This was quite a departure for me. If I'm honest I'm not quite sure why I've always overlooked the horror/vampire genre – it's not as if I read a horror story and decided I didn't like it; for some reason, I've just never tried it.
G R Yeates has taken my horror fiction virginity; and yes, it was good for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
It is evident that the author is a very gifted writer; he has an outstanding command of the English language – his narrative is vivid, no detail is left to the imagination, the scene is set for you with every element described right down to minutiae and to complete perfection.
The story is set in the First World War – horrors of war alone are enough to shock, appal and disgust – but when three soldiers take refuge in a deserted, bombed church, what they find in the crypt is beyond a nightmare: it's chilling, frightening and abominable. As you eagerly turn the pages, absorbing the rich, abundant vocabulary that depicts every imaginable horror, you are periodically suddenly stopped in your tracks when you are brought into the parallel of reality.
And just as you think you're on the even keel of real life when the scene shifts to a war hospital which houses the senselessness and destruction of war and the appalling physical injuries and mental torture of brave young men who fought for their country, you are plunged back into merciless vampire terror.
The ending is one you race towards. Not only because you want to greedily devour more and more of the feast of illustrative words, but also because you are eager to know if it will end with the shape-shifting evil or if will we be jolted back to a scene of reality. The final curtain falls, not totally unexpectedly, but utterly satisfyingly.