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Literature / Human (2015)

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Human Book Cover
Published in 2015 by S.M. Carrière, Human is the first in a series of novels intended to share an urban fantasy setting in which Opyri are ruled by the Shadow Council and generally hide their existence from humanity. The plot is kicked off by an object lesson in why this is the way things are done. After House Ustrel is wiped out by hunters, Aleksander, head of House Svetoslav is sent to the new world, tasked with absorbing their assets and bringing the territories of the annihilated House back into the fold, per the orders of the vampiric Shadow Council. But what dangers await in America, waiting for the Prince of House Svetoslav? Entanglement with the police in the form of Officer Alicia Wilde was certainly not one he'd anticipated.Detective Stephen Brody never expected the evil to whom he'd lost his daughter to return after House Ustrel was destroyed, but now Aleksander Svetoslav, heir-apparent has arrived from Europe to take the reins of the corporate holdings of the House in hand. What dark past is this nightstalker hiding, and what game is he playing? Stephen Brody is determined to find out and expose it. He never expected to have to partner with one of the very monsters he's sworn to stop, in an effort to stop a lurking menace which threatens the entire city.

Human provides examples of:

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  • A Father to His Men: Aleksander Svetoslav is this to the Opyri of House Svetoslav and also the humans of the House's mundane holdings. This is demonstrated quickly once they begin the absorption of the former holdings of House Ustrel.
  • Eagleland: Stoyan (an ancient Opyri from Europe) buys Brendan a baseball and glove, on the assumption that Brendan is an American and so must enjoy playing catch.
  • Masquerade: Called for by the Shadow Council, they dictate to the various Opyri Houses how to handle larger affairs impacting all the Opyri, and make rulings on what's to be done in inter-House disputes. Their stance is that it is better for the Opyri to conceal their nature from humanity at large, though people of the old country understand that there's value in heeding the old superstitions.
  • Monster Progenitor: The Opyri are all descended from the first fifteen vampires — who are known as the Nosphoros by their spawn. Their origin is from having been cursed by a witch in ancient times, but having tricked the demon to whom their souls belonged to grant them freedom from aging and incredible strength.
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  • Our Vampires Are Different: They call themselves Opyri, predate Christianity, and as such don't care one way or the other about crosses. Sunlight burns, as do artificial UV lights. Blessed water still burns them, though it doesn't matter what tradition the water is blessed under, so long as it's actually been blessed. Stakes composed of certain particular wood are excruciatingly painful and bring paralysis, even if the heart is missed. The fifteen original were titled the Nosphoros, and look like horrid corpses, with their fangs where the incisors (the two front teeth) are supposed to be. Also the Nosphoros pass pestilence with their bite, so if you are fed upon it's nearly certain to be a death sentence no matter how much they take, and being turned doesn't guarantee you survive the virulence of their original bite. While the Opyri bite can be dangerous, the pestilence is not nearly so strong as in their progenitors'.
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  • Papa Wolf: Detective Stephen Brody is a hair's breadth from instead being an adoptive Knight Templar Parent to his junior partner, Officer Alicia Wilde. This stems from his daughter having been a victim of House Ustrel. Stoyan has shades of this too.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Averted? Stoyan calls the trope by name when it's noted that he participated in a tea party. Wearing a tiara. That he calls the trope out shows that he does feel a need to defend his masculinity to others.
  • Too Dumb to Live: House Ustrel, the entirety of which seems to have been wiped out by hunters due to their flagrant and ostentatious corruption and general lack of efforts to hide their nature from the humans in their mundane holdings.

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