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Alternate Cover Edition can be found here. At the turn of the twentieth century, a former spy is called into service to hunt down a vampire killer... Once a spy for Queen Victoria, James Asher has fought for Britain on every continent, using his quick wits to protect the Empire at all costs. After years of grueling service, he marries and retires to a simple academic’s life Alternate Cover Edition can be found here. At the turn of the twentieth century, a former spy is called into service to hunt down a vampire killer... Once a spy for Queen Victoria, James Asher has fought for Britain on every continent, using his quick wits to protect the Empire at all costs. After years of grueling service, he marries and retires to a simple academic’s life at Oxford. But his peace is shattered one night with the arrival of a Spanish vampire named Don Simon. Don Simon can disappear into fog, move faster than the eye can see, and immobilize Asher—and his young bride—with a wave of his hand. Asher is at his mercy, and has no choice but to give his help. Because someone is killing the vampires of London, and James Asher must find out who—before he becomes a victim himself. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Barbara Hambly, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.


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Alternate Cover Edition can be found here. At the turn of the twentieth century, a former spy is called into service to hunt down a vampire killer... Once a spy for Queen Victoria, James Asher has fought for Britain on every continent, using his quick wits to protect the Empire at all costs. After years of grueling service, he marries and retires to a simple academic’s life Alternate Cover Edition can be found here. At the turn of the twentieth century, a former spy is called into service to hunt down a vampire killer... Once a spy for Queen Victoria, James Asher has fought for Britain on every continent, using his quick wits to protect the Empire at all costs. After years of grueling service, he marries and retires to a simple academic’s life at Oxford. But his peace is shattered one night with the arrival of a Spanish vampire named Don Simon. Don Simon can disappear into fog, move faster than the eye can see, and immobilize Asher—and his young bride—with a wave of his hand. Asher is at his mercy, and has no choice but to give his help. Because someone is killing the vampires of London, and James Asher must find out who—before he becomes a victim himself. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Barbara Hambly, including rare photos and never-before-seen documents from the author’s personal collection.

30 review for Those Who Hunt the Night

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    There came a turn in the vampire oeuvre -- and that turn had much to do with the Anne Rice's vampire novels -- when the inherent eroticism of vampirism, which was one of many vampiric themes, shifted into a full scale fetishization of vampire sexuality. I don't say this to criticize totally what vampire tales have become. I remain a fan of Lestat, Louis and Armand, and I certainly dig Sookie's Bill and Eric (the less said about Bella's Edward the better), but the fetishization of vampire sexualit There came a turn in the vampire oeuvre -- and that turn had much to do with the Anne Rice's vampire novels -- when the inherent eroticism of vampirism, which was one of many vampiric themes, shifted into a full scale fetishization of vampire sexuality. I don't say this to criticize totally what vampire tales have become. I remain a fan of Lestat, Louis and Armand, and I certainly dig Sookie's Bill and Eric (the less said about Bella's Edward the better), but the fetishization of vampire sexuality has become a reductive cliche in vampire literature, and each new manifestation of vampire fiction seems to carry with it an increasing hypersexuality to the detriment of other potential vampire themes, so I've found myself less and less excited by vampire tales with each incarnation. So reading Barbara Hambly's Those Who Hunt the Night has positively rejuvenated my interest in vampire fiction, reminding me that there is much that remains unexplored and underexplored in fiction about this most human form of undead. Hambly discards the fetishization; in fact, what sexuality there is in Those Who Hunt the Night is either between her human protagonists, Lydia and Asher, or is merely the bare minimum required by a vampire for hunting (who are, according to one of the number, basically asexual). Sexuality is incidental. And I think Hambly wants it to remain that way because the theme that most concerns her is predation. She is concerned with the ethics of hunting to live, of killing to preserve life. She offers one complex vampire, the eminently likable Don Simon Ysidro, and a series of violent archetypes, from a violent and angry master vampire, Dr. Grippen, to a damned and guilt-ridden ex-priest, Brother Anthony. These vampires, and all the others we get a taste of, inhabit some position along an ethical continuum that runs from debilitating remorse to a pragmatic sublimation of remorse to no remorse at all. But Hambly takes things a step further and places some of her humans along the continuum too. The most important is Asher, the philologist/spy/private investigator coerced by Ysidro into hunting down a dangerous killer of London's vampires. Even Asher is forced, by his connection with and aiding of the vampires, to face his own predation and the motives he has used to justify or rationalize the actions in his past. Hambly's thoughts on predation could have gone further, I suppose, but anything more would have been beyond the characters and their Edwardian milieu, and Hambly is a good enough writer to know that she must be true to her characters and their setting, no matter what else she is trying to achieve. There are better vampire books than Those Who Hunt the Night, and from everything I've been hearing there are better Barbara Hambly books than Those Who Hunt the Night, but as a bit of a vampire geek, I am full of appreciation for her attempt to remind us that vampires are predators who feed on us -- as folklore has always warned us. In our fantasy worlds, vampires are on top of the food chain. And it sure sucks to be food, doesn't it?

