The Nosferatu Conspiracy: The Sleepwalker
Brian James Gage
KDK 12 Press
9780578627137, $4.99, Kindle
The Nosferatu Conspiracy: The Sleepwalker is the first book in a supernatural thriller series, is set in Russia, and revolves around the drowning of high-level Russian official Rasputin which turns out to be a vicious murder, upon investigation.
Readers might anticipate a historical novel, given the historical roots of the characters and their Russian backdrop, but in fact this is a supernatural story that paints Rasputin as the leader of a vampire cult which is eventually subdued.
Brian James Gage creates a multifaceted read that holds depth, historical references, and thriller elements that, when combined with a paranormal perspective, offers a detailed and engrossing plot. His ability to weave atmospheric descriptions of Russia and European environments is one of the elements that creates an unusually astute, engrossing tale: "The Buzau River stops flowing at the base of the Carpathian Mountains east of Bra?ov - a paranormal phenomenon known as dead water. It remains inert for the next seventy miles southeast, all the way to the Subcarpathian commune of Berca, where it once again flows with vigor. A sullen understanding hangs over the region, one obeyed by fish, migrating birds, and any superstitious person - that is to say all inhabitants of Wallachia and Transylvania. This dread, this silent decree, is woven into Romanian lore as far back as the thirteenth century. Secret texts recovered from the Teutonic Knights cite building fortifications across the north and south entrances of the Buzau Pass, not to impede Turkish invaders as history speculates; rather to keep people - all people - from an evil lurking deep within the Carpathians' imperious summits."
Through this example, readers will see that The Nosferatu Conspiracy: The Sleepwalker is no light read, but an engrossing story that juxtaposes its paranormal action with historical references designed to rewrite the reader's perception of reality.
The Sleepwalker that plagues the region is a night killer who challenges Constable Petrov, Coroner Rurik Kozlov, and everyone inclined to at first believe a human murderer is at large. But it's also a monster who can seemingly help, at times, as when he prevents two young women from being raped, but exacts a big price for his assistance.
As the bodies mount in Saint Petersburg, from the butchering of a fiancee to other victims, Rasputin is able to convince the Emperor that God is, indeed, working through him, and that the nation can be unified only under his guidance.
1916 Russia comes to life under such an approach. Readers will absorb a good deal of Russian psychology and culture as they pursue this darkly engrossing tale of murder, mayhem, political subterfuge, and a vampire cult that rages across Europe.
Vampire stories are too often singular productions. The addition of social, cultural, political and psychological elements to this Russian-based story sets it apart from any other vampire saga and will especially delight students of history who look for more than light formula writing in the genre.
This literary audience will relish Gage's attention to detail. The Nosferatu Conspiracy: The Sleepwalker is delightfully complex and absorbing, holding the perfect combination of thriller action and detailed background to make it an unpredictable, satisfying story about different kinds of monsters who overrun a city and those unique forces that would stop them.
Very highly recommended indeed: a diabolically gripping read!