By Blood We Live
Written by Glen Duncan
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 2/4/2014
Childe Roland to the Dark Tower, Macallan in Hand.
I will come back to you, she said, and you will come back to me. Wait for me. And so Remshi, at some 20,000 years of age, is by far the world’s oldest vampire, a promise to his millennia-deceased werewolf lover having fortified him to push through the weariness and ennui and experiential overload that eats away at and eventually will claim even the strongest of the undead. It’s nonsense, of course, as Remshi well knows, and yet seemingly she has now come back to him in the form of the werewolf Talulla, and so Remshi
finds himself suddenly lost in a dream he shouldn’t be having, poetically fated (ah, the blood tang of irony) to fulfil one of the more outlandish of his own, larksome prophesies…
If By Blood We Live reads in summary much like any common specimen of the vampire/romance genus, then let the uninitiated beware the devil in Glen Duncan’s derailment of narrative cliché, the considerable sting in his destereotyping of tale; for here, as ever and as so palpably evident in the first two novels of his Last Werewolf trilogy, Duncan steadfastly refuses to romanticise his characters (or by association himself; there manifests a refined sort of homogeneity throughout his work, an engorged, life-slaked Duncan id within which all his disparate narrators are subsumed); and if this uncompromising honesty is at times hard to stomach, or if readers might yearn now for Jake Marlowe, whose wry self-deprecation inured them to the visceral depravations of The Last Werewolf — the underlying horror of being a werewolf, stripped of all Hollywood glitter — and in memory sustained them through Talulla Rising, then all the more kudos to Duncan for respecting his characters (and audience) enough to delve deep into their lows, never sugar-coating what he unmistakably sees as the Hyde-dominated side of the human condition. Read More→