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The Fall: Book Two of the Strain Trilogy    by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan order for
by Guillermo Del Toro
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2010 (2010)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Fall follows The Strain as the second in a gory, blood-chilling trilogy by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan - a War of the Worlds fight between man and soulless vampire. Humans are being Turned by a virus into voracious alien beings with no humanity left in them.

The first episode introduced readers to Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, head of a rapid response team of epidemiologists. His team included his romantic interest and on the job partner, Dr. Nora Martinez. As they became aware that the virus represented a total extinction threat to humanity, key allies joined them - elderly Abraham Setrakian who first met an ancient vampire, the Master, in Treblinka; exterminator Vasiliy Fet; and young hoodlum Gus Elizalde. As The Strain ended, the Master flew in from Eurpope in opposition to New World vampires, Ancients who intend to recruit Gus to their cause as a daylight hunter of their enemies.

The Fall opens on Ephraim's diary which begins with the dire statements that 'It took the world just sixty days to end ... Parasites and demons are everywhere ... we roam the outlands in search of a miracle.' The good guys are close to despair. Eph's ex-wife Kelly, who was Turned in the first episode, now stalks their eleven-year-old son Zachary, who is with his dad. Will she succeed? Setrakian has become aware of an ancient volume coming up for auction, Occido Lumen (1667), a 'compleat account of the first rise of the Strigoi'. He believes the book to be humanity's only hope of vanquishing the enemy.

Rich and powerful Eldritch Palmer, who has long been the Master's ally, demands his reward - to be Turned himself. Will he get what he deserves? The story moves forward, interspersed with vampire slaying action that doesn't let up, with flashbacks to Setrakian's previous exploits against the strigoi, and with entries from Fet's Blog. Eph attempts to send Nora and Zack out of the city to safety, but of course that doesn't end well. And a new ally joins Eph's team, an ex-wrestler, once a celebrity called the Silver Angel. He battled every form of vampire in the ring - until a knee injury ended his career.

As The Fall ends, Setrakian has paid a high price to acquire Occido Lumen; Eph has learned of Zack and Nora's failure to leave the city; the Master's plans to create a nuclear winter are coming to fruition; and humanity seems doomed ... 'The Night Eternal had begun.' I can hardly wait to see what trials Ephraim Goodweather and friends face in the third book, The Night Eternal. If you're looking for Halloween reading, this is a seriously spooky series. Don't miss it!

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