Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Krimson – review

Author: Thomas Emson

First published: 2010

Contains spoilers

The blurb: And you thought politics was bad before…

There’s something lurking in the shadows of the Government. A secret organization made up of the descendants of Nebuchadnezzar, whose most ambitious member, Jaqueline Burrows, has her eye on No. 10 Downing Street. With her at the helm, Britain will close its borders and become a haven for the plague of vampires she intends to release.

Most of the populace is unaware of the impending threat, so it’s up to folk-hero Jake Lawton, his girlfriend, an ex-drug-dealer, a young Chinese immigrant, and a frightened boy to stop what seems like certain death for an entire country.

The review: This is the sequel to Skarlet and the second of a trilogy entitled the Vampire Trinity. With the first book we received a modern horror with a plague of ravening, bestial vampires and the attempt to resurrect one of three vampire Gods.

This book is set three years later. The government has successfully covered up the previous events but the Nebuchadnezzars are at it again, wanting to take control of the British Government, resurrect the other two vampire Gods in one body and poison London’s water supply with the essence of vampirism, in order to create an army of the living dead. Jake Lawton is a wanted man, working through an underground network to find out where vampires may be and killing them, whilst subsisting on winnings from illegal bare-knuckle fights.

When I reviewed the first novel I mentioned aspects that stretched back in history, I also commented on their brevity within the book. This volume covers a lot more past ground. We have scenes involving the vampire hunter Vlad Ţepeş and many scenes from Babylon, ruled by the vampire Lord (and father of the three vampire Gods) Nimrod. The great hunter lived below the tower he had built (Babel). Using Jewish/Islamic legend, Emson builds a background where prophecy suggests the appearance of a scarred man who could destroy Nimrod and thus he orders the slaughter of the children of Babylon. One woman escapes and her child is Abraham and, having discovered Yahweh, he defeats and buries Nimrod, bringing down the tower. He denies being the scarred man however.

There is also an aspect of social commentary. The Nebuchadnezzars are working with human traffickers to bring illegal immigrants into the UK – using them as vampire chow. Lawton targets these dockside feeding frenzies to kill vampires and he burns the bodies of any victims to prevent them rising. This is being portrayed in the press as Lawton attacking immigrants and the book maintains Daily Mail style commentary from characters about the evils of immigration. At the end of the book, however, it is the immigrants who raise an army to face the vampires and defend Britain. The book feeds us a nice lesson in the positives that immigration has brought to the UK.

So, a socio-political lesson, a twist on Jewish/Islamic myth, the reclamation of Ţepeş as a hero rather than a villain and brutal, nasty vampires tearing through the streets of London. What’s not to love. 7.5 out of 10.

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