Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth
I admit, Blood Oath is not my usual read. Yes, I enjoy vampire stories but my usual vampire stories usually include a lot of romance, peppered with a little action. Blood Oath is exactly the opposite: a lot of action and no romance. However, when I learned that I had won an early reviewer's copy of The President's Vampire, the sequel to Blood Oath, my OCD-type personality required me to read the books in order :) Unfortunately, I did not receive my copy of The President's Vampire prior to its release, but I'm still going to read and review the book.
I am not a big reader of this type of book--politics, intrigue, saving the world for an unsuspecting public. I did, however, enjoy Blood Oath. We are introduced to Nathaniel Cade, a young man turned vampire in 1867 while on a whaling ship. He is discovered by agents of the US government and taken to President Andrew Johnson, who offers Cade the opportunity to work for the US government in return for pardoning his involvement in the deaths of his shipmates. After binding Cade with a blood oath, requiring him to serve the President of the United States and his appointed deputies. Cade has been in service to each President ever since. He is a well-guarded secret, only known to a few in the inner circle of the President, including his liaison/handler. Cade is responsible for handling any/all supernatural threats to the US.
Cade is a vampire/hero with some depth. He refuses to drink human blood, although he knows that eventually he will begin to age/decompose by only drinking animal blood. He takes his duties to his country/President very seriously, with or without the blood oath--although the constrictions sometimes placed on him by the blood oath can be very frustrating. He is the biggest hero in the US as well as the best kept secret. All he has is his duty.
Cade is being assigned a new liaison. Griff, his previous liaison for decades, is dying of cancer and it is time to train someone new. Enter Zach--the young, golden-boy of the current administration. He believes he is on the fast-track to power. Just when he believes he is being promoted to Chief of Staff, he gets blindsided by Cade--his new assignment will take him out of the spotlight and completely into the realm of covert ops. This is not exactly Zach's dream job. However, he soon settles in and is along for the ride.
The US is being threatened by fundamentalist terrorists believing they can create Frankenstein-monster-type super soldiers that are practically indestructible and live to destroy. They employ the services of Dr. Johann Konrad to animate the soldiers, as he is the man himself--the original Dr. Frankenstein, and an old nemesis of Cade.
The paranormal elements of the story make it unique. This could easily have been a story about a group of terrorists attempting an attack on Washington, DC in a more conventional manner. Cade's vampire assets enhance him as a hero, but his heroism would be there without being a vampire. Shadowy government organizations, a traitor in the inner circle, double & triple agents, these are all elements of a good spy thriller. Cade being a vampire with an enemy that can re-animate the dead just makes the story more interesting.
I don't believe that the paranormal elements of this story would put off readers who enjoy traditional spy thrillers. However, nor do I believe that Cade's being a vampire is enough to draw in the Twilight set. But, overall, this is a very good book with interesting characters and an exciting story line. There is a lot of potential for expanding Cade's story--both the present time line and the past and I look forward to reading what Mr. Farnsworth has to offer in the future.