16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A nice little novel,
This review is from: My Swordhand is Singing (Hardcover)
This is a dark novel based around the true beginnings for the vampire legends which made their way out of eastern Europe in the 17th century, and as such has a slightly educational value to it. There are no slick counts in haunted castles here, the vampies of bloated corpses.
It tells the story of a drunkard woodcutter and his son (the names elude me), who have never settled in any village. They have built a house in the forest with a moat, away from the nearby village, and are treated as outcasts, outsiders. There have been a number of mysterious deaths, rather brutal and grisly, which seem to make no sense.
The protagonist is in love with a girl called Agnes, though he is forced to question this when a bewitching Gypsy arrives with her family. But in true vampyrric tradition, those slain do not rest easy in their graves, and prowl the streets and forests. It seems they are the minions of the Shadow Queen, and her power is waxing.
The hero is forced to try to defend Agnes who, being forced to marry a corpse (it will make sense) she is forced into a mourning isolation. Suffice to say she is a prime target for the blood thirsty creatures who seek to be invited into her hut. There are some rather novel ways by which the living can protect themselves, forget the garlic, give a vampire a piece of charcoal and he must write with it until it is exhausted. This is an example of the historical gems which are hidden among the all too few pages of this book.
Meanwhile the mysterious Gypsies are beseiging our hero's home, trying to steal the sword which his father has hidden all these years from his son, so that they can put a stop to this scourge. Soon the vampires are growing both in number and strength, and they too seek this sword, and are willing to stop at nothing to claim this tool for themselves. It all builds towards a pretty predictable showdown to be honest.
In the end, it is a book written for children, which is surprising considering it is fairly gruesome and pretty frightening at times. But it is easy to read and absorbing, if predictable. A good read for younger people with enough there to appeal to adults.