This is Darrien laMoridrus -- at least, that is the name he goes by at present. A member of the nobility and a great socialite, he is also the most powerful vampire to arise in the north in three hundred years. In secret, he is the head of an extensive clan of lesser vampires and dhampirs, all loyal servants to him who fear and love his power. At the same time, Darrien moves among the high society of humans with none the wiser to his undead nature, and outside the walls of cities and the "little Courts" his family preys on vulnerable humans nightly. Darrien himself spreads his influence among the elite with money, whispers, and subtle exercises of inhuman power. He is not your peace-loving, vegetarian Twilight vampire. He is a killer. He is a predator. His power is built on secrets and slaves. Moving with impossible grace, speaking polite words backed with a wicked intelligence, he masterfully manipulates humans and minions alike. His enemies often go their whole lives never realizing who it is that they oppose -- and those lives are typically short. The activities of the bats and wolves are of little concern to those who plot within thick stone walls, as only human ears could carry tales of their plans to where it could destroy them. And, of course, everyone knows that young people are terribly anxious to seek their fortunes on a larger stage, so when the occasional fair-featured maiden or virile youth disappears from the village below the Little Court . . .