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Vampire Don Simon Ysido has been captured and held aboard a ship heading to the US to act as a slave, and Dr Lydia Asher must stop it . . . at any cost.
March, 1917. The goal of every government involved in the Great War has been achieved: industrialist Spenser Cochran has drugged and enslaved a vampire, Don Simon Ysidro, to do his bidding, and is now on the way to the US aboard a luxury ship.
Horrified, Dr Lydia Asher secures her passage on the vessel to rescue her friend from Cochran’s chemical thrall. Meanwhile, her husband makes a dangerous alliance with the vampires of Paris to send Lydia the information she needs about the drug.
As they cross the Atlantic evidence mounts that another vampire is hiding aboard the ship, indiscriminately murdering passengers. Lydia knows she must solve both cases before the ship docks, and that breaking Cochran’s hold on Don Simon will not be enough . . . She must kill him.
This darkly witty eighth novel (after Pale Guardian) in Hambly's WWI spycraft and vampires James Asher series features James's wife, Lydia, a doctor and investigator in her own right, in a lively international travel mystery with outcomes that modern readers will find morally satisfying. Lydia follows a tortured dream sent to her by her dear friend, Spanish vampire Don Simon Ysidro, who has been kidnapped and may be forced to use his powers for the war or for private industry. She looks for him on the America-bound ship City of Gold, understanding that she may need to kill him herself to keep his abilities from being misused. Lydia uses her social status to access the likely villains among the industrialists and royalty in first class, and her medical and investigative skills to understand the xenophobic fear spreading through the third-class decks. At home, James leverages his Parisian vampire network to identify the kidnapper and research ways to save Don Simon. The amount of explicit racism and anti-Semitism depicted on the immigrant ship although probably realistic for the period, relevant to the story, and placed in the mouths of unsympathetic characters may be off-putting to some readers. Fans of Lydia and Don Simon will love the focus on their connection, and James's fans will find enough of him in his usual mode to be content.