It’s another new book in Kim Newman’s ongoing series about a world transformed when Dracula totally failed to be destroyed by Van Helsing and friends, and instead married Queen Victoria and took over Britain, encouraging anyone who was anyone, and quite a few people who weren’t, to also become vampires. This annoyed a lot of people, not least vampires who’d been hanging around for centuries trying not to draw attention to themselves.
Amongst those is Geneviéve Dieudonné, an elder vampire we’ve met before, and she’s one of the central figures in this book, which is set after the events of the original Anno Dracula, though does include some flashbacks to earlier times.
Gené and a load of other vampires, many of them stored in their coffins, are refugees from Dracula’s London, hoping to find somewhere they can stay. Their ship takes them to Japan, where they are informed there are no vampires. Any vampires you might encounter must be figments of your imagination, because the emperor says there are no vampires, and you’re not going to suggest that the emperor is wrong, are you?
They are allowed to settle in a walled ghetto with the local no, don’t be silly, they’re not vampires, and initially, not a lot happens. The early parts of the book are more descriptive, with little actual action, but lots of character, some very nice weirdness, and retrospection.
But things start to become interesting, culminating in a battle between the forces of, err, look. The vampires are clearly the good guys here, and if you can’t deal with that, you’re looking at the wrong author. Anyway, there’s a battle between Something Nasty and the vampires, both refugees and the non-existent Japanese variety.
And it all ends up being a lot of fun, so it’s definitely worth reading, so long as you can deal with the “err, is anything going to happen” part.
As ever, there are cultural references to spot, the most notable being a sailor called Popejoy, who after nearly losing an eye, is noted for his large arm muscles, a need for canned greens and a liking for taller, slimmer women. And a strange laugh.
So, overall, maybe not as totally wonderful as some of the earlier books in the series, but still well worth your time.
 I hope