  2. 5 out of 5

    carol.

    from https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2014/... There’s nothing like a soupcon of horror to keep you awake during a long, slow night, and Those Who Hunt the Night did the trick. It’s been a long time since I was fascinated by vampires, but Hambly goes old-school with this one (or perhaps it was ‘current-school,’ considering it won a Locus Award for horror in 1989) and imbues her Victorian tale with classic gothic horror themes. Archer is an Oxford don who has done a little extra-curricular work for from https://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2014/... There’s nothing like a soupcon of horror to keep you awake during a long, slow night, and Those Who Hunt the Night did the trick. It’s been a long time since I was fascinated by vampires, but Hambly goes old-school with this one (or perhaps it was ‘current-school,’ considering it won a Locus Award for horror in 1989) and imbues her Victorian tale with classic gothic horror themes. Archer is an Oxford don who has done a little extra-curricular work for Queen and country under the guise of scholarly research in linguistics. He is returning home quite late one late one night when he has a sense of unease. Breaking into his own house, he discovers servants and wife asleep as if drugged, and a sinister visitor who persuades him to take on a very special investigation. He resentfully agrees, and he and his wife put their best powers of deduction to use in solving a series of murders for some unsavory clients. Truthfully, Hambly surprised me; the Victorian time period isn’t one I’m naturally drawn too, but this is a captivating mix of mystery with old-school vampire, updated for the modern reader without too much compromise. There’s also an interesting exploration about the physical and psychic aspects of vampires that fits nicely with the time period’s gradual shift from spiritualism into rationalism. The language pleasantly complex, the characters appropriate for their time with a slightly more modern sensibility towards women and class issues. Hambly puts her Master’s in history to good use, creating a setting that feels realistic without overtaking the story (cough, cough--The Diviners). “The train came puffing in, steam roiling out to blend with the fog, while vague forms hurried onto the platform to meet it. A girl with a face like a pound of dough sprang from a third-clss carriage as it slowed, into the arms of a podgy young man in a shop clerk’s worn old coat, and they embraced with the delighted fervor of a knight welcoming his princess bride.“ The writing reminds me of the writing of Martha Wells; they both develop a combination of action, description, dialogue and monologue that completely works for me. It’s probably worth noting that Hambly indulges in some period-like descriptive prose; one review I read complained about overblown similes. However, as I’ve been dipping my toes in Three Men in a Boat, I’ll note that there’s purple, and then there’s aubergine, and Hambly’s prose feels rather tongue-in-cheek at worst, and delightfully evocative at best. “The pale eyes held his. There was no shift in them, no expression; only a remote calm, centuries deep… There was something almost hypnotic in that stillness, without nervous gesture, almost completely without movement, as if that had all been rinsed from him by the passing moons of time.“ This turned out to be one of those books where the farther in I read, the faster, and the more impatient I became with interruptions. (For heaven’s sake, people–can’t you see I’m reading here? Don’t bother me for anything less than an earthquake). I recommend it if you are a fan of any of its overlapping genres.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    There seems to be a trend in current dark fantasy novels, and that is of the misunderstand vampire lover. Most vampires in popular fiction today tend to be romantic leads. There is Twilight, Anita Blake, The Hollows among many. There is nothing wrong with this, though it does raises a host of questions, among them as Ceridwen aptly pointed out in her review of Kitty and the Midnight Hour, what is so attractive about making love too a walking corpse? Wouldn't it be cold? Additionally, the vampire There seems to be a trend in current dark fantasy novels, and that is of the misunderstand vampire lover. Most vampires in popular fiction today tend to be romantic leads. There is Twilight, Anita Blake, The Hollows among many. There is nothing wrong with this, though it does raises a host of questions, among them as Ceridwen aptly pointed out in her review of Kitty and the Midnight Hour, what is so attractive about making love too a walking corpse? Wouldn't it be cold? Additionally, the vampires never truly seem to be vampires. They lack change. What is worse, they seem, in many cases, to be little more than mutants or highly powered beings with little or no drawbacks. In many cases, they lack bite. The heroine of the series is always stronger, always better, always controlling of the vampire. There is no sense of the vampires having actually live the span they