The Vampyre: The Secret History of Lord Byron by Tom Holland

This book was fantastic! It caught my eye at the library, I think this is one of the reasons that I love libraries, you often come across books that you probably wouldn't take the time to look at in a shop. I am very interested in Gothic fiction and I like a good vampire tale too. I recognised Tom Holland's name from the numerous history books that Mr S has of his. Add into all of this the figure of Lord Byron and I was completely intrigued. Here is the blurb as it summarises it much better than I can:

What was the deadly secret that haunted the writings of Lord Byron, that most briliant and notorious of romantic poets? Tom Holland, in this dazzlingly crafted blend of fact and fiction, offers a truly terrifying answer. Impeccably researched, vividly imagined, The Vampyre is gothic fiction at its most atmospheric, allusive and thought provoking. As Byron himself pointed out: truth is strnager than fiction.

Basically the idea is that Lord Byron was a vampire and Tom Holland tells the story of how it came about and how this explains many of the mytseries surrounding this great poet, especially the way he behaved towards others. As the blurb says, the book is impeccably researched and incredibly well written; without these elements the story could have seemed ridiculous but Tom Holland's book is far from that. The book is interspersed with quotes from Byron's works and memoirs plus some from his closest friends and allies; these are used to back up the idea of Byron as a member of the undead and they do so very well:

I have written my memoirs- but omitted all the really consequential and important parts- from deference to the dead- to the living- ansd to those who must be both'
Lord Byron, Detatched Thoughts

Bram Stoker's Dracula is probably my favourite work of gothic fiction and Tom Holland's tale was on the same level for me in terms of the terror and atmosphere created. Byron is a truly fascinating character and the idea of him being a vampire makes him even more compelling. The book captures you from the very start and I really could not put it down. There are many scenes of gore and evil but they are written so well and are integral to the story. This book seems extremely far-fetched at face-value but I would urge people to try it as the story was fantastic and the quality of writing superb.


Anonymous said...

Wow! That's definitely an original plotline! I'm going to look for it... like you mentioned, it wouldn't be something I would normally pick up, but it sounds awesome!

Dot said...

Meg- I thought it sounded a bit strange but I loved it, couldn't put it down!

Jo said...

Sounds really interesting. And a combination of Byron and vampires can't really go wrong. Just off to see if the library has this now!

Dot said...

Jo- I know, it's a very good combination! Hope your library has a copy!

BOOK REVIEW: Our Kind of Cruelty by Amarinta Hall

Mike understands that most of us travel through the world as one half of a whole, desperately searching for that missing person to make us...