I can thank Buffy the Vampire Slayer for getting me in touch with Christopher Golden, who is one of my closest friends and biggest supporters.
In 1997, Pocket Books decided to launch a line of BtVS books, starting with Richie Tankersley Cusick's novelization of the premiere episode. (Cusick had also written the novelization of the film five years earlier.) It was followed by Halloween Rain, the first-ever original BtVS novel, written by Christopher Golden and Nancy Holder. Because I watched and enjoyed the show, I naturally wanted to sink my teeth into the new books as well.
After reading Golden's Slayer stories, I looked him up at the bookstore and at the library to see if he had written anything else. He had. His first novel, Of Saints and Shadows, had been released just a few years earlier. It too was about vampires. In fact, it was the first volume in trilogy.* Intrigued, I drifted into Shadows and didn't emerge until I was finished.
*Years later, he wrote and released a fourth Octavian book, The Gathering Dark. Though it's definitely a continuation of the trilogy, I feel as though it can also be read independently of the series. The Gathering Dark is actually my favorite book in The Shadow Saga. I swear it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm in it.
As I stated in an earlier post, The Shadow Saga contains what Buffy Summers would describe as "violence, strong language, adult content." These books are intense, frightening, and, let me say it again, dark. They discuss vampirism, life, death, immortality, magick, and religion. They are not for children. They are for anyone who likes vampire tales.
The order of publication is as follows:
- Of Saints and Shadows
- Angel Souls and Devil Hearts
- Of Masques and Martyrs
- The Gathering Dark
Golden has stated repeatedly that he'd like to write more books in the Saga. If and when he does, I'll be first in line to read them. The people who saw me the day The Gathering Dark came out can testify to that.
Golden wrote many, many BtVS/Angel novels and comics. The Gatekeeper Trilogy, co-authored with Nancy Holder, was an impressive undertaking. Golden detailed the dark pasts of the villains and of the Watchers Council in the historical novel Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row. I loved the serial novel The Lost Slayer, the premise and setting of which allowed Golden free reign. There's a very special place in my heart for Monster Island, the first-ever BtVS/Angel crossover novel, which Golden wrote with Thomas E. Sniegoski.
I could go on and on, but I'll sum it up like this: Golden has proved time and time again that he not only understands but respects the worlds which others create and into which he is invited, such as the Slayerverse. Better still, when his imagination is allowed to run freely in his original stories such as The Shadow Saga, Strangewood, and The Boys are Back in Town, you never know what he'll create - but you know it's going to be good.
Learn more about Christopher Golden, The Shadow Saga, and Golden's BtVS/Angel novels.
If you've yet to read any Golden books and are looking through his backlist of 100+ releases, please allow me to suggest where to start.
Check out the serial interview with Christopher Golden.
Take a ride on the :01 First Second vampiric litblog tour.