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Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Queen Victoria: Demon Hunter
By A E Moorat
This novel has one of the best opening lines I’ve read for a long time.
‘Much later, as he watched his manservant, Perkins, eating the dog, Quimby gloomily reflected on the unusual events of the evening.’
This pretty much sets the scene for what is to come: a tale of zombies, succubi and demons. What lifts it out of the ordinary is the identity of the chief Demon Hunter – Queen Victoria herself.
A E Moorat has taken historical facts and characters and woven around them a jaw-dropping supernatural fiction. You’ll recognise many of the players - from Victoria and Albert, to John Brown and Lord Melbourne – what you won’t recognise are the things they are getting up to.
It’s only fair to warn you that this book is very gory. It’s definitely not one for the faint-hearted or weak-stomached. But if you can cope with the rats, the entrails and the unpleasant eating habits of some of the characters, you’ll be rewarded by an interesting and, in places, very comic read.
One of the most engaging parts of the storyline covers the developing relationship between Victoria and the young Albert. As I read it, I couldn’t help thinking – ‘yes, that’s exactly how it could have been …’.
Moorat also explains the true origins of the queen’s catchphrase, ‘We are not amused’. Again, it could have happened that way – but you need to bear in mind the ‘note on historical accuracy’ which appears at the end of the book in respect of all these revelations.
For anyone who is interested in the period and wants to read a refreshing take on it, or for anyone who likes bucket-loads of blood and guts built around a strong and intriguing plot, this is the book for you!
Reviewed by Helen M Hunt