History states Tsar Nicholas II, his wife Alexandra, and their five children were executed on the morning of July 17, 1918 (OS). This contrasts suppressed documents citing the royal family mysteriously disappeared after fires ravaged Saint Petersburg in December 1916 (OS).
Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin was supposedly murdered by high-ranking Russian officials on December 16, 1916 (OS), for his unprecedented and perceived nefarious influence over the royal family. He was poisoned, shot twice, and clubbed into submission, yet remained alive. His attackers finally drowned him underneath the icy Neva River.
Rasputin’s autopsy was reportedly performed three days later by Professor Kossorotov, a high-ranking Okhrana agent and future Kremlin operative. Cause of death: drowning. The document states Rasputin broke free of his bindings and his fingernails showed signs he’d tried to claw through the ice.
The stories surrounding Rasputin’s death are gross falsifications. His body was never recovered for examination, and his status within the Russian intelligence community to this day remains: At Large.
This is the true story of Rasputin’s paranormal coup d'etat and his conjuring of ancient vampires that destroyed Saint Petersburg, Russia, in December 1916.
History is a lie. The truth will be exposed.
In prose designed to be read aloud with lurid glee—“The river that slithers below the Carpathian peaks sucks all life and hope into its sinuous network of vessels”—Gage makes a welcome return to vampires that are heartless, cold, and deadly, designed for readers to hate and fear. He adds in giant vampire bats that turn into horrifying Nosferatu, “savage, manlike vampire gods,” on the ground. Readers are immersed in a well researched and turbulent Russia, with instability and looming revolution building tension, and will feel the dangers of walking the darkened streets with a vicious serial killer lurking around the corner. Every train ride, shadow, and moment of eerie quiet perfectly creates a feeling of foreboding.
As the heinous vampires deliver death and destruction, the few characters willing to fight stay strong. The battle never feels entirely lost, and readers will hold out hope for at least a somewhat happy ending. On every page, this supernatural historical delivers abundant thrills and chills.
Takeaway: This wonderfully terrifying blend of bloody history and vicious vampires will hold supernatural suspense fans in thrall.
Great for fans of Sarah Pinborough’s Mayhem, Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A