FICTION / FANTASY /GODS
The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Seance For A Vampire from Titan Books
Published by Titan Books as part of the series The Further Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes. ISBN: 978 184 85 66774
It is difficult to find the words with which to characterize this chain of events. It was more than grotesque, it was fantastic. Parts of it almost unbelievable. You'll see Pirate, mesmerism, executions by hanging. Stolen treasure, murder, kidnapping, revenge and seduction. Women taken by force, attempts to materialize spirits of the dead . . .
So begins SEANCE FOR A VAMPIRE. Fred Saberhagen's foray into the realm of the undead. Bestselling co-author of the official movie tie-in for BRAM STOCKER'S DRACULA, Saberhagen pairs up two of the Victorian era's most enduring characters to create a powerful, entertaining adventure.
When two suspect psychics offer Ambrose Altamont and his wife the opportunity to contact their recently deceased daughter, the wealthy British aristocrat wastes no time in hiring Sherlock Holmes to expose their hoax. He arranges for the celebrated detective and Dr. Watson to attend the family's next seance, confident in Holmes' rationalist outlook on the situation.
But what starts as cruel mockery becomes deadly reality when young, beautiful Louisa Altamont appears to her parents in the flesh as one of the nosferatu--a vampire! The resulting chaos leaves one of the fraudulent spiritualists dead. Sherlock Holmes missing, and Dr. Watson alone and mystified. With time running out, Watson has no choice but to summon the only one who might be able to help--Holmes' vampire cousin, Prince Dracula.
Alternately narrated by Watson and the charismatic Dracula himself, SEANCE FOR A VAMPIRE demonstrates that heroes are sometimes found in the most unlikely places. Saberhagen has recast Bram Stoker's paragon of evil into a noble, witty and chillingly powerful character.
When Serlock Holmes disappears during an investigation involving a fraudulent spiritualist, Dr. Watson reluctantly summons the famous detective's distant cousin -- Count Dracula -- to save Holmes's life and solve a mystery centered sround a legend of pirates and buried treasure. [Library Journal]
Saberhagen is a dependable and prolific writer whose novels and short fiction have graced the field for decades now.
... a new adventure featuring both Dracula and his distant cousin, the inimitable Sherlock Holmes.
Not only does he do his job well as a literary historian, Saberhagen also does a pretty fair job of capturing the air of Conan Doyle's story-telling. There is indeed a fair amount of genuine sex and violence incorporated into this heated saga; but it is told so genteelly, it would be hard for the reader of even the most tender sensibilitiy to take offense.
Or maybe another way of putting it is that this is not a novel that clones Skipp, Schow, Spector, or even Poppy Z. Brite. Nope, this is not splatterpunk. Here we have quiet horror, exhuberant but mannered. What could easily be performed as overheated excess is kept reined in in the best Victorian manner.
Saberhagen on Masterpiece Theatre? Why the heck not? [Locus, by Edward Bryant]
It is difficult to find the words with which to characterize this chain of events. It was more than grotesque, it was fantastic. Parts of it almost unbelievable. You'll see. Pirates, mesmerism, executions by hanging. Stolen treasure, murder, kidnapping, revenge and seduction. Women taken by force, attempts to materialize the spirits of the dead . . .
I know what you are going to say. Everything in the above list is a bit out of the ordinary, but still the daily newspapers, those of any century you like, abound in examples. But in this case, the combination was unique. And soon you will see that I am not exaggerating about the fantasy. Some of my hearers may not even believe in the existence of vampires, may find that elementary starting point quite beyond credibility.
Never mind. Let those who have such difficulty turn back here, before we really start; they have no imagination and no soul.
Still with me? Very good. Actually, no one besides myself can tell the tale now, but I can relate it vividly--because with your indulgence, I will allow myself a little creative latitude as regards details, and also the luxury of some help in the form of several chapters written decades ago by another eyewitness. He, this other witness, who is now in effect becoming my co-author, was your archetypical Englishman, a somewhat stolid and unimaginative chap, but also a gentleman with great respect for truth and honor.
As it happens, I was nowhere near London's Execution Dock on the June morning in 1765 when the whole fantastic business may fairly be said to have begun. However, somewhere past the halfway point between that date and this, less than a single century ago in the warm summer of 1903, I lived through the startling conclusion. In that latter post-Victorian year, I happened to be on hand when the whole affair was pieced together logically by--will you begin to doubt me if I name him?--by a certain breathing man blessed with unequaled skills in the unraveling of the grotesque and the bizarre, a friend of the above eyewitness and also a distant relative of mine. And this adventure involving vampires and seances was enough, I think, to drive the logician to retirement.
But let me start at what I will call the beginning, in 1765 . . .