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Demons from the subcontinent threaten Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Actress Benson (Tara on Buffy the Vampire Slayer) teams up with journeyman horror novelist Golden (The Boys Are Back in Town, 2004, etc.) in this hefty, hormone-stuffed novel, likely the first of a series. Based on the BBC Web series, the story is set in Victorian London, where siblings William and Tamara Swift are young magicians charged with guarding England from the forces of evil and keeping watch over the ancient magic in their domicile Ludlow House. It’s a nice sort of place, if you don’t mind the ghosts of a lustful Lord Byron and the flagrantly naked and combative Celtic warrior queen Bodicea, not to mention the body of their father, chained to a chair upstairs, likely dead and possessed by the spirit of a malevolent demon. With all this going on, William and Tamara still find ways to stay focused. The somewhat priggish William is busy courting the strong-willed Sophia, which involves a lot of impassioned necking, while Tamara writes under a pseudonym and longs after the rakish John Haversham. Meanwhile, dark things are stirring along the river wharfs and East End slums, where women—mostly Indian—are being forcibly impregnated and giving birth to loathsome creatures. Also, a number of reptilian beasts skulking in the dark are murdering any who cross their path. If this were a job for only William and Tamara, the Queen might be in some trouble, as they are still young and haven’t perfected their magic. Fortunately, they have a number of well-meaning ghosts—as well as one deadly handsome vampire Tamara had a thing for—on their side.

Demons, bodice-ripping passion and some good old murky London gloom; all one can ask for in a dark night’s reading.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-345-47130-X
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2005


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