Monday, June 30, 2014

A Love Like Blood – review

Author: Marcus Sedgwick

First published: 2014

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: I've chased him for over twenty years, and across countless miles, and though often I was running, there have been many times when I could do nothing but sit and wait. Now I am only desperate for it to be finished.

In 1944, just days after the liberation of Paris, Charles Jackson sees something horrific: a man, apparently drinking the blood of a murdered woman. Terrified, he does nothing, telling himself afterwards that worse things happen in wars.

Seven years later he returns to the city - and sees the same man dining in the company of a fascinating young woman. When they leave the restaurant, Charles decides to follow...

A LOVE LIKE BLOOD is a dark, compelling thriller about how a man's life can change in a moment; about where the desire for truth - and for revenge - can lead; about love and fear and hatred. And it is also about the question of blood.

The review: A love Like Blood is a book that works precisely because it steps away from the atypical vampire tropes and delivers a first person account of obsession and blood with a wonderfully strong narrative.

Charles Jackson, the narrator, was called into active service towards the end of the second world war and was a doctor in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps). Whilst stationed outside Paris, following the liberation, his CO takes him to a private museum as he wishes to see a piece. Whilst in there Charles sees an Assyrian bowl that depicts a man copulating with a decapitated woman – the woman having been identified as a vampire and the image serving as a talisman against such creatures.

Charles has already confessed to having a strangely obsessional reaction to blood and when he looks inside a bunker in the museum’s grounds he sees a man apparently drinking the blood of a woman. The RAMC were unarmed but, rather than go to her aid, he backs away. By the time he returns the man and the woman(‘s body) are gone.

It is the first time that he crosses paths with the vampire but not the last and he, meanwhile, returns to civilian life and takes up haematology as a specialism. When he falls for a woman who is involved with the vampire (identified at that point as a Estonian Margrave of considerable private means) disaster follows and, following disaster comes obsession.

The vampire is, more properly, a living man suffering from clinical vampirism. All in all it is the voice of the narrator (who himself is of flawed character) that carries the novel but I did like the way Sedgwick played with the sexual and obsessional tropes associated with the supernatural vampire. Definitely worth a read. 7 out of 10.


Unknown said...

INteresting review, I might give it a try! I made a blog post about Bram Stocker's Dracula if you fancy
Have a good day :)

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Hey Elisabeth - thanks for the comment and if you do give it a try I hope you enjoy.

I had a read of your blog piece - good write up. I'm a tad doubtful of the closeness to the novel of the 1992 Dracula (bar the inclusion of the core suitors, which is unusual) but it is indeed a wonderful, sumptuous gothic delight

Unknown said...

Hi Taliesin,

Sorry for the first bit, it was the official resume from IMDB, the movie is all lot different (between the rape of mina, the death of Lucy and her mother)...ahh i need to blog about the book now! hehe thank you for your comment!
I love that movie!

Taliesin_ttlg said...

no worries :)