of sparkles and lovey dovey vamps, Twelve is a must read! Hell, I love the lovey dovey sexy vampires and I really enjoyed this book :D