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Book Of The Vampire by Nigel Suckling illustrated by Bruce Pennington

01/09/2008. Contributed by Geoff Willmetts

Buy Book Of The Vampire in the USA - or Buy Book Of The Vampire in the UK

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pub: Facts, Figures & Fun/AAPPL. 224 page medium sized illustrated hardback. Price: 14.99 (UK), $24.95 (US), $26.95 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-904332-82-4.

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Unlike the previous 'Facts, Figures & Fun' books, this is a bigger and lengthy tome where author Nigel Suckling gives you the rundown and bite-checks on fictional and real-life vampires and where the two cross over each other. Obviously, with such a book there's bound to be large sections devoted to the famous Count as well as his nasty real-life counterpart, Vlad the Impaler, who if he wasn't a vampire was certainly a homicidal sadist of the highest order.

Suckling not only covers him but also Camille and her real-life counter-part Countess Elisabeth Bathory who saw bathing in the blood of freshly killed children as a means to keep a fresh complexion. The same could also be said for Bluebeard although he preferred to use his brides for such an honour.

This book follows the various vampire myths across the world as well as unravelling where some of them derive from. In earlier centuries it wasn't uncommon for people to be buried alive. Without embalming and proper medical checks, let alone people who were severely comatose. With superstition rife, it was no wonder myths became exaggerated. Interestingly, Suckling points out the 'vampire' actually means 'plague-carrier' which no doubt added to people's worries. It is 'nosferatu' which means 'undead'. No matter how bad the vampires of myth were, it is the real-life people who were associated with such myths who were the real monsters, more so as they hid behind their titled royal blood and for the most part, untouchable...well, until they were investigated by their peers.

It's a big difficult to go on like this without giving away a lot of the fascinating information here. You should be able to tell from my own enthusiasm that I've found this an in-depth read.

About the only thing sorely missing which would make this book a superb reference book is an index. Having said that, if you can't come away from this book without being well informed about all kinds of vampires then I would be very much surprised. This book is well worth spending on for this reason.

GF Willmetts

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This book has 22 votes in the sci-fi charts

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