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on 9 June 2012
When I read William Meikle's The Watchers Omnibus, I absolutely loved it. I have, whenever possible, come back to this author time and again for some real horror entertainment.
Looking through Meikle's catalogue of work, I was attracted to Eldren: The Book of the Dark...

As soon as I started reading, I was shocked... and disappointed. I had read Meikle's opening scene for Eldren before, submitted as a short story for Best New Vampire Tales Vol I. and once I read on, I was left wondering why it had been included. However, Meikle, ever the storyteller, later weaves this tale into the Eldren yarn, creating a very satisfying addition to the story indeed.

Although Eldren could be considered typical of Meikle's work, with an action horror feel to it, for me, it is distinctly darker in tone than much of the author's work that I have read to date. As is his style, Meikle takes the reality of Scotland and skews it believably to incorporate a significant horror aspect. Eldren reminded me of a combination of Salem's Lot and 30 Days of Night... this is definitely not a bad thing. Where Stephen King has Castle Rock, Meikle has Finsburgh, a town in the South West of Scotland that is suffering from the decline of industry in the area; and unaware of the evil nestling at its heart.

Additionally, Meikle adds a meaty back story for his creatures of the night. I am not spoiling this title for you by telling you, since it is alluded to in the synopsis, but Meikle's vampires were created before man, and received their vampiric ten commandments before Moses ascended Mount Sinai.

For those looking for anti-heroes or sullen vampires lamenting their dark gift, I'd suggest this book isn't for you. Eldren is filled with very believable characters: bullied schoolchildren, alcoholics, overwhelmed teachers; not to mention a vengeful vampire hunter, ancient creatures of the night and zombie-like bloodsuckers too!

Much big-screen horror relies heavily on CGI and big set pieces these days. Such sets are only limited in literary form by the limits of the writer's own imagination. However, with Eldren, Meikle doesn't go for the Hollywood approach, instead, favouring the fear of what lies in the dark, lurking, just waiting. That is not to say that Eldren is without some grand twisted scenes: the vampire's lair and the Hansen House are undeniably noteworthy creations from Meikle, ranking in my mind along with the author's dark visions of Linlithgow Palace and Edinburgh Castle in The Watchers Omnibus.

Meikle is part of the thin red line, continuing to defend all that is sacred and holy (or unholy) about the subgenre from the assault of angsty sparkly vampires and the Dawson's Creek type nonsense that comes along with them. Neither does he employ the foppish vamps favoured by many writers in the genre. The villains of Eldren are evil: pure and simple. Mankind is cattle and all they wish to do is feed on them. Meikle's ancient vampires also have the ability to enslave minds to a degree, enabling them to entrance their victims before feasting on them; a nice touch which for me, harks back to the classic vampires I grew up reading about and watching in one too many late-night Hammer films.

Despite its modern setting, Eldren feels like a good old fashioned horror tale. The protagonists are clearly defined, the villains of the piece are entirely without remorse; and the author weaves his characters and plot together seamlessly, allowing the story to flow well, drawing towards the big finale...

Eldren is pulpy horror entertainment at its best. Engaging, pacy and classic; this should definitely make its way on to your reading list.
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on 9 June 2011
This is my first book of William Meikles and it won't be my last.
It was a nice change to have a good old fashioned "hammer horror" or "Dracula" type vampire. Cruel, deadly and cool all at the same time. Along with the "Van Helsing" type vampire hunter and the victims who stand up and fight back too. Now as i have mentioned before i also like the "friendly " vamps and they are here too in a good old fashioned good evil versus bad evil. That's all on the plus side....
Now I will say that for the first half of the book i was never initially grabbed by the story or the characters and wasn't too bothered if I had to put the book down to do some task or go to work. By the second half I was glued and found myself caring more about the characters and whether they lived or not and got annoyed when i had to put the book down and was looking forward to picking it up again. I like my stories to have more defined chapters, rather than lines and i like some of the chapters to have cliff hangers that make you wait to see what's going to happen. There wasn't much of this to start with which is why it probably felt a litte slow at the beginning, at least to me.
But i beg anyone to hang in and you won't be disappointed.
There were a few mistypes ( if instead of of etc) but nothing compared to many books here on the kindle.
If there's a sequel to this i would be interested in it.
A great vampire story and looking forward to some more works from this author.
3 1/2 / 5

2 ok but not brilliant
3 a good read and recommended.
4 Please tell me there's a sequel.
5 Wow,wow,wow gimme more now.
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on 31 December 2010
Loved it. I'm working my way through Mr Meikle's body of work and I've not found a dud yet. This is a cracking vampire romp. Highly recommended.
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on 29 January 2012
I like reading about the supernatural and, of late, I have been swayed by the new genre of vampires - the handsome, romantic type. However, this is not one of them.

This is a tale about your more traditional type of vampire told in a Hammer House of Horror style. It's suspenseful and scary. In fact, I was compelled to keeps the 'night light' on for a few nights, during and after finishing the book.

So, would I want to read a sequel? You bet I would. I loved every gripping moment of it. I have gone as far as asking the author if there is a sequel in the pipeline. I think there might be. In the meantime I have started reading another of his books, 'Watchers, The Coming of the King'. It's the first of a trilogy. And, yes, there are vampires within - an army of them!
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