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A proper vampire novel!
on 1 May 2009
Now this is a proper novel about vampires - and they don't even make an appearance properly until later in the book. It's also a proper book about Venice, set during the end of the winter carnevale - approaching the start of Lent, when Venice becomes a masked city of revellers.
Marko, a doctor's son, comes to Venice after receiving a strange letter from his father Alessandro, who had travelled there to attend an old friend Simono, a glassmaker, who was seriously ill. When he arrives, he finds his father has disappeared, Simono has gone mad and his daughter Sorrel is at the end of her tether, worried that her father will die and that their house is cursed.
Strange things are happening in and around Venice involving a band of celebrants with a strange tattoo.They will come to a head during the festival when the new Doge takes his seat, and it seems that Simono is somehow involved in these events. It becomes a race against time for Sorrel and Marko, (who as you may expect, begin to fall for each other) to solve the mystery and to find Alessandro.
This Gothic 18thC Venice in winter is wonderfully realised. You can smell the stench, hear the water constantly lapping on the piles, and feel the damp and gathering dread in the fog. It's also all the better for the vampires coming from Eastern Europe folklore, rather than any modern romantic interpretation. This is a sophisticated novel for teens and adults alike steeped in a sense of time and place, and a cracking good adventure.