There I was doing a little birthday shopping in my local bookshop when I happened across this little number. As I liked the cover (I’m a big fan of judging a book by it’s cover) and having not read anything by Mr Newman before I thought I’d give it a go. And I’m glad I did. Set in an alternate Victorian England where Dracula is Prince consort to Queen Victoria and vampires are commonplace throughout society. The year is 1888 and the infamous Jack the Ripper is beginning his grisly work – but this time he’s praying solely on vampire ladies.
Given the furore Jack is causing in London’s East end we have the police on the case and are introduced to our erstwhile hero, Charles Beauregard. He doesn’t have an official government role but instead reports directly to the Diogenes Club, something of a forerunner for MI5, which bypasses the usual way of doing things in preference of cloak and dagger and ‘need to know’. Charles Beauregard, is something of a classic English gent (much along the lines of a Victorian 007) whilst Dracula, his minions and the East End’s criminal population are suitably cruel and inhuman. Last to be thrown into the mix is Genevieve Deudonne, a 400 year old vampire elder in the body of a teenage girl, who is currently living a respectable life and working as a doctor in the East End and eventually comes to the aid of Beauregard.
I thought the writing was spot on given the period and subject that he is writing about and the story clips along at a good pace. Something I wasn’t quite sure about is Newman’s habit of dropping in as many historical names (both fictional and real) as he can into his re-imagined Victorian England which I found to be a little confusing at times as some names were familiar and so had me wondering whether i’d missed something earlier on or left me pondering why the name seemed familiar. Overall though a good vampire story that makes me hungry for a little more…
- Anno Dracula ~ The Best Vampire Novel In Three Decades? (lilywight.com)