Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Hide Me Among the Graves

Hide Me Among the Graves
Oh, my, this was fun!

Hide Me Among the Graves is a new novel by Tim Powers and a distant sequel to his The Stress of Her Regard, which was first published in 1990. The Stress of Her Regard is apparently about Keats, Byron, Shelley -- and vampires! (I say "apparently" because I haven't read it yet, but you can be sure I will.)

Hide Me Among the Graves takes us into another generation of vampire hunting. This time the chief bad guys are the spirits of John Polidori and Boudica. (Polidori was Byron's personal physician and the author of the short story that helped to inspire Dracula. Boudica was 1st century British female warrior who led an uprising against the Romans.) The vampire hunters are veterinarian John Crawford (who is also a main character in The Stress of Her Regard) and former prostitute Adelaide McKee. Other significant characters include Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, poet Algernon Charles Swinburne, and author/adventurer Edward Trelawny. And there's where the fun begins.

I found the shenanigans of the Rossettis' totally convincing, given what little I know about them. One of the most well-known acts in Dante Gabriel's life was his romantic burial of the only copies of his poems in the grave of his wife. Some years later, he changed his mind and had her dug up so he could get them back. This book actually presents Rossetti in a more favorable light than history does. And I totally believe that Algernon Swinburne would have sold his soul to write better poetry. Oh, yeah!

Other than that, the book has us wandering through the streets and sewers of Victorian London, and the action gets pretty exciting and scary at times -- I actually found myself biting my fingers. A terrific read that I highly recommend.

(Now I just have to find a copy of The Stress of Her Regard.)

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