Friday, August 29, 2008
Friday's Forgotten Books: "Those Who Hunt the Night"
Picking up the thread started by Patti Abbott a few months back, I'd like to use today to draw attention to a really fun book, Barbara Hambly's "Those Who Hunt the Night."
I first became aware of Hambly's work through her Benjamin January series, a wonderful mystery series set in New Orleans before the Civil War. Her hero, Benjamin January, is a free person of color whose mother is a placeé and whose sister is a voodoienne. Trained as a physician in Paris, Benjamin has returned to his native city to find an influx of Americans, who don't understand the complex race relations in a city where African American citizens may own slaves. It's a great series, and I recommend it highly.
But while I was on vacation, I stumbled across another Hambly title in a used bookstore. I'd heard that Hambly had written fantasy before she turned to mysteries, but this lovely, fun adventure/mystery is well grounded in historical reality. Well, sort of... The period is early 1900, the dawning of a new "modern" age. Her hero, James Asher, is an Oxford professor, and his wife, Lydia, is a researcher. They are both so well grounded in science that you can imagine their skepticism when they are confronted by a vampire who claims to have been "turned" in the 16th Century. He needs their help to find out who is killing his undead colleagues – and he's willing to hold humanity hostage. By the time Ysidro wins over James and Lydia, I was totally won over as well. I'm not usually a reader of fantasy or "woo woo," but this engaging novel worked. Let's revive it from the dead!
PS. Check out Patti's blog for more forgotten books.