Friday, August 15, 2014

Kardinal – review

Author: Thomas Emson

First Published: 2012

Contains spoilers

The Blurb: The vampires are rising again and humanity is on the brink. In Britain, the undead’s allies are about to triumph in a General Election, while in Iraq, they seek the god of the vampires so it can be unleashed on the world. There is only one hope:


But badly wounded, and possibly infected from the very plague he fights, Lawton is haunted by visions and dreams. And they lead him to the resting place of an ancient creature with whom he must forge an alliance if he is to save his friends, his country, and his species.

The review: As I read the first two books of this series, Skarlet and Krimson, I was very struck with the mythology that Emson builds into his books. This is a mythology that brings us a biblical menace of epic proportions, a Babylonian vampire god who was neutralised (but not killed) by Abraham. A history that touches on Vlad Ţepeş, who in this was a hunter of the vampire plagues.

Yet beyond all this it was the social commentary that I founded intriguing, Indeed Skarlet said some very interesting things about immigration that counterpoints the demonization that goes on in the right wing UK press. In this we get a strong commentary on the rise of the far right, the thugs it attracts and the lies it tells to popularise itself. Indeed we get a Britain that becomes a place of terror, with people rounded up and sent off to camps as breeders, workers or food as the human allies, the Nebuchadnezzars, seize control of the country. However controlling a God proves less easy…

Strong writing and a pace that is breakneck at times, this volume does what many writers of a trilogy would hope for. It becomes greater than the sum of its earlier parts and thus the most satisfying book of the series. 8 out of 10.

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