Fun facts: Many of the names in these books are names of my friends. Ray Pental is a cop in real life and one of the best comedic actors I've ever seen. Andy Sutton is actually Randy Sutton, a hero cop who also "treads the boards" from time to time. Neil Yoskin is not a professor, but rather an environmental lawyer and my tennis partner; and his then-girlfriend, Cinda, is now his wife. Bobby Johnson is a university director of admissions, once in Alabama and now in Georgia. However, his sub-plot in the novel actually happened at a university in Chicago.
Several critics have written that the sequel to The Book of Common Dread is as good as or better than the original. Actually, I conceived of them both at once, but a single novel would have rivaled War and Peace. In BotC, I had to backfill a bit for the reader who had not begun with The Book of Common Dread; but the pace really picks up as protagonists Simon Penn and Frederika Vanderveen (named Frederika after one of my favorite singers, Frederika Von Stade, to whom I gave a copy of Satan's Serenade) flee to Europe to find one of the few men who can translate the Akkadian scrolls and bring their dire prophecy to light. In the first novel, Frederika had been hypnotized and fed an ersatz formula of the life-prolonging powder taken by vampires, and she willingly continues (needing to drink human blood as well) to "fight fire with fire." Pursuing them both is the world's oldest vampire: the most amoral, vicious of his kind. Even the Vatican gets involved, with an ex-cop turned ancient scroll expert.
Critical praise for The Blood of the Covenant:
"Chilling, thrilling…" USA Today
"Monahan succeeds admirably at producing an intelligent page-turner and a vampire yarn with as much originality as you may reasonably expect at this point in the history of the subgenre." Booklist
"A heaven-sent vampire novel set in Princeton University, sequel to the smartly amusing The Book of Common Dread, which featured a 500-year-old, piano-playing bloodsucker whose great love was Bach…Vampire vitamins for the intelligently bloodthirsty." Kirkus Reviews
"The adventure and intrigue here are well done and fast paced." Library Journal
"Monahan has borrowed extensively from the vampiric traditions but has added enough of his own invention, including making them servants of Satan, to produce a new and exciting mythos. There is more lively fun in these books than in the entire gloom drenched, self-serious oeuvre of Anne Rice & her ilk. They make for diverting escapist fare." BrothersJudddotcom