The great Alan Moore isn't the first writer to have come up with the idea of recycling old pulp literary figures in new works (as Kim Newman somewhat grumpily pointed out in a brief afterword to Seven Stars). Here Newman continues the vampire cycle started in Anno Dracula with his second sequel. I have to start by saying that I'm a Kim Newman fan, and I'd love to have given this mostly excellent novel 5 stars... unfortunately whilst 95% of this novel is as marvellous as you'd expect from a writer of his calibre, it suffers from the same flaw as his The Bloody Red Baron: the ending is frankly a bit of a damp squib. The prose is outstanding, the characterizations are outstanding, the concept is outstanding... but it's almost as if once he's decided on the setting of the novel the plot itself comes as something of an afterthought and consequently ends up building up to, well, not that much. This was frustrating - but just about forgiveable - in The Bloody Red Baron if you viewed it as an allegory on the waste of life in WW1, but here it's just frustrating.
Having said all this I'm still glad that I read this novel, and not just for the very brief but hilarious appearance of one Anthony Allosius Hancock as an embittered vampire artist (stolen straight from Hancocks film The Rebel)! However Anno Dracula still easily remains Newman's best vampire novel by far, so if you've never read Kim Newman, Anno Dracula is the one novel of his that you MUST read.
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