I never quite understood how come my friends loved the Lasombra so much. I mean, OK, they're manipulative (lots of vampires are), they're nasty (the Tzimisce are worse), they've got Obtenebration (which is cool, but there are cooler disciplines out there)... so?
The answer is simple: they've got style.
They are refined, Machiavellian monsters. They are truly the dark nobility of Kindred society. And this is something the Clanbook illustrates very well. The whole book is a narrative in first person, from an elder instructing a neonate in the ways of the Lasombra.
As usual, Chapter One of the Clanbook is a short story. Good, but not outstanding; it does a pretty good job of setting the mood for the book.
Chapter Two is about the history of Clan Lasombra, from Ancient Rome to the modern nights. Don Ibrahim of Marrakesh is a good teacher, though quite biased (well, aren't all Clanbooks biased?); it's good prose, and the "lessons" the Don mentions give good insight on Lasombra attitude.
But the jewel of the book is Chapter Three, "An Evening At The Feet Of Don Miguel". This chapter details unlife among the Lasombra, their take on the World of Darkness and its other denizens, the Jyhad, and so on. It also describes some interesting new Merits and Flaws, and new powers of Obtenebration (a bit too powerful for my tastes, actually, but not bad), mixed with information on Lasombra psychology as it relates to darkness and the lack of reflection, under the heading of "Dr. Fatima Saieed's Notes On Psychology And Other Matters".
The seven character templates are among the best, second only to Clanbook: Giovanni in my humble opinion. And the unavoidable rogues' gallery at the end of the book has a couple of interesting characters.
The book is a great read, and I think it's a must for anyone playing a Lasombra or running a Sabbat chronicle. Even if you do neither, you might like this book, because it's so darn well-written. Kudos to Richard Dansky and Elizabeth Ditchburn for an excellent book.
Style: 4 (Classy and well done)