This excellent non-fiction book covers the influence of the idea of the vampire in cultural and historical terms. While much of the basic information it draws on will provide little new to the well read vampire enthusiast, where it succeeds is in a well thought out structure which allows it to examine and draw out some interesting and suggestive ideas. The chapters are organised thematically thus there is one on the history of ideas and the folklore of blood through the ages;one which covers ideas of time in relation to the vampire, focusing on days, or festivals, the cycles of the moon and sun; one on landscapes connected with the vampires such as forests, castles and graveyards. Other fascinating chapters discuss the relation of tales of vampirism to the natural world of animals, witches and sorcerers, the demonic pact, psychological fears and motifs, sexuality and death.
Overall I think a successful attempt at exploring how the vampire has been a powerful imaginative concept down through the ages, and likely to give the reader some new insights even if they have read many of books on the subject.
This is a great read, depending on what you want it for. If anything, I'd say it's more of a text book than anything... it's very detailed and looks closely at folklore, myths and history. I enjoyed it, although it wasn't quite what I was expecting.