claim to have lived. They lack a sense of having lived though history, despite the words the authors put into thier mouthes. It is refreshing, therefore, to read a book such as Those Who Hunt The Night. Hambly is one of a select few who actually make her vampires, well, vampires as opposed to neutered wanna bes. While her Ysidro has a degree of sex appeal, there is no way I would want to met him in a dark any place. It is though light and sure touches that Hambly shows the reader that Ysidro has lived the history. He makes little comments, like about how annoyed he gets at servents and coachmen, that reveal his worldview is crafted by not only the time period he was born into, but by the time period he has lived. This is true of all the older vampires in the novel. There is a former doctor, who is frustated because he can no longer keep up medicine, there is a lord and lady, there is a vampire monk. (Yarbro is another writer who does, and Tanya Huff's vampires feel old). This isn't to say that the vampires lack humanity. Hambly explores what living such a long span can do to a person. We given vampires that are at ease with what they are as well as vampires who seem to have tired of the life, or lack of life. With the inclusion of the Farrans, Hambly also illustrates whether mortal bonds might transcend the transformation to vampire. She also deals with the issue of whether or not a vampire will go to heaven or keep belief in a god. Hambly's non vampire characters are also drawn well. James and Lydia are a well crafted couple, and Lydia, as most of Hambly's heroines, is not a standard maiden in distress. It made a nice twist to see Lydia more fasinated by the medical side of vampirism; its causes and how it works. Hambly shows that a heroine doesn't have to kick ass in order to be strong. I also loved the line about income tax. All in all, however, Those Who Hunt the Night is a vampire book for those who like vampires with actual fangs and bite.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Being a vampire is hard! Hambly has created some of the most interesting vampire mythology and characterization I've ever experienced. It was worth reading (only just) for a complex take on the hard realities facing vampires, without a silly romance angle. There's also a neat backstory on how a vampire physically changes through the centuries. However, the language and construction were killing me throughout the book, particularly in the first 2/3 before the action took over. The story gets drug Being a vampire is hard! Hambly has created some of the most interesting vampire mythology and characterization I've ever experienced. It was worth reading (only just) for a complex take on the hard realities facing vampires, without a silly romance angle. There's also a neat backstory on how a vampire physically changes through the centuries. However, the language and construction were killing me throughout the book, particularly in the first 2/3 before the action took over. The story gets drug through the mud by the endless descriptions and asides right in the middle of the dialogue. Every line of conversation, or even half a sentence of dialogue is interrupted with a paragraph of some remembrance of things past, or need to describe the scene even further. Luckily at the end as the action picks up, the dialogue is much smoother. Oh, the never ending similes stand out like wretched piles of horse dung on top of your precious blood-red velvet fainting couch! They are horrendous, and yank you right out of the mood and story. To play at Hambly's game: she uses similes like a 7th grade schoolboy who having just learned about similes, fancies himself a great writer every time he uses one. Not to mention that many of the comparisons really make no sense in an Edwardian-era story. Don't take my word for it! Here's my list of odd, useless, silly, and otherwise unfortunate similes quoted from the book: * Pearls [on a pair of gloves] gleamed like maggots in meat. * His body twisted and fought like a salmon on a line. * Her high heels tapping like a deer's tiny hooves on the pavement. * Their horses breathing steam like dragons. * The cheap black bowler floated over the general crowd like a roach in a cesspool. * He knew this area of Bloomsbury the way a jack hare knew its burrows. * He knew [the vampires] were watching and listening... like so many suave and mocking sharks lying just beneath the surface of the water, whose shore he could never hope to reach in time. * Thousands of smooth organic curves [of wall], like some perverted variety of orchid. * Asher caught glimpses of sheaves of ribs, like frozen wheat in the wind. * Beautiful, like a baroque pearl set in Renaissance gold. * The wind drove a swirl of of dead beech leaves over [the gravel], like the whirling souls of Dante's damned, who could not forgo the pleasures of the living. * Blood spattered...like gouts of hot syrup. These are just the ones that stood out to me as being particularly egregious. There are oh so many more just waiting for you in the pages of this book!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nathaniel Lee

