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Blood Oath: The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

1/09/2010. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Blood Oath: The President's Vampire in the USA - or Buy Blood Oath: The President's Vampire in the UK

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pub: Hodder & Stoughton. 390 page enlarged paperback. Price: 12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-340-99814-4).

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The title, 'Blood Oath: The President's Vampire', is a direct link with the book that inspired it. The President's Vampire is the true story about US President Andrew Jackson who pardoned a vampire. The modern novel takes this story as a starting point, spinning a scenario set in contemporary times; a little 'West Wing' meets 'Angel'.

Nathanial Cade, the vampire, is bound by a blood oath to serve the President of the United States. The newly inaugurated President is always presented with him on taking office, like a gift basket or not. Cade's human handler is about to retire, his health is fading and new blood is needed. Enter Zach Burrows, the hot-shot politico who thinks his star is rising. Meeting the vampire for the first time, he has to acknowledge all that darkness is really out there and it's a sharp tug to earth and under it. Like the majority of the White House staff, he was completely ignorant of the subterranean activities of the vampire agent. Zach, as the new political liaison officer, must learn rapidly to deal or be dealt. He has to survive on his wit, charm and his attempts to get under the skin of the vampire to make them a real team. No mean feat when the eternal has seen and done it all already.

Together, they must form a team of fast-response to known and unknown supernatural threats. The plot is based around the terrorist menace and the Iraq war. It is gruesome and some people may be offended by the reference to the U.S. armed forces.

Towards the end, it becomes increasingly obvious that characters are being set up for inclusion in the next episode. It does take a little away from the ending but overall it's a great read with some witty interaction peppered with incidental violence. I enjoyed the mix of the political and horror aspects. There is some good interaction between Zach and Cade in the tradition of mismatched partners. We also have a sort-of love interest for Cade and a Big Bad wannabee Frankenstein. All in all this is a fast-moving, easy-going piece of pulp that will be enjoyed by many.

You can see this genre is an attractive proposition given the success of the grisly 'True Blood' and as an antidote to the sickly 'Twilight' vampires-as-love-objects. This firmly places itself in the thriller genre and does a good job, I'm sure it will prove to a popular book series and if it's quick might also catch the TV gravy train.

Sue Davies

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