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Traveling with the Dead Hardcover – September 5, 1995
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From Publishers Weekly
The vampire subculture of 19th-century Europe serves as a vehicle for ruminations on love and honor in Hambly's follow-up to Those Who Hunt the Night. The time is 1908, and biologist Lydia Asher is hot on the trail of her husband, James, a former spy and Oxford don who in turn is shadowing Charles Farren, the vampire Earl of Ernchester, and Farren's mortal traveling companion, the nefarious mercenary Ignace Karolyi. Lydia's pursuit of James parallels a similar trek made by Farren's wife, Anthea, who travels in James's company and is as passionately concerned about Farren's welfare as Lydia is about James's. International adventures take these characters from London to Vienna and ultimately to Constantinople, where they become enmeshed in the byzantine political power struggle that has lured Farren there against his will. Although Hambly invests these vampire and mortal personages with the traditional values being threatened by an evolving modern Europe, her vivid portraits allow them to emerge as memorable personalities distinct from the viewpoints they represent. Believable and sympathetic, pursuer and pursued carry the story over its occasional plot muddles and gothic contrivances to a spectacular finale. Hambly covers no ground that hasn't been explored in the historical vampire sagas of Anne Rice and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, but once again she uses familiar elements skillfully to tell an engrossing tale. 50,000 first printing; author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
YA?Vampire fans looking for a fast-moving, well-plotted tale need look no further. Soon after his cousin's death, James Asher catches a glimpse of Ignace Karolyi quietly exchanging newspapers with an almost-ordinary looking figure. Years in the secret service make Asher aware of what average citizens might miss?Karolyi is in the company of a vampire, and they are headed for Paris. Asher follows them. When his wife receives the message of his whereabouts, she entreats an acquaintance vampire to assist her in tracking her husband, knowing that his life is in danger. Details of Europe at the turn of the century, including politics, manners of the wealthy, and vampire lore, are woven seamlessly into this tale. Well-developed characters, both mortal and immortal, span the range of human behavior. Some are mainly noble; some are definitely nasty. Good entertainment for teens ready to move on to literate, light adult fiction.?Barbara Hawkins, Oakton High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
The First World War looms on the horizon. All Europe teeters on the edge and while the inciting incident is beyond anyone’s ability to predict, a war that would tear the West apart is inevitable, and not even the undead will be permitted to stand aside.
In Traveling with the Dead, readers revisit the husband and wife team of James and Lydia Asher, reluctant investigators of the uncanny and supernatural. A year has passed since they made their deal with the devil and were permitted to walk away reasonably unscathed, having unraveled the mystery related in Those who Hunt the Night, but now the deeper threat merely glimpsed in the prior novel comes to the forefront: the crowned heads of Europe are beginning a supernatural arms race in preparation for the Great War, and Austro-Hungary is ahead of the game, their agents having secured the alliance of an English vampire.
James Asher unwillingly takes up his duties as spy for the Crown to prevent the Austro-Hungarians making common cause with the undead, but he is walking into more danger than he realizes.
Lydia must set out to warn him, but she will need the help of one vampire she’d hoped never to see again: the Sixteenth Century Spanish hidalgo, Don Simon Ysidro.
Ysidro, who had retained James’ and Lydia’s services in Those who Hunt the Night and who could have eliminated them afterward to be rid of loose ends. A subtle and deadly hunter, terrifying, ruthless and seductive, yet bound by a code of honor to which he holds fast as his last tether to his lost humanity, as well as possessing a growing affection for the Ashers.
Ysidro is a character who easily deserves to be recognized above and beyond Lestat, and leagues past a certain sparkly specimen who shall remain nameless. The reader almost begins to like him, then realizes this too is part of his deadly charm and a weapon in his predator’s arsenal, as seen when he entrances and enslaves a naïve girl with romantic fantasies implanted in her vulnerable mind.
Readers who have rolled their eyes at the plotline of the Twilight books will notice some similarities between this character and Bella Swan, who likewise has her mind filled up with fantasies of eternal romance, but in this case, the character serves only as Ysidro's companion and sustenance while traveling.
Historical fantasy, thriller and espionage novel, the adventure will take the pragmatic Lydia and reserved but resourceful James across eastern Europe, to the tangled streets of pre-World War Vienna, and to the decadent and deadly intrigues of a vampire’s court in Constantinople.
Highly recommended and a hidden gem of fiction and exceeding Anne Rice’s intriguing but long-winded tomes. Hambly brings the past to life in lush detail while keeping readers on their toes with danger, intrigue and a breakneck pace. Her love of history shines through again and the reader can gain some reluctant sympathy for the undead, in many ways exiles from their own time as the centuries have passed, by recreating a time set in a world that is about to change and give birth to the modern age.
Particularly good is the vulnerability and limitations of the two mortal protagonists, who ground the narrative as they play their role in a fantastic and macabre world, and who recognize some remnant of humanity even in the horrifying blood-drinking inhabitants.
I eagerly anticipate following their further adventures. Here’s hoping someone thinks to put these books to film and gives them the treatment they deserve.