    Barbara Hambly studied as a historian, and has a real flair for weaving her research subtly and thoroughly into her novels, as opposed to some other authors who also enjoy research (*coughcough*NealStephenson*cough*). This is one of the books that I look to for some solid characterization of 'realistic' vampires, as well as an enjoyable piece of fiction set in Victorian England, which is as close as we ever get to Steampunk these days. (sigh) Anyway, the book draws a marvelous parallel between th Barbara Hambly studied as a historian, and has a real flair for weaving her research subtly and thoroughly into her novels, as opposed to some other authors who also enjoy research (*coughcough*NealStephenson*cough*). This is one of the books that I look to for some solid characterization of 'realistic' vampires, as well as an enjoyable piece of fiction set in Victorian England, which is as close as we ever get to Steampunk these days. (sigh) Anyway, the book draws a marvelous parallel between the work of spies (such as Asher, the main character) and the vampires themselves, who are shown as having a wide variety of ways of dealing with their undead state. Don Simon Ysidro is my perennial model for "Elder Vampire" nowadays; he is calm, quiet, and honorable to the point of psychosis - because his honor is all he has left. The real meat of the story is the detective work and the intriguing characters; the fact that it is about vampires is almost serendipitous. This is not a vampire novel; it is a novel about vampires. There is, in fact, a difference.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Collins

