Blood Maidens (James Asher Vampire)
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It’s 1911. War is coming, and according to one of the vampires of St. Petersburg, the Kaiser is trying to recruit vampires. James Asher, Oxford don and formerly on His Majesty’s Secret Service, is forced to team up again with his vampire partner Don Simon Ysidro for a journey to the subarctic Russian capital. Are they on the trail of a rogue vampire with a plan to achieve the power to walk in daylight? Asher wonders. Or is Ysidro’s real agenda to seek the woman he once loved? . . .
reported. I’m looking for one within the past two months.’ If you can’t start at one end, start at the other . . . at least until Lydia’s report arrives. The Russian was silent for a moment, blue eyes narrowing. Asher wondered if he – or anyone – had heard or read reports of what had been found in the old palace in the ancient section of Constantinople, from which he and Lydia had emerged on a winter morning in 1909: four or five charred bodies, consumed almost totally with no evidence of pyre
the spiritual evolution of the Soul of Humankind.’ She pressed Lydia’s hands between her own. ‘And its physical well-being,’ she added, with a smile at Razumovsky. ‘How mysterious is the bond that binds the flesh with the spirit, the physical heart with the soul that dwells within! Dearest Andrei –’ she put her arm through the Prince’s – ‘tells me you are a physician yourself, Madame . . . Such a formal title, Madame! Might I call you Lydia? So much more natural! And please do call me Stana!
man together, it would bring him – Asher – to the perilous attention of the Berlin vampires; yet he doubted Ysidro had enough knowledge of the inner workings of the Intelligence game to be able to spot evasions and lies. Under the high, glass-and-iron roof, the train platforms seethed with activity: three officers in gray jackets detraining yet more workers for the fortifications, wandering parties of lost American tourists – in clothes like those they couldn’t be anything but Americans – and
adrenalin, which Lydia had informed him was a common glandular reaction to stress. He recalled what it had felt like to love being Abroad. For two days he’d been reading War and Peace, so that enough of his rusty Russian had come back to him to engage porters and summon a cab. It was Lent – not, Asher knew, that that would slow St Petersburg society down much, with the exception of the Tsar and his pious Empress. As the porter’s wagon slithered and skidded its way towards the first of the
land exactly as if those peasants were still the medieval serfs they had been up until the days of Napoleon. But, for the most part, these were the houses of the wealthy industrialists whose factories worked day and night to provide weapons and munitions for Germany’s armies, and the marketable goods for the colonial empire that Germany intended to enlarge with victory. Carriage horses, matched down to the height of their white stockings, drew shiny victorias under the new-leafed trees: young