Winter 1862, London. Adelaide McKee, a former prostitute, arrives on the doorstep of veterinarian John Crawford, a man she met once seven years earlier. Their brief meeting produced a child who, until now, had been presumed dead. McKee has learned that the girl lives - but that her life and soul are in mortal peril from a vampiric ghost. But this is no ordinary spirit; the bloodthirsty wraith is none other than John Polidori, the onetime physician to the mad, bad, and dangerous Romantic poet Lord Byron. Both McKee and Crawford have mysterious histories with creatures like Polidori, and their child is a prize the malevolent spirit covets dearly.
Polidori is also the late uncle and supernatural muse to poet Christina Rossetti and her brother, painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti. When she was just fourteen, Christina unwittingly brought Polidori's curse upon her family. But the curse bestowed unexpected blessings as well, inspiring both Christina and Gabriel's work. But when Polidori resurrects Dante's dead wife - turning her into a vampire - and threatens other family members, Christina and Dante agree they must destroy their monstrous uncle and break the spell, even if it means the end of their creative powers.
Determined to save their daughter, McKee and Crawford join forces with the Rossettis, and soon these wildly mismatched allies are plunged into a supernatural London underworld whose existence goes beyond their wildest imaginings. Ultimately, each of these disparate individuals - the sensitive poet, the tortured painter, the straitlaced animal doctor, the reformed prostitute, and even their Artful Dodger - like young daughter - must choose between the banality and constraints of human life and the unholy immortality that Polidori offers.
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One More Mortal Sin
- Dave "I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out."
Good, creepy vampire story
The narrator. This is only my second Audible book, but Fiona Hardingham was lovely, and I'm thinking about trying The Scorpio Races just because she narrates it. She's got a pleasant voice, doesn't narrate too slowly, and does the various British accents with better skill and fluency than most American narrators would.
It was also refreshing to read a vampire story without romance or teen angst. The vampires were evil, made no apology for it, and that was that.
Normally I dislike books which take liberties with historical figures' lives, but this is sort of Tim Powers's thing, and he did it beautifully. He took the Rosettis' real history and filled in his story between the lines, in a sort of way that might make sense were vampires and ghosts real.
- G. Wyatt