Tuesday, July 19, 2022

The Name of Fear Collection: Tales of Anton the Undying – review

Author: Scott Harper

First published: 2022

Contains spoilers  

The Blurb: Rome may have fallen, but its greatest hero still fights to keep the supernatural world in check.

Once a powerful gladiator, Anton is now a vampire enforcer tasked with eliminating creatures that expose the secret supernatural society hidden within our world. But not all monsters are willing to lay low—some passionately yearn for a return to the good old days when they fed openly and dominated humanity. These diehards will go to any lengths to achieve their goal, even if it means destroying Anton. But Anton guards a terrible ancient secret, and those foolish enough to challenge him soon discover there are things even monsters fear.

The review: An original series of stories by Scott Harper, what this collection lacks for in length is more than made up for in crisp, pithy prose that were a joy to read. The author develops an urban fantasy world, with vampires very much at the top of the food chain and primary character Anton the enforcer, or Cacciatore, for his sire and Mortark (or supernatural leader) Bregit. The vampires are powerful in this and thus the enemies they face equally powerful and the stories give a great grounding in the world the author has shaped for the novels. We also get a strong background for Anton – a gladiator before being turned – and all this conspires to make a fine opening for, what I assume to be, a series of stories.

The lore sees a vampire’s aptitude impacted by their first kill and, after the use of a stake to paralyse, they are killed through the trusty triumvirate of behead, immolate and scatter the remains in flowing water (the latter helping to dissipate the dark magic that animates them). They are shapeshifters and can slip through small openings or increase their size.

I really enjoyed this foray into the world of Anton the Undying, was heartened by the inclusion of a mythos aspect, with an old God, and look forward to future stories. Tempered with the fact that the volume is short, 8 out of 10.

In Paperback @ Amazon US

In Paperback @ Amazon UK

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