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 placeƩ 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.


pattinase (abbott) said...

This is an outstanding novel. Blew me away when I read it. Glad to have you back this week.

Bill Crider said...

My wife and I both liked this one a lot.

Clea Simon said...

Thanks for the confirmation, folks. And thanks to Tim's Books in Provincetown for stocking it!