Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Pumpkin Seed – review

Author: Timothy C Hobbs

First Published: 2009

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: “I am a drinker of human blood and an eater of human flesh, a monster dressed in the skin of a man.” So states Charles, the main character of the novel, after being infected with a virus transmitted by an insect vector.

The Pumpkin Seed opens in India near the Nepal border in the late 17th century. A commissioned officer of the East India Company is seeking a profitable new trade route into China. Indian bandits of the Thuggie clan attempt to stop this further invasion by the British and release a plague of insects, which carry a unique virus. This organism not only infects humans, it transforms the chemical and physical nature of the host’s body. Longevity, resilience and the need to feed on human blood and flesh make the host an efficient killing machine, especially in regard to the human race. The novel follows the characters through 17th and 18th century England and India, culminating in present day Austin, Texas.

Set in the orphanages of London and in the vile body snatching trade, a host of characters, who are as despicable as their deeds, search for the truth and a cure for their malady.

The Review: The Pumpkin Seed is an e-book available via Vamplit Publishing and, in short, I found it a fascinating read.

It begins in India in 1798 and ranges through modern day Austin and the foggy streets of Victorian London. All this is in the form of diaries and from the point of view of Dr Glenn Russell, a modern day character infected with the disease behind vampirism.

For, in this, vampirism is a disease. The disease causes the individual's organs to become more efficient and, due to a higher reliance on myoglobin, the infected crave flesh and blood. The musculature thickened protecting the individual from damage and increasing strength and the canines were replaced with new fangs. The disease would offer longevity though not immortality.

It could be passed on through infection or genetics, though the sexual drive of the male vampire decreased. After one ejaculation they become impotent, and prior to that only the scent of an infected female could arouse them enough to make that one shot, as it were.

Russell’s predecessors had discovered that foetal tissue could stave off their hunger for weeks. Whilst developing a high immunity to disease, they can be infected with illness. Certainly they suspect a venereal disease carried by a foetus caused the rapid aging of two of their number. We do not, in some respects, escape the walking dead – some of the infected in India contracted leprosy, the latter disease rotting their bodies and the former preserving their lives so they become shadowy ghouls that haunted cemeteries.

The vampires in this book are more resilient than non-infected humans, but generally can be killed by any means that would kill any person.

The writing was excellent. Hobbs' opening chapter, set in India, hooked the reader and his characterisation was top notch. I did wonder where the book was going at times, whilst the back story was rich our destination seemed obscure. The answer eventually did come and whilst the conclusion is brief, to be fair the ultimate outcome of the book demands such.

On a negative level, I hate the cover as I feel it has nothing to do with the book and misrepresents the contents; and if that’s the most negative thing I can say then I hope you can see that this is a book well worth your time. 7.5 out of 10.


Christine said...

Sounds good - vampires in Victorian London - albeit gruesome!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

definitely woth looking at Christine - only available as an e-book though

Anonymous said...

Wow, congrats to fellow Vamplit Author Tim on a rockin' review! Thanks for posting, Taliesin! I'm so glad you enjoyed it, as Tim deserves the praise he gets for such an intricate novel.

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Nicole, I have won a few Vamplit books via your blog and they will all get a write-up eventually - once I have read them, because clearly they all deserve proper attention - but Tim's book hit many a spot for me and kudos to him for that.

BTW, I didn't comment on the sample chapter of your next book and there was a reason. I haven't read, because I want to read it as a whole - and seriously that is because I enjoyed release and don't want to cheapen the next part by not taking it in as it is meant to be.

Timothy Hobbs said...

Thanks so much for your kind review,Taliesin. I am so happy to get feedback on my novel. I am very grateful to Nicole for offering it on her blog as it gave the oportunity to have THE PUMPKIN SEED read.
Best wishes,

Taliesin_ttlg said...

No probs Tim, thanks for stopping by.

Nicole, I re-read my last comment and it doesn't read as clearly as I intended.

What I was trying to say is that I enjoyed Release and want to read the sequel in its entirety, rather than piecemeal, as reading bits out of context will (for me, because of the way my mind is wired) cheapen the experience of reading the whole book...

That is just me however and I am sure that other readers will give you valuable feedback on the excerpt you posted.

Anonymous said...

No need to explain further, Taliesin -- I completely understand and I thank you for your interest in the sequel! I only hope it's as good as the first; there was something unique about Release, having been set during WWII and all.

Tim -- I'm very happy to have showcased your work, especially since it gave Taliesin an opportunity to find a book that he enjoyed immensely, which is always a great experience.

Now speaking of sequels, it seems like one to The Pumkin Seed ought to be in the works!

Marissa Farrar said...

Well done Tim - great review! One of these days I will get round to reading other Vamplit books (I promise!!!). Congrats again and thanks to Taliesin for all your support. Marissa.