An attempt by a half way educated Kiwi, who reads just a bit, to get his puny mind around the great world of literature!!
Thursday, September 1, 2011
The Secret History Of Elizabeth Tudor, Vampire Slayer - Lucy Weston
I like vampires...hang on a minute, no I don't!! And since everyone knows vampires are real, I hope that I never actually meet one of the bloodsuckers. Ha ha ha, anyway vampires as a fictional creation are quite cool, and open up an incredible field for a writer to explore imaginatively. Lucy Weston is yet another who has jumped into the vampire genre, and in doing so has written a worth while novel, the first of a series.
Lucy Weston has taken a not wholly original approach to the novel, but it is still good enough to work for her. She purports to actually be the Lucy Westerna of Bram Stoker's novel Dracula. She has changed her name to Weston to avoid detection in her vampire form. She has apparently come into possession of Elizabeth Tudor's diaries which reveal she was a vampire slayer. Hopefully this hasn't put you off as sounding too preposterous, but remember this...it is only a story!
Weston opens the novel on the night Elizabeth was crowned Queen of England. She is called away unexpectedly that night to her mother's grave, Anne Boleyn, and finds she has a dark secret. The novel's premise basically infuses historical fiction with dark fantasy, and Arthurian legend. The result is very readable audacious mash up. It is written in the from of a first person narrative. Elizabeth is of course the main narrator but her vampire equivalent, Mordred, the son of King Arthur, also narrates his point of view of events as they transpire.
As stated the novel is a fusion of historical fact and fantasy. King Arthur's bastard son, Mordred, after the battle of Camdon, makes a deal with a vampire in the hope it will enable him to become king of England. It doesn't transpire and 1000 years later he has re-gained enough strength to enable him to make another attempt. Queen Elizabeth is related to Morgaine, Mordred's former lover through Anne Boleyn. It transpires they were vampire slayers and the power has passed on to Elizabeth.
Mordred approaches Elizabeth offering her a deal. Become a vampire, rule with him, and save England from the never seeming end of enemies that England has arrayed against her. As avampire Mordred is apparently a very beautiful creature, and Elizabeth is almost unable to resist him. The novel owes a debt to Dracula, as a character arrives who has been studying vampires in Europe called, Francis Walsingham. He is a quasi Van Helsing of course! If you know Dracula you'll recall one scene where a vampire nest is found in a big house brought by Dracula. In this novel the scene is replicated somewhat in homage in Southwark House.
But overall this novel, whilst acknowledging Bram Stoker, is its own animal. It is beautifully written, and whilst not overly original, Lucy Weston has a writing style that is well above competent, and simply a delight to read. This is what I take away from the novel the most. The text is elegant, flowery, with a quiet seductiveness that mirrors the seductive air of the novel. This is written from a females point of view and yet can be read by males equally. The sex scenes are quiet, lacking explicitness, and yet are quite clear on what is what. I liked them as Elizabeth comes across as a viable, believable 25 year old woman.
As a vampire novel don't expect loads of garlic, crosses, stakes and the likes. The plot is more historical based and the vampires a more seductive, classy creature than often portrayed. They drink fine wine, converse in educated manners, and sit by warm fires. Sure they 'feed' but not in the gruesome manner we would imagine. The thing here is Mordred's attempts to win Elizabeth over to vampirehood in order to gain the throne.
My only gripe is that this novel is one of a series. At 300 pages it follows the modern manner of being too short. And whilst I appreciate Weston's need to make a living, I wish she had written a longer novel with a definite conclusion. It would have for me been more satisfying than the ending of this.
So what do I think in conclusion? Well it is first of all beautifully written. Lucy Weston's prose is seductive, elegant, and very womanly in its point of view. But it isn't solely a chick's book as I found it immensely readable. I like the fusion of historical figures, with legend and the paranormal. But it is definitely too short, and I don't think serialising it is justified. I think a good solid tome would have been more satisfying, and Weston has provided more than enough premise to have done so. But overall a well written, easy reading novel.
Amazon has this with 3 1/2 stars from 19 reviews. I think that is a fair grade. I would give it a definte 4/5 if it was longer, and a stand alone novel with a conclusion. ( many don't like the writing style, but I think it is the novel's strongest trait ).