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I have a burning need to know stuff and I love asking awkward questions.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Just Finished Reading: A Coldness in the Blood by Fred Saberhagen (FP: 2002)

Matthew Maule was old enough to have known better. After all 500 years is long enough to learn that letting a nervous millennia old vampire into your apartment is never going to end well. Waking from a psychically induced sleep he soon learns the error of his way. With a deal alchemist to deal with and a missing vampire to find he would have enough to deal with without the mystery of exactly what happened during the lost two hours. With a mysterious ancient statue crushed to dust and talk of finding a long hidden Philosophers Stone Matthew has his work cut out for him especially when he finds out that he is far from alone in the quest business. In fact the field is positively overflowing with groups and the odd, indeed very odd, Supernatural creature in search of an object of ultimate power with the ability to transmute lead into gold as its least valuable attribute. Matthew is not alone though. He can call on human allies from families he has sheltered and helped over the centuries. Only they and a few select others know his true identity – Vlad Tepes, known to the world as Dracula.

I’ve been missing the vampire genre of late so threw this into the mix in my ‘random 10’ I’m working through presently. I discovered that this is actually the last book in the Dracula series by this author – I’ve read the first one some years ago – but that didn’t really make much difference. There’s no problem at all reading this as a stand-alone volume. Some reference is made to previous adventures but not enough to distract from the story at hand and although the overall story progresses at a pedestrian pace there’s still plenty going on to keep you turning pages. Maule/Dracula himself is far more affable and friendly than in some of his other books and despite being far from sinister is still interesting enough to want to know more about him. Likewise some of his opponents, both vampiric and otherwise, have interesting back stories leaving much to be explored still. Indeed the author manages to bring out both the horrific and the tragic aspects of the main ‘bad guy’ so that you feel sorry for him/it at the same time you’re wishing for his demise.

Whilst not exactly a great work of literature or even, for that matter, a great Vampire novel, it managed to keep me interested through almost 400 pages of text which must mean something. Worth picking up if you fancy some Vampire action but don’t have much energy to commit to the task. Reasonable.  


Mudpuddle said...

i once worked through a long series of FS's Sword books: they were as described above, interesting and addictive, but not great lit... still, i think he's a good writer who achieved a respected in the sf world...

CyberKitten said...

Yes, I have a great fondness for his Berserker series.

Brian Joseph said...

Great review.

This sounds very entertaining. I have not read many vampire books other then the original Dracula. With that, I understand and share some of the fascination with vampires.

I like your concept of 'random 10".

CyberKitten said...

@ Brian: The idea of Vampires is quite fascinating. Thankfully though they're fictional!

For a while now I've been trying to be more organised in my reading rather than just lazily reaching for the book on the top of the nearest pile. So I starting reading in batches of 10 (fiction) with a theme. Occasionally, just to mix things up and keep things fresh, I throw in a 10 pile without any theme - hence my 'Random 10'. BTW - The next 10 will be Hard Case, Hard Boiled Crime novels.