The Nosferatu Conspiracy, Book One: The Sleepwalker

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The Nosferatu Conspiracy, Book One: The Sleepwalker, by Brian James Gage, is a well-written, fun book that I’ll call a combination of historical fiction, fantasy, and Rasputin fanfiction. Prior to reading The Nosferatu Conspiracy, I had a basic knowledge of the historical events that took place regarding the Bolshevik Revolution, the gruesome killings of the royal family, and the intrigue surrounding Rasputin. Rasputin was the faith healer who won the trust of the royal family by treating their hemophiliac son, Alexei. In Nosferatu, “documents” are used as a new factual interpretation of events, along with diaries and newspaper clippings (all from Gage’s imagination). The plot features Rasputin as a vampire antagonist along with factions that are working, in part, against each other. The protagonists range from Russian royalty to accidental vampire killers.

The backdrop is Bucharest and St. Petersburg, Russia. I don’t think that the reader needs any historical knowledge to appreciate Nosferatu, and a quick reading of events on one’s own could fill in the blanks easily, but part of the enjoyment for me was the revisionist fantasy.

I particularly enjoyed this account of the events of 1916 that explained the “real” reasons for the revolution (vampires, of course). I enjoyed the story, with its intrigue and complexity, and fully developed characters and action. Vampire book authors must develop their own vampire lore because so many vampire archetypes exist. Gage doesn’t stray too far from existing vampire literary culture, except to offer a few twists of his own. Part of what makes the book fun is the seriousness of purpose in the tone.

After reading several novels lately in which I really didn’t care about the characters, I am glad to say that I did care here, especially for Felix and Denis. These are wonderful characters. The action scenes, I’ll add, could have been quite confusing, but they are not. The novel is more than 400 pages long, seemingly long, but reads quickly. At first, I did make a cheat sheet for myself since many characters have Russian names that got confused in my head. But they are developed clearly enough that I stopped needing my notes after a while. The main characters are male, and the females, while relegated to a more minor status in the pages, do not fall into an old-fashioned, anti-feminist trope. This was a relief. I will simply say that stereotypical vampire folklore regarding women isn’t here. I’ll be looking out for the second book in the series (dealing with the “real” reason behind WWI).

Reviewed By:

Author Brian James Gage
Star Count 5/5
Format eBook
Page Count 439 pages
Publisher KDK 12 Press
Publish Date 02-Mar-2020
ISBN 0978057862713
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2020
Category Horror


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