A novel by RUPERT THOMSON writing as TEMPLE DRAKE
HER SECRET MUST BE KEPT FOR ALL ETERNITY.
Set in the otherworldly megalopolis that is today’s Shanghai, Temple Drake’s suspenseful first novel blends the gothic, the erotic, and the supernatural as it charts an intense and dangerous affair.
One night in 2012, executive Zhang Guo Xing takes a group of European clients to a fashionable nightclub in Shanghai. While there, he meets a strikingly beautiful young Western woman called Naemi Vieno Kuusela. The physical attraction between them proves irresistible, and they embark on an intoxicating affair. But Naemi is not what she appears to be…
To Zhang’s surprise, she veers between passion and wariness, conducting the relationship entirely on her own terms. He feels driven to find out more about her, and is swiftly drawn into a web of intrigue, mystery, and horror. Is she a ghost? A demon? Do the living dead walk the streets of twenty-first century Shanghai?
Written in spare, high-octane prose, NVK is the first in a series of dark, hypnotic novels that explore the roots of desire and the cruel costs of immortality.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Seamlessly blending sophisticated gothic fantasy with a stylish, neon-lit allure, NVK is our sexy new obsession. When business executive Zhang meets art dealer Naemi in a Shanghai nightclub, they immediately begin a steamy affair. But something is off: Naemi isn’t just beautiful and enigmatic—she’s ancient, transformed hundreds of years ago by the magic of her Finnish homeland into a strange and immortal being. Her curse fills Zhang with terror even as he can’t stay away. The pseudonymous Temple Drake writes this thriller in a deliberately minimalist style that’s as spare and elegant as Scandinavian furniture. NVK is every bit as mysterious and bewitching as Naemi herself.
The listless day-by-day narrative of Drake's debut purports to give a glimpse into immortality but unironically feels like it drags on forever. Blond-haired, dark-eyed Naemi catches the attention of Zhang Guo Xing, a businessman passing through Shanghai in 2012. An air of mystery envelops Naemi, and soon Zhang is deep in an affair with her. Alternating points of view from Naemi and Zhang slowly reveal the simultaneous tension and tedium of Naemi's unnaturally long life. Naemi leaves a trail of heartbreak and pain, and superstition leads Zhang to fear her, but he nonetheless finds her irresistible. The final revelation is disappointing, and the bland, straightforward writing undermines the narrative's insistence that Naemi is mysterious and unknowable. Gothic and paranormal fans will appreciate some elements of this cryptic story, but overall it's a letdown.