In Conner's alternate 1930, a lethal hemorrhagic fever (known as Hun for its supposed origins in the German trenches of 1918) has repeatedly swept the world, leaving few white survivors; oddly, black Africans are wholly immune. In Milltown, Minn., white press photographer Danny Constantine accidentally captures on film a murder in which the victim appears to have been drained of blood; the killer seems to be a blond woman—but someone else stood by, watching. Black detective sergeant Dooley Willson proves none too impressed with Constantine's vampire theories. Meanwhile, a mystery woman calling herself the Archangel broadcasts inspirational messages and music from a pirate radio station. And, at a wealthy nearby clinic, brilliant, mesmerizing, but creepy physician Simon Gray has found that massive blood transfusions from black donors can keep white Hun victims alive. But Gray also conducts horrid experiments in secret: Indeed, Constantine suspects that Gray has created vampires, able to pump their victims' blood directly into their own veins. Certainly Gray has made dark deals with both the KKK and local black gangster Theo Rostek. But Constantine can't figure out the hold Gray has over his attractive, rich patient Selena Crockett. Could she be the vampire killer? And who is the Archangel? More horror than science fiction. Chills aside, the basic premise will make many readers uncomfortable. Still, despite some problems with plot credibility, an intriguing and inventive hardcover debut.
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