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Twelve (Danilov Quintet) [Kindle Edition]

Jasper Kent
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On 12th June 1812, Napoleon's Grande Armee forded the River Niemen and crossed the Rubicon - its invasion of Russia had begun. Charged with delaying the enemy's inexorable march on Moscow, a group of Russian officers summon the help of the oprichniki, a band of mercenaries from the outermost fringes of Christian Europe.

As rumours of a plague travelling west from the Black Sea reach the Russians, the Oprichniki - twelve in number - arrive. Preferring to work alone, and at night, they prove brutally, shockingly effective against the French. But one amongst the Russians, Captain Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, is unnerved by the mercenaries' ruthlessness...and as he comes to understand the true, horrific nature of these strangers, he wonders at the nightmare they've unleashed in their midst...

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"An accomplished, entertaining blend of historical fiction and dark fantasy" (Lisa Tuttle THE TIMES)

"A fantastical blend of historical novel and supernatural chiller." (DEATHRAY magazine)

"Sharpeski ditches Napoleon to fight the undead...good vampire-hunting fun for a winter's evening." (SFX magazine)

"Packed with thrills and witty dialogue, Twelve also boasts rich historical insight and compelling storytelling. A compulsively readable adventure." (WATERSTONES BOOKS QUARTERLY magazine)

Book Description

Melding the supernatural and the historical, a skin-tinglingly exciting novel of vampires in the Napoleonic wars

Product details

More About the Author

Jasper Kent was born in Worcestershire, England in 1968. He attended King Edward's School, Birmingham and went on to study Natural Sciences at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, specialising in physics.

Jasper has spent over twenty years working as a software consultant and trainer in the UK and Europe, whilst also working on writing both fiction and music. In that time, he has written the novels Twelve, Thirteen Years Later, The Third Section, The People's Will, The Last Oprichnik, Yours Etc., Mr Sunday and Sifr. In addition he has produced the short stories The Sergeant and the General and Ben, the play Beside the Kitchen Table as well as co-writing several musicals, including Writer's Cramp, Malvolio's Revenge, The Promised Land and Remember! Remember!

He lives in Brighton (well, Hove, actually) with five rats called Peri, Branwell, Currer, Ellis and Acton, a dog called Bilbo and a person called Helen.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great but lacking the fear factor 14 Jan. 2012
Twelve is a 'horror' story set during the 1800s in Russia. To save Russia from the advances of Napoleon four men call on a group of 12 vicious killers who they believe will help them to defeat the whole of Bonaparte's army. They do not realise what they are unleashing on the Russia that they love so much.

I really enjoyed this book although it was not at all what I had expected. It is not really fast paced enough to be described as a horror. Instead it examines the nature of war and of the justifications that people give for acts of war. The author plays out these themes against the background of the fighting against Napoleon and the horrific actions of the 12 'saviours'. It really made me think about how we condone some acts in the name of fighting for our country but the same acts out of that context are horrifying. On a number of occasions in the book the main character was struck by the hypocrisy that even he was guilty of when condoning and condemning people for acts committed in life and in war.

My only criticism of the book would be that it lacked suspense and pace at times. The story had some great twists and turns that kept me guessing all the way through with a real surprise right at the end but it really didn't keep me turning the pages with any urgency.

I would recommend this book for anybody who likes a book that makes you think both about the way people think and act and also that keeps you guessing. I would suggest that people after a traditional 'horror' move on to a Dean R Koontz or Stephen King as this really lacks the fear factor!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top notch historical horror 22 April 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
There seems to be an insatiable demand for both vampire's and historical fiction at the moment so to combine the two genres has the potential to be a real winner or possibly fall in between the two and miss both potential reader groups.

Happily this book is the former, in fact I don't ever remember reading a vampire/ horror that I have ever enjoyed as much.

Set during Napoleon's bloody advance and subsequent retreat into Russia and featuring a gang of mercenary vampires this had the potential to be a real 'gore fest'. However the author resisted such obvious temptation and instead serves up a multi-layered story of war, friendship, betrayal, mixed loyalties, cruelty and love. All told with a deft, restrained and subtle hand.

It is the pacing of the story that sets it apart from other 'horrors'. One minute your fending off a set of gnashers from your throat then you reclining in a whore house discussing philosophy before than finding yourself creeping through a musty cellar looking for coffins!. That and the authentic feeling historical background and Russian culture.

