by Tim Powers
528 pages; $25.99
I was absolutely thrilled to receive a review copy of the newest book by one of my favorite authors. I probably squealed with glee! I have been a fan of Tim Powers' ever since I picked up a copy of Dinner at Deviant's Palace about 6 years ago at my local library. I have liked just about everything Tim Powers has ever written, which puts him ahead of Neil Gaiman, and closely tied with Jerry Pournelle. So far, the only work of Tim Powers that I haven't liked much was The Stress of Her Regard, the kind of prequel to Hide Me Among the Graves.
In interviews, Powers has said he didn't set out to create a sequel, he was simply fascinated by some strange events in the lives of the Rosettis, and when he did his usual digging into the subject, he found a surprising degree of overlap between the Rosettis and Lord Byron, John Keats, and other people who were the subject of the earlier book. Thus, it was only natural to write a book that continues the same secret history of the Nephilim.
It wasn't until I read Hide Me Among the Graves that I fully appreciated why I didn't like The Stress of Her Regard. Byron and Keats and the other characters spend nearly the entire book in thrall to the Nephilim. This fits, because the Nephilim are vastly more powerful than humans, and their patronage bestows enviable powers, yet I could never really wrap my mind around the unwillingness, or inability, of the poets to fully repudiate their vampiric masters. Intellectually, I can understand their plight, but emotionally I simply cannot connect with these men.
However, this made for a great setup in Hide Me Among the Graves, because the conflict between fighting the monsters, and literally embracing them was played out between, and in, each of the protagonists. This gave me something to cheer for, and something to hope against. For all that, I'm still not a vampire fan, or much of a fan of vampire stories. I like vanquishing vampires, but that exhausts my interest in the topic. Thus I enjoyed the book, but I won't be returning to it like I return to Last Call.