We watch the horror story from the First World War.
When Lord Henry Baltimore conjures the wrath of a vampire on one of the hellish battlefields of World War I, the world changes forever. An extremely contagious plague has been unleashed – a plague that even death cannot end.
Now a lonely soldier fighting the dark, Baltimore invites three old friends to a lonely inn – men whose travels and fantastic experiences make them believe in the evil that devours the soul of mankind.
As the men wait for their old friend, they tell each other their experiences of horror and horror and wonder about their part in Baltimore’s timeless struggle. Before night gives way to morning, they will know what to do to defeat the plague – and the creature Baltimore regards as its archenemy – for good.
Christopher Golden has already written a few horror novels, including for CrossCult. Some of them are pretty good, some are mediocre. Now he has written a vampire novel with Mike Mignola, who was probably more responsible for the drawings. As mentioned, this is illustrated, whereby the little pictures that are emblazoned on each page are in black and white and usually not very informative. For example, the images of gravestones are repeated on three sides one behind the other. And otherwise the pictures are rather dark or with large black areas and kept rather simple. Certainly a nice idea to loosen up, but they don’t really add value.
But the novel is really a success. As the title suggests, it’s about Lord Baltimore, who injured a vampire in World War I and subsequently turned into a vampire hunter. The novel is merged with real historical events, in this case with the flu epidemic at the end of the First World War. That works quite well, although the actual epidemic is somewhat of a secondary concern.
Because the main focus is on the characters and their suffering. And the story works extremely well too. This is certainly also due to the fact that said hero is given the necessary depth. At the beginning there is a brief passage in which Baltimore’s motivation is presented, but then the story turns to three companions who are waiting in an economy for Baltimore and get to know each other. This is used to let each of the heroes tell their story: We learn how each of them met demons and defeated them.
You almost get the impression that completely different stories are being told. Because these three episodes are quite different and actually have little to do with the vampires. Nevertheless, they are told quite well and bring the characters closer to the reader so that one can cheer for them until the end. And even when the plot turns back to Baltimore, who slaughters everything that comes before the gun in classic vampire hunter style, that’s still well written.
Only the end is a little hasty and unspectacular. After the great start you would have expected something different. In the overall view, however, this may just about be bearable.
Sure, the vampire story itself wouldn’t have provided enough material to carry the whole book. Therefore the decoupling with the three other heroes was also necessary. And you probably won’t win innovation prizes with it either – at least not the vampire part. Nonetheless, the characters are well-written and that way manage to keep the story exciting. You are welcome to add a second volume here.
(4 / 5)
Information: A copy of this edition has been given to the author by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of review.
|Author:||Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden|
|Original title:||Baltimore or the steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire|
|Year of publication (original):||2008|
|Number of pages:||363|