Esther Blanchett is a lowly nun in service to the Vatican. After she met Father Abel Nightroad in Istvan, she left Istvan and became one of the Vatican's travelling agents, along with Father Abel, who, unbeknownst to most of the world, is sort of an anti-vampire known as a Crusnik- actually a vampire who feeds on other vampires.
Now returned to Istvan, Esther is seen as a "Saint" by a wide variety of people, and it seems that the local ArchBishop, D'Annunzio, is behind the movement to have Esther made a living saint for her role in overcoming the Vampire who wished to destroy Istvan because the people of the town killed the vampire woman that he loved.
But D'Annunzio finds that having a live saint is rather problematical. You see, since Esther has been travelling inside the vampire states, she has found that most vampires are no better and no worse than human people, except for differences in diet, and the Vampire Empress, Seth, is actually a wonderful woman. But D'Annunzio wants the Pope dead, his sister, Caterina Sforza, dead, and a ruler on the Human throne who is ready to declare a Holy War on the Vampires and kill them- no matter the damage that the vampires would do to the humans.
To that end, he has imported his own vampire, a woman named Schera, and is keeping her close retainers imprisoned so that she will do as he says. She showed up to kill Esther, but ended up "kidnapping" her instead. Once Esther found out what was really going on, she sided with Schera and is trying to fight against the forces of D'Annunzio. But he has put it about that Schera has hypnotized her to the regular people of Istvan, while sending out his own troops to kill she and Schera both.
Now, he unleashes his plans against the Pope and Caterina S'forza, telling them that he will kill them all- the Pope, and his two siblings, who have made the Vatican dance to their tune. Caterina says that he will never get away with killing her and her brother, but he plans to have Schera kill them.
Soon, Schera and Esther show up, and Schera finds out that D'Annunzio lied to her, he killed her friends and retainers as soon as he had them. He'd promised to let them go free if Schera killed the Pope and his sister, the Cardinal, but he lied.
Instead, Schera and Esther attack the Archbishop's troops, but they shoot her down, and the sunlight falls upon her. D'Annunzio attacks Schera while Esther pleads with everyone to stop, but then, Father Abel shows up, and along with him, Father Petros and Father Tres, and a firefight starts that ends up with the soldiers destroyed and the Archbishop's scheme exposed.
But Schera forces Esther to kill her to avert the war that will occur between the vampire states and the Vatican otherwise. Though it breaks Esther's hear to do so, she kills Schera, who was her friend, The ArchBishop's attache, who betrayed him to the Vatican, congratulates her on her aim, but she is unable to move, staring at Schera's body.
Soon after, we see Caterina Sforza in her office. Esther has become an international celebrity, so much so that she is to be second only to the Pope in her bodyguard. Bishop D'Annunzio is dead of poison in his cell, probably killed by the Inquisition to keep the news of what really happened from getting out.
Abel is assigned to keep watch over Esther until they can assemble a special bodyguard for her, but as Caterina Sforza collapses, coughing up blood, and Father Abel calls for Doctors, Esther is in the cemetary, putting roses on Schera's grave. She promises Schera that, as a Saint, she is going to use her influence and power to fix what is wrong with the world.
Meanwhile, a child called Cain regains consciousness... and asks Abel what kind of a world he wants.
Another excellent volume in the Trinty Blood series. Esther is continuing to grow, and I have a feeling that she will end up being more than a Saint by the end of the series, and that she will, indeed, change the world.
But who is Cain, and does this have anything to do with the whole "Cain and Abel" being murderous siblings? And Seth is/was the third child or third son of Adam and Eve. Given that Abel works for the church, and Cain slew him, does that mean that Cain will end up being another Crusnik and killing Abel?
I can't wait to see what happens in the series. Each of the characters is so interesting in their own right, and the way they interact is lovely- often turning your expectations of how they will feel or act on their heads, but never in a way that leaves you feeling that the characters are acting out of character. Highly recommended, both the series and the characters.