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Melding the supernatural and the historical, a thrilling novel of vampires set in the Napoleonic wars. In June 1812, Napoleon's massive grande arm?e began its invasion of Russia, and the imperial Russian army, massively outnumbered and out maneuvered, was forced to retreat. But a handful of Russian officers - veterans of Borodino - are charged with trying to slow the enemy's inexorable march on Moscow. Helping them is a band of mercenaries from the outermost fringes of Christian Europe, known as the Oprichniki - twelve in number - who arrive amidst rumours of plague travelling west from the Black Sea. Preferring to work alone, and at night, the twelve prove brutally, shockingly, effective against the French. But one amongst the Russians, Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, is unnerved by the Oprichniki's ruthlessness. As he comes to understand the horrific nature of these strangers, he wonders at the nightmare they've unleashed in their midst.