The Midnight Guardian (Millennials #1) by Sarah Jane Stratford
Publisher: St. Martins Press/Sept 2010
It’s 1938, and Hitler’s tentacles have commenced their stranglehold on Europe. The Nazi empire will soon be purged of all “tainted” bloodlines…including vampires.
London’s ancient tribunal of vampires is aghast at the destruction taking place on the Continent and resolves to send its five most formidable vampires— immensely powerful “millennials” who have lived more than a thousand years— to infiltrate and destroy the Nazis. Brilliant and beautiful millennial Brigit is loath to go, for it means leaving behind her vampire lover Eamon, whom she made eight centuries ago. But go she must; her powers are needed if the mission is to have any chance of success.
As the millennials attempt to penetrate and sabotage Hitler’s armies, they discover that the Nazis are more capable and more monstrous than they’d ever imagined. Forced to take bolder, more dangerous steps, they soon attract the attention of specially trained vampire hunters loyal to Hitler and his vision of a vampire-free world. Exposed, deep inside enemy territory, with vicious Nazi officers and hunters at her heels, Brigit must attempt a daring escape from the Continent, guarding precious cargo that marks the only hope of salvaging their mission.
Tired of the usual vampire fare? Love books rich in history and atmosphere? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then The Midnight Guardian is most definitely for you! You can’t wade through urban fantasy titles without tripping over vampires, so when I find a book that takes the subject matter and turns it on its ear a bit, I get very excited. I’m also a sucker for historical fiction, so discovering this series was very much a pleasure. The Midnight Guardian is told in third person, going back and forth from the Millennials in 1938 Germany to Brigit, one of the most powerful of the group, in 1940. The Millennials are trying to bring the Nazi’s down from the inside, ostensibly to preserve their food supply, but make no mistake, these aren’t your traditional vampires. They live by honor, and do not kill for pleasure, but only so that they may live. As vampires that are thousands of years old, they’ve used their lives to educate and enrich themselves, and also live their un-lifes to the very fullest. They also form very, very strong bonds, and the love between Eamon and his maker, Brigit, is one of the most passionate love affairs that you’ll ever read about, spanning thousands of years. They are bound to each other in body and spirit, and it’s Eamon’s strength, and song, that help Brigit through the most perilous part of her mission, safely getting two Jewish children from Germany to England via train, with hunters on her heels, and Nazis out to destroy them.
What I really enjoyed about Ms. Stratford’s vampires is they realize that their vulnerability lies in the fact that they need humans, but humans certainly do not need them. They also embrace some of the most wonderful parts of humanity: passion, love, and honor. Aside from the adventure at hand, we also discover Brigit’s origins and also the pasts of a few of the other group members, such as Eamon and Mors. Ahhh, Mors. Trust me ladies, this will be one vampire that you’ll want to get to know better, and I’m really hoping we’ll get more time with him in the next book. The Midnight Guardian was mainly Brigit’s story, though, and it was a fascinating one, blending adventure with rich period detail, as well as personal loss and love. Brigit is fierce folks. Think flames-shooting-out-of-her-eyes fierce, so if it’s a tough as nails heroine you’re looking for, look no further! The author certainly doesn’t shy away from violence, and there are a few scenes of carnage that will make your toes curl, but don’t worry, you won’t lose much sleep, since the violence is mostly perpetrated on large groups of Nazis. I’ve heard this series compared to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s historical vampire series, and if that’s the case, I’m in. Lush, vivid, and romantic, history and fantasy lovers alike will find something to love in The Midnight Guardian!