Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Volume first published: 2010
The Blurb: My science is cursed. I meddled with impenetrable mysteries. My impious eye has sounded the depths of the tomb, and from there, I have made an infernal monster appear. Three days ago, you laughed at the notion of those creatures whose lives continue after death, but they exist, the vampires live!
Scotland, 1648. Sir William Clifford expects to receive the vast Ruthven estates after the death of the old Lord, but a young man suddenly appears, claiming to the be (sic) the new Lord Ruthven, and also claiming the hand of the beautiful Anna Clifford in marriage.
Only Anna's lover, Dr. Maxwell, knows the handsome stranger's ghastly secret—that he is a vampire returned from the grave!
The origins of the accursed Lord Ruthven are finally revealed for the first time in Volume 3 of this unique trilogy, which includes Lord Ruthven Begins, an 1868 play by Jules Dornay and The Confession of Mary Queen of Scots Regarding Lord Ruthven, an all-new story by playwright and translator Frank J. Morlock.
The review: This is the third Ruthven volume by Black Coat Press and, in honesty, after the volumes Lord Ruthven the Vampire and the Return of Lord Ruthven this feels a little like an after-thought.
Regular readers know that I am a big fan of Black Coat Press and so it pains me to say it, but it has neither the breadth of material of the first book or the fantastic penmanship of Dumas from the second book.
It isn’t really a Ruthven either. Actually Dornay’s play was Douglas le Vampyre and it is within this volume that the character of Lord Douglas has been renamed Ruthven. The reasoning is clear as the play is clearly based upon earlier Ruthven plays – indeed some moments are lifted wholesale from earlier Ruthven plays. That said the actions of one of the characters, Fanny, make the character ahead of her time. Lore is changed – whilst moonlight can revive the vampire it becomes more complex than previously seen:
“The vampire can be reborn three times. Life can be returned to the body when it is exposed to the action of lunar rays, before its remains have been confided to the Earth again; like a living man, it is subject to the chances other men run of death, and when for a third time, it has perished by a violent death, all resurrection is impossible. It returns to nothingness.”
The story also has a vampiric death by lightning – put down, in this case, to being an act of God.
The additional piece by Morlock is a short, teasing piece that attempts to offer us an origin for Ruthven’s vampirism.
So, the play has a little to offer lore wise but this is perhaps one for the serious collector/student rather than those having a casual flirtation with Ruthven. 5.5 out of 10.