by M F White
I gave it 4 stars
Historical fiction / Crime / Horror
Summary: Set in the 12th century, as trial by jury is introduced to English law, Brisen finds himself standing in a gloomy courtroom. The murder and butchering of his betrothed and her physician is what he must now answer for, and their blood is unquestionably upon his hands…
Yet, Brisen Drake’s account of the events leading up their deaths shall call into question whether he was justified in killing them, as he relates of the dark and seemingly supernatural deeds of the physician, Brainard…
My thoughts: This is a blurb that got my attention immediately; not only is it historical fiction but it’s in a courtroom too – oh happy days! But this is one tale with a twist, and as soon as I saw mention of vampires I knew this would be a treat. Whilst I can’t generally relate to modern-day stories of zombies or tales of gore with an excessive outpouring of blood and other grisly organic matter, I find vampire stories slightly more credible. They have an essence of mysticism about them, even a certain polite charm – albeit tinged with blood. This short story (142 pages) didn’t disappoint.
Brisen Drake’s account of the events leading up to the deaths of the his fiancée and the physician lead us to believe in the possibility of vampires, and only go to prove the saying that ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’. He attempts to learn as much as he can in order to save Arethusa from being cursed and in doing so feels he then has to kill her for her own protection. He implies that she is obsessed to the point of madness by vampires and the same insanity is later his own undoing. The twist in the tale at the very end supports the adage that one should never judge a book by its cover. For this very act Brisen Drake is guilty as charged, but you could say he was the product of his own making.
An interesting read, short enough to be read in one go and intriguing enough to hold your attention to the end.