January 27, 2011

Arts & Literature, Reviews

Written by D:

See how much I love you chaps, I’m reading yet another vampire novel. This time it’s Twelve by Jasper Kent. I scoured the shelves of a number of London bookshops trying to find something which wasn’t billed as ‘Teenage Dark Fantasy’ but was still vampire related. And this is what I came up with. Be grateful, it was tough.

This novel is the modern-day horror, backstairs love child of Dracula and War and Peace. Set in Russia during Napoleon’s invasion of 1812, a dozen mercenaries from the ‘south’ are helping the Russians fight a mysteriously successful guerilla war in French occupied Moscow. What the cold weather and the diminishing food can’t do, these twelve men alone are succeeding at, namely, putting the fear of God into the French with savage and random attacks on its soldiery. Four Russians officers are in supposed to be in charge of these proceedings but quickly it transpires that they have very little control over their eerily effective, mysterious mercenaries.

The vampires in this novel are the bad guys, pure and simple. The hero is a Captain in the Russian army, who gradually discovers just how disturbingly unusual his guns for hire really are. There’s plenty of biblical illusions, which are sometimes a little heavy handed, and the action is mainly of a ‘boy’s own’ type, fighting and espionage and the like. I’m only 200 pages in, so can’t give away the ending even if I wanted to, but I’ll keep you posted. So far, it’s pretty readable and jolly good fun.

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