    A novel featuring wicked, murderous vampires, which will be refreshing to those who are disgusted by the modern trend of depicting them as romantic heroes. I personally prefer my vampires slightly less evil than this, but I really enjoyed the book. This is more of a murder mystery than a horror novel. Someone is killing vampires in London, in 1907, and an Oxford don (who's a former spy for the British government) is forced into a search for the perpetrator. I liked the interaction between the don A novel featuring wicked, murderous vampires, which will be refreshing to those who are disgusted by the modern trend of depicting them as romantic heroes. I personally prefer my vampires slightly less evil than this, but I really enjoyed the book. This is more of a murder mystery than a horror novel. Someone is killing vampires in London, in 1907, and an Oxford don (who's a former spy for the British government) is forced into a search for the perpetrator. I liked the interaction between the don and the main vampire very much. The mystery was intriguing in the beginning, and while I didn't really care for the direction it went in the end, this didn't ruin the book for me. I quite liked the writing, which was lush and dramatic, even though there were many repetitive elements; in particular the vampire's appearance and mannerisms are described over and over again. I kept expecting this to annoy me, but somehow it never did. I'll definitely look for more books by Hambly.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dagny

    I originally read this book over twenty years ago and longed to read more of James Asher and his wife Lydia. As the years passed, I forgot about them and was delighted to find that Barbara Hambly has since written more of their adventures and there are now six books in the series! I loved the first one then and I still love it. Asher is a former spy turned professor and Lydia is a doctor specializing in research. The Ashers are based near London in the early 1900s. As to the vampires, it is wonde I originally read this book over twenty years ago and longed to read more of James Asher and his wife Lydia. As the years passed, I forgot about them and was delighted to find that Barbara Hambly has since written more of their adventures and there are now six books in the series! I loved the first one then and I still love it. Asher is a former spy turned professor and Lydia is a doctor specializing in research. The Ashers are based near London in the early 1900s. As to the vampires, it is wonderful to read about old-school vampires.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Maggie K

    The premise of this book was fantastic---vampires are being killed, and so they hire a human detective to try and solve the murders.... To me, the style went a little back and forth. Sometimes we went along for the ride with the Detective figure, other times it was just exposition. Also, there was a formalness to the writing that kept me at a bit of distance. All in all, a fairly quick and fun read!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I like Hambly stuff. Period without being pedantic, romance without being sexually explicit, adventure without excess baggage (like testosterone). James Asher, aging and retiring ex-spy, in the lull before the Great War, is forced into the service of the hidden vampire world to find an elusive killer.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anna Kļaviņa

    3,5 When Simon Ysidro meets pretty girl he sees her as his potential dinner and not as his one true love, for that alone this book is worth reading. MAKE VAMPIRES SCARY AGAIN

  11. 4 out of 5

    John

    Third time reading this book and I still love it. It did seem to take forever for me to read this, but as I have stated elsewhere, I'm on a new medication that makes it difficult to read and keep my eyes open. I'm slowly getting used to it, however, so it shouldn't be a persistent problem. I also started to play a "new" video game that has taken up a lot of my free time. But enough of my excuses for dawdling on this book. On the third read I found that I am much more familiarized with London tha Third time reading this book and I still love it. It did seem to take forever for me to read this, but as I have stated elsewhere, I'm on a new medication that makes it difficult to read and keep my eyes open. I'm slowly getting used to it, however, so it shouldn't be a persistent problem. I also started to play a "new" video game that has taken up a lot of my free time. But enough of my excuses for dawdling on this book. On the third read I found that I am much more familiarized with London thanks to other novels I've read in the last few years and now this time when they spoke of places, I knew exactly where they were. What a huge change that was for me, just knowing that. It's amazing what a desire to learn more about London and nearly 20 years can do to one's view on a book reread. I still enjoy how the vampires are not romanticized in this/these novel(s). No sparkly skin, no love interests, no desire to BE a vampire unlike the vast majority of YA out there. This is more like a clinical look at vampirism at the turn of the century when viruses and bacteria were still relatively new to medicine. There's nothing to fall in love with in this book other than a great story. I personally love how Barbara Hambly goes into such detailed research into the history of the locales in which her Historical Fiction is based. She studies much of turn of the century London for this book, just as she has completely established 1810s New Orleans in her Benjamin January series. Her books very much drop you into that specific period of time and her characters are wont to stay true to the period no matter how cringe-worthy the language of ages past was. There's no 21st century "politically correct" balm put on to soothe any of the language used. This was how things were, this was how people spoke and acted. History is not meant to be glossed over and gilded with fantasies of how things should be. History was, and history should never be forgotten. Again I digress. I confess, I now have the urge to reread the series, as it's been years since I read Traveling With the Dead and I wouldn't mind rereading the newer titles that came out during the last decade. Quite possibly one of my favorite series, Peter Grant a very close second I think. ;)

