Genre: uh…. science fiction? maybe? pulp SF?
Queer Representation: cis lesbian
British intelligence agent and half vampire Lucy Harker takes an assignment on the Titanic to protect the plans of the Nautilus. German spies are everywhere and a lovely vampire countess whom Lucy should kill but she’s just so damn alluring, keeps getting in the way.
Also Tarzan. (Is Lord Greyborough the rumored peer raised by apes? Yes, Lucy. Yes he is)
I uh, don’t really know if I have the right words for just how weird this book is and how much I really really enjoyed it. It’s written like an old pulp scifi, but mercifully easing up on the racism, sexism, and homophobia (these elements are discussed and firmly shot down in-world, which I appreciated). The author clearly took great delight in adding in every pulpy character from the time who would conceivably be in England, hence Tarzan, a reference to Dr. Watson, and of course, Lucy who is the daughter of Dracula and a mortal woman.
The way the book is written isn’t tongue-in-cheek. It takes itself seriously while presenting one after another ridiculous elements, such as the Titanic being outfitted with Martian technology, namely heat-rays, to melt icebergs.
Yes, I said Martian ray guns. See passage below:
Since the failed Martian invasion of England in 1902, our government has devoted enormous resources to unlocking the secrets of the alien technology. It’s only in the last few years that we’ve mastered the heat-ray; the rest continue to elude us.
And since the writing style is so serious and so tight, every instance of absurdity is that much more amusing.
This book is solid. It’s written in first person present but the elements of weird and period and science fiction are very well balanced. It’s everything I’d want in a pulp novel and actively removes everything I hate, like random bigotry. The romance between the half-vampire and remorseful full vampire is smooth, delicate, and delicious. The Titanic history adds an extra element of tension to the book, and the random elements just make for a delightful ride.
The book is just… well it’s just good fun.
Since I don’t want to give away ALL the weirdness, I’ll just suggest that to prepare for the Martian invasion and/or a rabid Tarzan, purchase THE ADVENTURE OF THE INCOGNITA COUNTESS here in paperback and here in ebook.
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