On the eve of World War I, a couple fights to rescue their daughter from a vampire’s clutches.
Lydia Asher is struggling to finish writing an article about radium and dealing with her tiresome relatives when she learns that her baby daughter, Miranda, has been abducted. The kidnapper is Lionel Grippen, the master vampire of London, who forces Lydia to find the lair of Damien Zahorec, a rival vampire recently arrived from Eastern Europe. Grippen, who has been a vampire since 1555, has killed upward of 30,000 people over the centuries, and he considers one more life nothing but a means to defeat his rival. Lydia summons her husband, James, home from Venice and begs help from Don Simon Ysidro, a vampire who’s made himself her lover in the dreams and illusions he creates in her mind. While Ysidro, Lydia and James search for Zahorec’s lairs and for various editions of The Book of the Kindred of Darkness, an American mine baron is buying up copies for a sinister plan involving his own daughter. In a quest that takes them from the depths of old Roman baths to a fortress built on a remote Scottish crag, James and Lydia are pitted against an even more powerful vampire. Avowed series hero James (Magistrates of Hell, 2012, etc.) is more pallid a character than his centuries-old quarry, and his Oxford-educated, scientifically minded wife is too vain to wear her glasses even when she’s hunting vampires in the dark.
Although Hambly’s fans may enjoy returning to her carefully constructed and lavishly detailed world, the uninitiated may be less enthralled.