cover image Pale Guardian

Pale Guardian

Barbara Hambly. Severn, $28.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8677-4

Hambly’s seventh James Asher vampire novel (following Darkness on His Bones) blends excellent historical detail and skilled characterization with Gothic intrigue. Dr. Lydia Asher works as a volunteer medic at the front lines near Ypres in March, 1915. Her husband, James, convalescing from pneumonia, is home in England, and her self-appointed vampire protector, Don Simon Ysidro, has followed her to the battle lines—where every other vampire in Europe has already clustered, feeding on the terminal wards. Despite her hatred for vampires and everything they represent, Lydia is forced to work with Simon, and James with the vampires of London, to stop an even greater threat: mindless revenants who feed on human and vampire alike. The revenants are as contagious as they are deadly, and they have begun to appear in the trenches. Hambly’s affecting situations hold real moral weight, marred only by her occasional over-reliance on standard thriller tropes. Agent: Fran Collin, Frances Collin Literary. (Apr.)