Necroscope II: Vamphyri! by Brian Lumley
Warning: This review will contain spoilers for the previous book, Necroscope.
Suggestion: Try to ignore the horrible cover art.
Necroscope II: Vamphyri! Or (Wamphyri!) is the second book in Brian Lumley’s NECROSCOPE series. These horror novels follow the life and death of Harry Keogh, the Necroscope. As the only person who can talk to the dead, he is beloved by them and, since most people who have ever lived are currently dead, he has more friends than anyone else in the world… and these friends are willing to do favors for Harry. One thing they do is teach him, so Harry has become extensively educated by geniuses who have had a lot of time to think since they died. That’s how Harry learned to travel through time and space on the Mobius Continuum. When things get dangerous, or evil threatens to overcome the earth, the dead are also willing to be raised up as a temporary zombie army at Harry’s command. As you can see, Harry has a lot of power.
In Necroscope II: Vamphyri! (you’ll want to read the previous book, Necroscope, first), Harry must again contend with an ancient evil vampire named Thibor Ferenczy, otherwise known as “the thing in the ground.” Thibor has been there for over a thousand years, attempting to enthrall humans when he can lure them close enough to his resting place. This time he infects the fetus of a newlywed woman who is honeymooning in Rumania. She gives birth to a boy named Yulian who becomes increasingly like the vampire who, basically, fathered him, and even begins obeying his commands from afar. Yulian, though young, is a nasty piece of work and his activities provide much of the “horror” element of this story.
Harry died in the previous book, but he has a connection with his own infant son and is able to manifest himself in such a way that he can communicate with the British agency he was working with before he died. He can only do this when the baby is sleeping, though. Thibor knows what Harry is doing and warns Yulian of the threat. This puts Harry Jr. in jeopardy.
Meanwhile the cold war between the English and Russian paranormal activity agencies continues to heat up. Those Russians are pretty nasty, too, or at least most of them are, but they’re willing to cooperate with the British to learn more about the Vamphyri. However, they can’t really be trusted.
Vamphyri! is exactly like its predecessor in level of horror, tone, and writing style. The prose is rich, with long passages describing gothic architecture (flying buttresses!) and toe-curling torture scenes. The book is long and sometimes feels cluttered with extensive backgrounds of minor characters who quickly end up as vampire fodder. Many readers will love this, as it contributes to the dark gothic feel of the novel, while others will become impatient to get back to the meat of the story. Some of the scenes, such as the one where Yulian is christened, are truly nightmarish.
There are 18 NECROSCOPE stories, so we’ve still got a long way to go. I’m hoping Macmillan Audio is going to produce all of them. I love James Langton’s performance. I’ll be reading the next book, The Source, right away.