Friday, January 16, 2009

Forever Knight: A Stirring of Dust – review

Author: Susan Sizemore

First Published: 1997

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: He has walked the night beat for centuries. He is one of the finest homicide detectives in Toronto. But Nick Knight wishes he could shed the curse of his true calling. The burn of the thirst. The thrill of the kill. The endless nights longing to be a human… and not a vampire.

The murder victims were found decapitated. At first Nick suspected a man newly released from prison who had killed his wife the same way. But now he must consider another, more horrifying possibility – that one of his own kind is responsible for such grisly handiwork. An inhuman monster with a centuries-old score to settle with Nick Knight…

The Review: A novel spawned by the Forever Knight series, this takes place during Season 3. It had been mentioned by friend of the blog Derek who suggested “It actually shows more of a love for the characters and concept than the TV series did itself!” He was not wrong, whilst the book cannot be said to be high literature, if you are a fan of the series it had a series styled story but entered into the personalities of the characters that little bit more. However, it really did explore them starting with the base that the series created rather than simply introduce characters in an unfamiliar way, in other words they still felt like the series characters but more rounded.

What I did like was some of the lore was explored just that little bit more carefully, such as the lore surrounding the creature known as the carouch. I wasn’t happy with the idea that this lower vampiric strata was almost an accident of first feeding and, in this, we discover that whilst (as the series suggested) the preferred type of blood might be related to the first feed, the carouch themselves are created when a weaker vampire tries to turn a mortal and is not strong enough to do a proper job of it.

The book also clarifies that the rules surrounding holy objects are pretty much psychosomatic – in other words holy objects only burn if the vampire believes they will. Hence Vachon’s church is not deconsecrated but, as Nick believes it is, he walks in with impunity.

New bits and pieces that came along was the concept that Crowley was now a vampire as the book mentioned, “Do what thou wilt, as dear Aleister used to say, back when he was mortal”. We discover an order of vampire lower than the carouch, the revenant. Zombie like, mindless, rotting dead things created by a vampire with a particular (spiritual) sickness every time he fed, they can be destroyed only via decapitation or removal/destruction of the heart and can pass their condition on like a contagion.

I was most impressed with the idea of a vampire’s ashes being exposed to the beams of the full moon and the vampire being restored back to corporeality due to this. It harked back to the Vampyre and Varney the Vampire, the very roots of the genre. The novel also looked forward by mentioning a show, new on the block at the time, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

As I say, not classic literature, but competent writing, exhibiting a love of the show and essential pulpy goodness for fans of the series, 6.5 out of 10.


everlost said...

I loved forever favourite of all the vampire series i think...tru blood might be close, but then i think thats because its so new.

Blade also had a "nearly vampire" creature, the one stuck down in the pit that the heroine of the piece so nicely beat about the head with a bone.

Havent come across full moon bringing back vampires from the ashes before, is that commonplace out there?

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Everlost - re the moon. It's not common but was a staple in very early genre pieces that the moon could revive a vampire. Hence the fact that Varney the Vampire kept coming back as the moonlight kept finding him (until he threw himself into Vesuvious) and Ruthven is revived by the moon in the Vampyre. After these it kind of vanished off the radar, hence nice seeing it in this.