Jasper Kent's Vampires are fairly tradional and somewhat mundane, he doesn't gift them any new super powers or make them super charismatic and as a result they are all the more believable and you kind of feel if Vampires did excist they would be like the ones brought to life (or perhaps undeath) here.

Cleverly the author tells the story not from the point of view of the vampires themselves (ala Lestat) but from a Russian soldier/intelligence officer forced into working with them against the French. An engaging believable hero who you will like, be frustrated with and fear for, and who will achieve his main purpose of pulling you totally into this excellent story.

Great stuff Jasper Kent, a book crying out to made into a film and an author to watch out for.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 1, 2, 3 zzzzzzzzz 29 Dec. 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The rule is never judge a book by the cover, the cover of this book looks great. I bought the book because it was about vampires although oddly enough the term vampire is not used on the front of the book or the synopsis at the rear.

I found the book tough to read and expected more vampire carnage than it gave. The book is more history than vampire/horror/fantasy. I thought the concept could have been good but the vampire element was lacking.

I expect vampires to have a menace about them however boredom was more of a threat. The story was very slow and the characters underwhelming.

I wanted to like the novel especially as there are going to be another four in the series but the pace of the novel was painful.

If you want an historical account of Napoleon invading Russia in the Nineteenth century then this is a must read.

If on the other hand you want blood and gore try Brian Lumley (by far the best vampire writer).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Winning combination 28 Jun. 2011
How can you lose with a plot like this, Vampires during Napoleons invasion of Russia!
There were times when i thought that Jasper Kent was going to screw this up, the first few chapters were a little on the slow side and there were a few places where the pace of the plot got bogged down, but in the main this was a good read, dark, moody, full of menace, palpable cold from the frozen wastes of Russia, i think the author has a real love for this time and place, but im not so sure about the vampires, at times there was a real lack of detail and information about them, you could be forgiven for thinking the book had been written about the invasion and then vampires were added because they are in vogue?

The book is worth a read....would i buy his next book? probably but it would not be top of my buying list.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good read
I am a very big admirer of Bram Stoker's Dracula novel and have been disappointed by so many books about vampires since. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. Robert S. Flowerday
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow start, decent read
I read this not expecting much more than any other trashy novel and once I got past the first 100 odd pages, it's not a bad read at all. Read more
Published on 18 Oct. 2012 by D. McBain
4.0 out of 5 stars War and Peace and Bloodsucking Beasts
I'm always up for a little historical military fiction, especially if it's got an unusual twist to it -- such as the introduction of vampires. Read more
Published on 8 Mar. 2012 by A. Ross
3.0 out of 5 stars one for the boys
I love history and I love reading. I'm also quite intrigued by the whole vampire thing (I loved Bram Stalker's Drakula) so this book seem quite perfect. Read more
Published on 17 Oct. 2011 by quiltwhileyoureahead
3.0 out of 5 stars Lengthy and descriptive ....
This book seemed to take me ages to read (a fortnight to be precise), I'm not sure if it was the book necessarily or the fact that I had a lot going on in my life at the time. Read more
Published on 15 Oct. 2011 by B. Robinson
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow starter but enjoyable historical novel/vampire tale amalgam
Twelve is an amalgam of historical novel set in 1812 Russia as Napoleon's army advances and Vampire tale ... Read more
Published on 10 Oct. 2011 by Arkgirl
3.0 out of 5 stars Once it gets going it's good.
This book was given to me and to be reviewed for the Transworld Books.
This was a book I wanted to read for a while after catching it on a BBC TV show about books that are... Read more
Published on 4 Oct. 2011 by Catwomanthegeek
3.0 out of 5 stars Great premise but slow to start
Set during Napoleon's invasion of Russia this had the potential to be a great meeting place between historical fiction and vampire action. On the whole it does achieve this. Read more
Published on 20 Sept. 2011 by sardoc
4.0 out of 5 stars A Well Researched Novel
I am a sucker for any historical fiction, so I thought this book would be right up my street and it was in parts. Read more
Published on 19 Sept. 2011 by S.Duncan
4.0 out of 5 stars War & Peace, with not much peace, and added vampires!
I have read War and Peace, so I know a little bit about Napoleon v. General Kutuzov, the Battle of Borodino and Napoleon's march on Moscow and retreat, and Tchaikovsky wrote the... Read more
Published on 19 Sept. 2011 by Annabel Gaskell
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