Vittorio is sixteen in 1450, when his entire family and everyone in his father's castle and the surrounding villages is killed by a groups of demons and he swears he will find a way to avenge their deaths. Ursula is among the demons and is, in fact, the one who spares his life. This is hardly the gift it might seem, as Vittorio sets out to learn more about these creatures. Ursula's developed feelings for the young man and he soon feels the same, a diversion he doesn't really need. Having convinced a pair of angels to assist him in wiping out this nest of vampires (a name he's not familiar with at the time), Vittorio gets his vengeance but finds himself unable to kill the woman who twice saved his life. When she repays his gratitude by turning him into one of them, he begins to live a life he finds loathsome - and it gets worse.
For the second time, I've picked up a Rice novel that doesn't require any knowledge of the rest of her books. This is probably a double-edged sword, because I don't get the feeling that this book represents the best Rice has to offer but, on the other hand, I do like that I can read it without feeling lost.
I did have a hard time buying Vittorio's feelings for Ursula. He knows she was among the group who killed his loved ones, he clearly doesn't value his own life now and is willing to die to avenge those deaths - so why he would feel gratitude that she saved his life is beyond me. Worthy of the short time it takes to read and FAR better than that Tuscan Sun book, Vittorio's story is far more human a tale than you might expect.