Book review: The Hierophant’s Daughter, by M.F. Sullivan

Sullivan, M.F. The Hierophant’s Daughter. Painted Blind Publishing. 2019. $14.99. 298p. PB. 9780996539579

In the distant future, most of the world is run by martyrs, humans modified by an alien genetics whose strengths and weaknesses resemble those of vampires. Led by the Hierophant and his Holy Family, the martyrs control nearly all of the planet – and they have their eyes set on both. Dominia di Mephitoli, former martyr General and Governess – and member of the Holy Family – must flee the United Front and make her way through hostile human territory to find Lazarus, a mysterious mystic rumored to possess the power to raise the dead. Pursued by her former Family, Dominia will stop at nothing to return her wife to life.

M.F. Sullivan creates a very detailed world in The Hierophant’s Daughter. Her take on the vampire concept is fresh and original, even among those works that integrate that mythos into a science-fiction setting. The sci-fi and vampire themes don’t clash, and Sullivan deftly weaves them together to both entertain and provide commentary on current events. Her characters are complex, even the villainous Holy Family, and the ending unlocks new mysteries for the rest of the series to explore.

The Hierophant’s Daughter is highly recommended for fans of speculative fiction, detailed world-building, and alternate takes on vampire mythology. The novel is the first in a trilogy; the second, The General’s Bride, comes out in August of this year, and the final installment will be released in 2020. To tide readers over until then, the last 20 pages of this novel are devoted to a timeline of this alternate history, detailing the events that lead to the rise of the Hierophant and his martyrs.

Glen Benedict

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