Bloody Red Baron Hardcover – May 6 1996
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You don't need to have read Anno Dracula to enjoy this feisty sequel set amidst the airborne heroics and trench-warfare drudgery of World War I. As in the previous book, part of the fun is spotting all the names from history and literature who pop up in major and minor roles: a vampire named Edgar Poe is writing the Baron von Richthofen's biography; Mata Hari contributes her vampire bloodline to German breeding experiments; and characters from such sources as P. G. Wodehouse, J. K. Huysmans, D. H. Lawrence, Sinclair Lewis, Ernest Hemingway--as well from movies such as Nosferatu (1922), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, Jules et Jim--each impart their dollop of richness to this alternate universe. But the dogfights between Sopwith Camels and huge winged vampires are the real heart of the book: Kim Newman has done his research, so the air battles are vivid and thrilling. A scholarly bibliography is included. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In this stunning follow-up to his inventive alternate-world fantasy, Anno Dracula (1992), Newman ponders the course that history might have taken had Count Dracula fought for the Kaiser in WWI. It's some 30 years since the vampire eluded the fate ordained for him in Bram Stoker's novel and initiated the Terror, a vampirization of humanity that has left half the world undead and living in uneasy coexistence with "warm" mortals. Although Dracula remains off-page for most of the novel, he is represented by flying ace Manfred von Richthofen, alias the Red Baron, and other blood descendants capable of shapeshifting into airplane-sized bats that engage in aerial combat with their Anglo-vampire counterparts. Though Newman focuses events through the experience of Lt. Edwin Winthrop, a mortal who eventually embraces vampirism and leads the English squadron's final assault on the Red Baron's well-armed fortress, he regularly imagines meetings between vampirized figures of fact and fiction: for example, a subplot brings together Edgar Allan Poe and German apologist Hans Heinz Ewers as vampire collaborators on a popular biography of the Red Baron, assigned to them by German propaganda minister Dr. Mabuse. Such postmodern hijinks are made possible by the author's scrupulous historical and literary research. In the image of the immortal vampire, Newman has found the perfect metaphor for history's larger-than-life personalities and the impact their appetites have upon civilization. Although chock-full of pulpy entertainment, the novel's vivid scenes of war and its senseless brutality bear out the third-person narrator's contention that it is "Dracula, proud of blood kinship with Attila, who most epitomised 20th century barbarism."
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Once again, Newman takes the audacious step of having the famous and powerful become vampires (Winston Churchill is a prime example, although there seems to be less of this trick than in "Anno Dracula"). But the most notorious vampire is easily Manfred von Richtoffen, the Red Baron. The ultimate hunter is cross-fed by several vampire "elders" to create the ultimate winged combatant . . . a winged vampire armed with powerful hand-machine guns. Now, not only must the Allied pilots be wary of a violent death in a fireball or a screaming nose-dive to earth, they must be wary of being plucked from their pilot-seats and eaten alive! The vision of the vampire-squadron taking off from a high tower, with strains of Wagner echoing from Dracula's Zeppelin-flagship, makes for a riveting read.
Newman brings a few characters along from "Anno Dracula," including Charles Beauregard, aging agent of the Diogenes Club, and vampiress-journalist Kate Reed, but most of the storylines follow new characters. Edwin, seeming heir apparent to Beauregard as Diogenes agent, becomes entwined with the hunt for the Red Baron after a horrifying air raid on the German fortress of Schloss Adler, and Edgar Allen Poe, turned vampire and propaganda-man for the Axis powers, struggles to come to terms with his new role in the world.
Newman combines an eye for historical detail with the talent to write riveting scenes of carnage . . . setting the scene amongst the carnage and devastation of WWI is perfect for Newman's style. This is one difficult book to put down!
Newman's tale is also one of transition. Like the warm, the vampires must also come to terms with the violent transition to the 20th century, as technology poses new threats to vampires and warm alike (a chilling scene of an Allied elder vampire first vanquishing, then being vanquished by, Axis tanks exemplifies this theme). Among the most moving scenes are the "educations" that young, romantic American troops receive on the front lines.
Not for the squeamish, "Baron" offers thrills galore, and also throws out some good condemnation for the leaders of World War I on both sides . . . an excellent, though eccentric, take on leadership and the ability of some to throw lives away for the sake of their own ambition.
To borrow a cliche, if you liked "Anno Dracula," you'll love "The Bloody Red Baron."
(if dark) approach to vampire lore. Vampires live openly in
every city in the world--and fight side-by-side with the living
(or "warm" as they're called in the book)in the trenches of
World War I. Dracula, the dark puppet-master behind the Kaiser,
is preparing a horrific squadron of airmen for his final assault
on France and it falls to a warm man to stop him.
Aside from the fast pace, fascinating action, and witty style,
the real delight in reading Kim Newman's books lies in seeing
famous historical figures standing side-by-side with famous
fictional characters. Lord Ruthven (Polidori's vampire creation)
has taken the position of Prime Minister of England in perpetuity.
His cabinet includes a besotted, undead Churchill who brings
small animals to meetings so he can enjoy a tipple. Edgar Poe
(who has dropped Allen on the grounds that it was his step-
father's name) plays a role as a would-be propagandist for the
Anyone who enjoyed ANNO DRACULA will find much to like in BLOODY
RED BARON. Anyone who has yet to discover Kim Newman's talent
is in for a pleasant surprise.