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shelli

    How exciting to find a new favorite vampire novel among books I already own. I basically had no expectations going in as I didn't remember purchasing this. I was looking for an "Octoberish" read while doing some housekeeping of my kindle content. I didn't know anything about this author or the fact that this was in a series. I loved the Victorian setting and the gothic feel but in a very readable story. In contrast to the likes of Dracula. I liked Dracula ok, but didn't find it as pleasant to rea How exciting to find a new favorite vampire novel among books I already own. I basically had no expectations going in as I didn't remember purchasing this. I was looking for an "Octoberish" read while doing some housekeeping of my kindle content. I didn't know anything about this author or the fact that this was in a series. I loved the Victorian setting and the gothic feel but in a very readable story. In contrast to the likes of Dracula. I liked Dracula ok, but didn't find it as pleasant to read. Here, the setting and the vampires felt old fashioned but the story felt updated. I loved the two main characters of James Asher, ex-spy and academic and Don Simon, vampire. I also enjoyed Asher's wife Lydia and some of the other vampires were quite interesting. The story moved along for me and I was always excited to get back to it and finished it quickly. It was dark enough to be fun for the spooky season but nothing that kept me up at night. If you enjoy vampire stories, you know that each author usually has their own unique take on vampirism. I found this take intriguing. I look forward to trying more in the series.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Read this a little while ago and forgot to give it a rating. Good book, worth reading but nothing outstanding.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    This was the Fantasy selection for the Goodreads SciFi and Fantasy Book Club for the month of October 2009. Visit this link to see all of the discussions, group member reviews, etc. A fun read. Starts off too purple:...And she'd laughed, the sound bright with delight as the April sunlight. He'd kept that laugh—as he'd kept the damp lift of morning fog from the Cherwell meadows or the other-world sweetness of May morning voices drifting down from Magdalen Tower like the far-off singing of angels—i This was the Fantasy selection for the Goodreads SciFi and Fantasy Book Club for the month of October 2009. Visit this link to see all of the discussions, group member reviews, etc. A fun read. Starts off too purple:...And she'd laughed, the sound bright with delight as the April sunlight. He'd kept that laugh—as he'd kept the damp lift of morning fog from the Cherwell meadows or the other-world sweetness of May morning voices drifting down from Magdalen Tower like the far-off singing of angels—in the corner of his heart where he stored precious things as if they were a boy's shoebox hoard, to be taken out and looked at in China or the veldt when things were bad. It had been some years before he'd realized that her laugh and the still sunlight shining light carnelian on her hair were precious to him, not as symbols of the peaceful like of study and teaching, where one played croquet with one's Dean's innocent niece, but because he was desperately in love with this girl. The knowledge had nearly broken his heart.I mean, honestly, it reads like some parody of "'Twas a dark and stormy night". The good news: that's the worst of it. All better after that, and it does get quite a bit better. Actually, I felt reassured a dozen pages later when I discovered that our author was going to give the hero a decent brain:A crucifix allegedly protected its wearer from the vampire's bite—some tales specified a silver crucifix, and Asher's practical mind inquired at once: How high a silver content?Asher then goes on to ponder the contextual appropriateness of the symbol of the cross as armor: "And how had unconverted pagan vampires in the first century A.D. reacted to Christians frantically waving the symbols of their faith at them to protect themselves from having their blood drunk?" Hambly understandably didn't win any awards for this novel, but she paints her characters well (above excerpt excluded) and forces them into nice melodramatic conundrums. She does indulge a bit too much in farcical archetypes—I mean, for goodness sake, the hero is a nondescript Oxford don who just happens to be a retired spy and assassin for His Majesty's government. And the girl he loves sees right through him and simply knows, because of course it is true love. Yet even so, the hero is seldom cartoonish. The vampire conspiracy he is drawn into is also nicely done. The heroine isn't a fainting flower, but a strong, brave, clever and refreshingly cynical. All in all, a good book to read. I give it four stars.  

  15. 5 out of 5

    colleen the convivial curmudgeon

    2 1/2 This book was one of those books where I kept checking how much I had left to read, and kept motivating myself with "just 150 more pages" "just 75 more... " so on and so forth. In other words, not exactly a compelling read. I sort of liked it at first - I liked the writing, and even some of the purpley descriptions. But then they kept going. There were some, though I don't remember specifics and am less than inclined to go through the damn thing to find them, but, anyway, some which were so 2 1/2 This book was one of those books where I kept checking how much I had left to read, and kept motivating myself with "just 150 more pages" "just 75 more... " so on and so forth. In other words, not exactly a compelling read. I sort of liked it at first - I liked the writing, and even some of the purpley descriptions. But then they kept going. There were some, though I don't remember specifics and am less than inclined to go through the damn thing to find them, but, anyway, some which were so jarring that it took me completely out of the story. Like one simile that I remember, though without details, seemed like a contradiction and I was like "wait, don't those thing mean opposite things." Towards the end she used 'overcast' as a noun, which just seemed really odd. Anyway, the writing did get better and the pace picked up a bit, but there was also a lot of repetition. Don Simon "murmured, almost inaudibly" at least once every other page he was present, while his "pale, fine hair draped over his collar". Ultimately, though, the real failing of this book, for me, was that I just didn't give a damn. I didn't care about the characters, or the whodunit. The only character I liked was Lydia, and mostly just because I liked that she was scientific and rational, but still emotional. I liked the part where she was worried, and kept reminding herself it was irrational fear, but couldn't stop being worried anyway. I can relate to that. I also liked Brother Anthony - disgusted with himself for living, but terrified of dying. I didn't relate to any of the others. Grippen wasn't frightened, he was just annoying. Ysidro was too "distant and impassive" to actually have much of a personality, unless that counts as one. Most of his dialogue, especially if the first half of the book, was expositionary info dumps. Well, he did get better towards the end when he "opened up", but then it got ruined at the end. And while I did not guess the who, I did, mostly, guess how he would be dispatched. I wonder if I was meant to be surprised. *yawn* **minor spoilage** Regarding Ysidro, I didn't like the sort of veiled threats at the end. The whole "you could hunt us, but do you want to devote years" thing. I mean, it seemed, throughout the book, that Asher and Ysidro became, well, not friends - but respected frenemies. Couldn't their mutual respect and appreciation for what they've been through together sufficed? **/end spoilage** All-in-all, rather unsatisfactory reading.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pam Baddeley

