Discovering this book is like unearthing a half hidden gem from the dusty shelves of a second hand bookshop. The fact that it details every annecdote, legend and factbased news item associated with vampires is almost secondary to the way the book looks and feels. Supposedly written way back in the mists of time by Constantine Gregory, it is cleverly annotated in the margins by Craig Glenday. Both help us to uncover the reasons behind our horror of vampires while reasurring us with reminders of the correct way to protect ourselves from harm. Example: good to know that vampire bats reallly exist but not outside South America. Bad to know that a bat reasercher died in Scotland in 2003 from rabies! Fascinating as it may be to learn the correct proceedure for staking a vampire and concealing the correct amount of garlic about one's person, it is, as I repeat, the look and feel of this book that most appeals. The pages are yellowed by time, blood has stained a few paragraphs of text but it is the cover that is perhaps its cleverest trick. The fake battered edges give it that second hand feel and the centre piece is a gothic mirror. "FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED" says the introduction and as I settled down with my scotch by a roaring fire to read the final pages of this book I knew that on closing it I would have to return to that front cover just to check that my reflection still looked back at me.
For anyone who is like me and mad about vampires, then this is a great book to begin your journey into the world of stakes, garlic and crosses. The book gives details about vampires across cultures which is fantastic if you're like me and want to know more about vampiric folklore than what Dracula has to offer. The book also gives details about different species of vampires that have cropped up in different cultures. It is well written and very accessible. However, if you're already something of a vampire folk lorist then I don't think this book will be for you unless you want a quick reference guide. This is because although the book does refer to vampire folk lore from non-European cultures it can be sketchy at times and does seem more focused on the European folk lore about vampires. The book is very well-written and I love the way it pretends to be an actual vampire slayer book written by a slayer many years ago, while the actual author merely adds additional info in the margins as if he was a student. It's very beautifully designed and made to look like an old fashioned book which I thought was great. I should also mention that the copy I bought was second hand from an independent seller on Amazon, and it not only arrived on time, it was carefully packaged and in very good quality. Furthermore, I saved a lot of money buying it second hand and so I would recommend that others do the same. Happy slaying!