Necroscope II – Wamphyri – Brian Lumley (1988)
One feels that Lumley regretted having killed off Harry Keogh in the first novel, ‘Necroscope‘, and felt duty bound to bring him back. Harry is not exactly dead but in an incorporeal state wandering around in the Moebius continuum while tethered psychically to his unborn son.
Much of the narrative is given over to the backstories of Faethor and Thibor Ferenczy, ancient vampires of Romania. Thibor, one will recall from ‘Necroscope I’ is the one from whom Boris Dragosani received his vampire egg.
This is not the only way however that vampires can create new vampires. Following a skiing accident, Georgina and Ilyan Bodescu end up on top of Thibor’s grave. Ilyan is dead, but Georgina is alive and pregnant. While she lies there unconscious the insidious pseudopods of Thibor’s vampire flesh enter her body and infect the unborn child.
And so, in England, Yulian Bodescus grows up and inevitably draws the attention of the UK E-branch who elect to contact their Russian counterparts to fight against a common foe, aided by the ghostly presence of Harry Keogh.
The good guys have to battle both vampires and the KGB, which makes this part-horror, part spy thriller with a little SF rationale thrown in for good measure. Lumley’s vampires are symbiotic beasties that live within the human body, giving the host strength and longevity in return for blood, although here Lumley slightly confuses the issue with Yulian’s christening, an Omen type scene, which seems to suggest a supernatural religious element, given that the baby so vehemently did not want to be baptised that storms erupted and the vicar died of shock. Logically, it should not matter to these vampires whether they are baptised or not.
Lumley orchestrates the entire shooting-match very well and pulls the threads together into a satisfactory denouement. The author, for all his faults – this novel in particular is a little overburdened with characters, many of whom are one-dimensional – has a solid fan base. Although the Necroscope books will never be thought of as great literature, Lumley has certainly brought some new blood and a novel concept to the vampire genre.