    After enjoying book 2 of this series - which I thought at first was a standalone novel - I decided to obtain a copy of the first book despite having a sketchy idea of what had transpired from the book 2 backstory. Briefly, James Asher philologist, Oxford lecturer and ex-spy, and his wife Lydia - a rich heiress who has managed to fight societal pressures in order to become a doctor and medical researcher in 1904 - are drawn into the affairs of the Undead when one of them approaches James, initial After enjoying book 2 of this series - which I thought at first was a standalone novel - I decided to obtain a copy of the first book despite having a sketchy idea of what had transpired from the book 2 backstory. Briefly, James Asher philologist, Oxford lecturer and ex-spy, and his wife Lydia - a rich heiress who has managed to fight societal pressures in order to become a doctor and medical researcher in 1904 - are drawn into the affairs of the Undead when one of them approaches James, initially blackmailing him with Lydia's safety, to help with tracking down whoever is killing vampires. Had I not known that certain characters survived until book 2, the suspenseful sequences would have been even more so, but they were so well constructed and written that it was still a very enjoyable read. I liked most of the main characters with the exception of Lydia although she wasn't quite so irritating this time around, mainly because she has less of a role in the story. The only thing that held this back from a full 5 star rating was that although the characters are English quite a few Americanisms pop up, sometimes rather inconsistently - for example, the references to railroads in most places and then a switch to the correct railway - and references to garbage cans which in one place becomes the correct dustbins (given the frugal way of living most people of the time had to follow, the only 'rubbish' thrown away was the coaldust generated by domestic fires and hence the name dustbin which persists to this day- at that time, even rags and bones were sold for a small coin or two). As a UK reader these mistakes - despite correctly at one point describing the lowest floor of a building as ground rather than the American usage of first - were jarring and threw me out of the story's flow momentarily. But otherwise a very enjoyable read rating 4 stars.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Quite possibly the most boring novel about vampires ever written. I was totally drawn in by the good reviews this book got. Did I miss something? The plot is fairly straightforward. Someone is killing the vampires of London. One of these vampires, a 16th century Spanish don, forces an Oxford don (get it?) to help find the killer by threatening his life and that of his wife. The Oxford don is James Asher, a sort of Edwardian James Bond who's been around the world spying for the British - with a l Quite possibly the most boring novel about vampires ever written. I was totally drawn in by the good reviews this book got. Did I miss something? The plot is fairly straightforward. Someone is killing the vampires of London. One of these vampires, a 16th century Spanish don, forces an Oxford don (get it?) to help find the killer by threatening his life and that of his wife. The Oxford don is James Asher, a sort of Edwardian James Bond who's been around the world spying for the British - with a license to kill - all under the unassuming guise of a philologist (someone who studies languages). Against all probability he was lucky enough to marry a beautiful young heiress, Lydia, when she could have had her pick of any titled beau. But Lydia is also brilliant and has become a doctor, a desire only James understands. (Yet for all this early feminism, Lydia remains a character relegated to the background for pretty much the entire book.) So off we go on a jaunt to London to learn about vampires and vampirism. Although there's trouble around every corner, the book never even comes close to scary or creepy - not a good thing in a vampire story. And then it reaches an equally improbable conclusion. But clearly lots of other people like this story because the author went on to write several more stories about Asher and the vampires. Don't think I'll bite.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Interesting twist on the vampire genre, fairly early publication before vampire stories were all the rage. Enjoyed the Victorian setting and how the state of medicine and medical research was moving during the times woven into the story. James Asher, now a professor but also a retired spy for the government, is sought out by the vampire Ysidros Simon to help track a killer of vampires in London. He holds the life of Asher's wife, Lydia, as leverage to get him to assist in finding the killer. He Interesting twist on the vampire genre, fairly early publication before vampire stories were all the rage. Enjoyed the Victorian setting and how the state of medicine and medical research was moving during the times woven into the story. James Asher, now a professor but also a retired spy for the government, is sought out by the vampire Ysidros Simon to help track a killer of vampires in London. He holds the life of Asher's wife, Lydia, as leverage to get him to assist in finding the killer. He needs a mortal because the killing is being done during the day. Asher's skepticism in vampirism soon vanishes and he slowly gets pulled into their world as he joins this hunt. Lydia's medical curiosity is piqued and she gets involved approaching vampirism from a scientific slant. There are some interesting theories posited about vampirism and the aging vampire in particular, I hadn't been exposed to in the vampire genre before. The beginning had me turning the pages, it bogged in the middle and then the end moved as things came to a head. This is supposed to be the beginning of a series, curious to how things go forward as Asher was left with a moral dilemma in his mind as the story concluded.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Oooh. Hambly is very good at characterization, and I always find myself intrigued by her characters. She seems to like taking fantasy tropes and twisting them a bit—not in an annoying, Piers Anthony way of punning and “ooh look how clever and cheeky we are, playing with these stereotypes,” but instead by adding a dash of realism and a spoonful of human emotion. Thus her 1900s spy gets PTSD and tries to retire to an academic life, only to be pulled back into violence by a vampiric threat to his l Oooh. Hambly is very good at characterization, and I always find myself intrigued by her characters. She seems to like taking fantasy tropes and twisting them a bit—not in an annoying, Piers Anthony way of punning and “ooh look how clever and cheeky we are, playing with these stereotypes,” but instead by adding a dash of realism and a spoonful of human emotion. Thus her 1900s spy gets PTSD and tries to retire to an academic life, only to be pulled back into violence by a vampiric threat to his lady love, a beautiful, wealthy and spunky woman. She also hates wearing glasses for her nearsightedness, burned many of her bridges in order to become a doctor, and doesn’t respond to the vampires threatening her life in a ladylike fashion. The plot is well-paced and exciting, and the evil is both insidious and horrifying. I would definitely recommend this to anyone, especially to people who enjoy AC Doyle or late Victorian England.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    2/7/18 $2.99 for Kindle.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    I liked this yet it never really took ahold of me, which made the reading of the book longer then it should have been.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Latasha

    if you like Anne Rice, you'll like this.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    Really happy I stumbled upon this series. Victorian murder mystery with vampires. Can't wait to get into the rest of the series.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Fen

    I've been meaning to read this for ages (seriously, I think it may actually be up in the decades) and finally got around to it... thank you Kindle edition! (Much easier to find something to read while I'm traveling.) This was a nice, refreshing old-school style vampire novel and I loved every minute of it. A fun read, with interesting characters and vampires that really show the alienation from humanity that should exist in creatures who outlive everyone and, of course, hunt people for food. I'm I've been meaning to read this for ages (seriously, I think it may actually be up in the decades) and finally got around to it... thank you Kindle edition! (Much easier to find something to read while I'm traveling.) This was a nice, refreshing old-school style vampire novel and I loved every minute of it. A fun read, with interesting characters and vampires that really show the alienation from humanity that should exist in creatures who outlive everyone and, of course, hunt people for food. I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was entertaining and atmospheric but it didn't really hold my attention. I just kept losing focus.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    Loved the characters, plot and the setting. But there were times when the reading was too slow. Still, I do plan to read the next book in the series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jason Vanhee

    It's been years since I read this book. I love is still. It is clearly the main source for much of the ttrpg Vampire, and with good reason, as the vampire society of the book is thoughtful and interesting.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    This almost-steampunk Vampire novel introduces the characters of James Asher, (think Sherlock Holmes for the Home Office), Lydia Asher, his wife and a physician fascinated by blood, and Don Simon Ysidro, one of ‘those who hunt the night.’ Don Simon has been trying to solve the mystery of murdered vampires (coffins exposed to the sun) in London, but needs a human to help out during the day. The book could have been an homage to Sherlock Holmes, but instead seems derivative without adding anything This almost-steampunk Vampire novel introduces the characters of James Asher, (think Sherlock Holmes for the Home Office), Lydia Asher, his wife and a physician fascinated by blood, and Don Simon Ysidro, one of ‘those who hunt the night.’ Don Simon has been trying to solve the mystery of murdered vampires (coffins exposed to the sun) in London, but needs a human to help out during the day. The book could have been an homage to Sherlock Holmes, but instead seems derivative without adding anything fresh. It could have been good, but just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t connect with the characters in this novel, which doesn’t necessarily mean the author didn’t create good characters, just that for some reason they didn’t reach out and grab me. However, there were some interesting folklore sections. For example, as Asher discovers in his research, not only is garlic protective against the Undead, so are ash, whitethorn, wolfsbane and assorted other unnamed herbs. He also surmises that the Christian crucifix is not so much what protects the wearer as the quantity of the silver in the cross or crucifix. Asher realizes that the crucifix defense “left vast numbers of ancient and modern Chinese, Aztecs, ancient Greeks, Australia bushman, and Hawaiian Islanders, to name only a few, at an unfair disadvantage. Or did ancient Greek vampires fear other sacred things? And how, in that case, had unconverted pagan vampires in the first century A.D. reacted to Christians frantically waving the symbols of their faith at them to protect themselves from having their blood drunk or their noses bitten off?” Don Simon also explains how blood drinking from humans is not only basic food, but also a “psychic hunger, the lust for the draining of the soul,” which he likens to how much more intense is sexual satisfaction than the enjoyment of, say, marzipan. This book offers its own perspective on the now-infamous (by t.v. shows) ‘sire-bond.’ “In the making of the new vampire, their minds lock . . . In a sense . . . the fledgling must give his soul to the master, to hold for him while he – crosses over. I cannot explain it more nearly than that.” New vampires in this story, like others, are lost, easily confused, and need special guidance to understand how to cope with their unique circumstances. However, Don Simon indicates a more mutual transference than I have found in the past, stating, “When a master vampire creates a fledgling, it is in part the master’s will and in part the fledgling’s trust which act” together to create the new creature. I learned that some of the oddball British pub names might have history behind them. For example, a merchant’s house had a pious motto above the door: “God Encompasseth Us,” which after being burned by Cromwell’s troops and rebuilt as an inn became “The Goat and Compasses.” A strange combination of images which would have confused anyone in passing. I’ve been trying to figure out why this book didn’t work for me, but haven’t been able to determine what it was missing; maybe the writing style, although flowery, just wasn’t right? I’m puzzled because I should have liked this book, but I didn’t. I am going to read it again sometime because I want to give it another chance.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Truly a 4.75 I was in a bit of reading slump these past two weeks and had a difficult time picking up anything. I was struggling with a one book in particular and have shelved it for the time to return later. I grabbed this gem off the Kindle store hoping for something drastically different than what was holding me up. I loved it. The story follows James Asher who is recruited to look into the murders of several vampires in London. Mr. Asher was completely unaware of the paranormal individuals Truly a 4.75 I was in a bit of reading slump these past two weeks and had a difficult time picking up anything. I was struggling with a one book in particular and have shelved it for the time to return later. I grabbed this gem off the Kindle store hoping for something drastically different than what was holding me up. I loved it. The story follows James Asher who is recruited to look into the murders of several vampires in London. Mr. Asher was completely unaware of the paranormal individuals presence until he was brought in for the investigation, a refreshing change from what I've been picking up lately. I'll not go on, to keep from spoiling you good people, but the story follows his investigation, his wife's involvement, and introduces the readers to a diverse and interesting cast of vampires. One of my biggest peeves with vampires is the silent, brooding stereotype. It can and does work sometimes, but usually it just throws me out of the story. I really enjoyed the variety in the cast of paranormal creatures. You could see how the flow of time had affected these creatures. One was absolutely mad, another violent, and yet another depressed. This was just three of the multitude. Though they appeared briefly and not till the second half, they were for me the highlight. The book also surprised me with the ending. I'm usually, if not correct, pretty close to it when it comes to these 'who did it' types. This one had me surprised, and it made sense. I will warn that it's wordy, and at times feels a little dense. I could probably dock it down to 4.75 stars for this reason but I was really in the mood for something like this and it was a great, great read.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    Ffsf Book Club pick What it’s about – Oxford Professor and Ex British Spy James Asher comes home one evening to find his wife Lydia and their household staff strangely asleep. A vampire is in his home and is demanding his help solving who is murdering other vampires. What happens – Sort of a mystery/adventure story. Asher embarks on this case as extortion at first, he fears for the lives of he and his wife, whether he solves it or not. He travels with Ysidro, a very old vampire who threatens him a Ffsf Book Club pick What it’s about – Oxford Professor and Ex British Spy James Asher comes home one evening to find his wife Lydia and their household staff strangely asleep. A vampire is in his home and is demanding his help solving who is murdering other vampires. What happens – Sort of a mystery/adventure story. Asher embarks on this case as extortion at first, he fears for the lives of he and his wife, whether he solves it or not. He travels with Ysidro, a very old vampire who threatens him at first but comes to be protective of him. Asher meets several other vampires along the way and there is a lot of danger for him in this situation. These vampires don't play! My rating – 3.5 stars I had a rough start with this one, I really liked the first few pages and then the rest of the first half was slow going. It kept my interest, I really enjoyed the way the novel handles vampire lore and mythology, it goes into the science and creation of vampires a lot and gives all the gruesome details. It has been many years since I’ve read anything of hers, but it reminded me of a more serious vampire story, something like the Anne Rice vampire chronicles. I really liked the scene where they go underground to the Parisian Catacombs and meet Brother Anthony, the oldest vampire who can (maybe?) walk in sunlight and is somewhat immune to silver. There is a very intriguing mystery but it was drawn out, with few clues for a long stretch of the book. The villain is worth the wait though, and the ending was tense and exciting. It ended up being fun once it got going and I liked the writing, it’s very dark and occasionally somewhat horrific.

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