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Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly

Those Who Hunt the Night (1988)

by Barbara Hambly

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: James Asher - Vampire Series (1)

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1,035178,160 (3.85)74

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Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I can’t remember exactly when I read "Those Who Hunt The Night" by Barbara Hambly, but I remember buying it from the local library book sale. The pages have a certain scent to them…I’ve never smelled it on a book before, but it was very…old and bookish, if that makes any sense.

For the record, I picked it up, not because it had vampires in it, but because Barbara Hambly wrote it. I’d read "The Winterlands Quartet" by her and loved the language and description so much that this was an instant sell. I’d actually never understood the interest in vampires until I read this. But once I did…I got it. Or at least, here was a vampire story I could sink my teeth into, if you’ll pardon the pun.

The premise of the story is that someone is killing off the vampires of London. Because these murders are taking place during the day, one of the vampires, an ancient Spanish noble named Ysidro, takes a chance on enlisting aid from the human Oxford professor James Asher. It’s great creepy gothic fun and plays with the ideas of humanity. Really, read this for the language, if nothing else. I enjoyed the story, but the simple act of reading it was a joy. And I really like Ysidro because he really gives off the feeling that he isn’t human. Not anymore, and you really can’t fully trust him because the whole while he’s running his own agenda. Whether you survive or not depends completely on his word…and how useful you are. No sparkles or vegetarian vamps here. ( )
  Starsister12 | Jan 18, 2014 |
3.5 stars

Vampires without the romance. Very refreshing. Well drawn historical setting in late 19th or early 20th century London and Paris.

James Asher, a professor of philology at Oxford, and his wife Lydia, also a doctor, but of medicine, are reluctantly coerced into investigating the case of a serial vampire killer. Don Simon Ysidro, a Spanish vampire old enough to remember (and barely survive) the great London fire of 1666, forces James into his service by threatening Lydia's life.

Rather than risking his wife's precarious safety and sending her into hiding, he recruits her help in tracking down both the vampire killer, and the vampire victims haunts and hidey-holes. Lydia pursues the research through probate courts, registrar of deed office, newspaper articles and other public records and resist's the siren call of the medical pathology mystery of vampirism while James accompanies Ysidro to interrogate London's undead citizens.

All their combined efforts turn up clues that lead to a revelation and twist which I didn't see coming. I even re-read some of the early relevant scenes and could not see a clear foreshadowing of the mystery's resolution.

Like all mysteries, I kept reading and turning pages because I wanted to know who did it, who the vampire stalker was. No terror gripped me, no character cried out to me, no scene compelled me yet good pacing and interesting characters led me down a path less travelled, especially by daylight.

One of my misgivings surrounded James Asher. Even though he played the mild-mannered professor, his former life as a spy for the British Empire nagged at me. Some of the jargon of the spy trade and of his previous escapades seemed too modern and out of place for the times portrayed. Oddly, I readily accepted Lydia's pursuit of the medical profession, even in a patriarchal society.

I've read many of Hambly's novels, and know she can make me shiver with goosebumps, the cold sweat of fear and visualize some truly horrific scenes and entities. This work just didn't quite reach that far, but I enjoyed the thrills of the ride nonetheless. ( )
1 vote mossjon | Mar 31, 2013 |
Barbara Hambly's settings and situations are inventive (Edwardian London with vampires from various ages and an Oxford don and former spy as well as a doctor who must have been among the first few classes to receive a college degree in England) but there's something so plain about her writing and so predictable about the plot as to make this book impossible for me to complete. ( )
  themulhern | Jul 23, 2012 |
The Victorian style of writing forced me to read slowly. James Asher is a retired British spy who is now living as a mild-mannered Oxford professor with the woman he loves. She is a doctor who loves research and other unfeminine pursuits. And one of the few people of that time and place who would believe Asher's tale that he had been asked by a vampire to hunt down a vampire slayer. ( )
  raizel | Jul 1, 2012 |
Substance: A British "secret agent" of the Victorian era is enlisted by a vampire, an erstwhile Spanish nobleman attendant on King Phillip in 1555, to discover who or what has been killing the other vampires of London.
Style: A fair mystery, with well-placed clues, leading to a satisfactory solution. Sufficient action balanced with the cerebration, matrimonial romance, and some humor. ( )
  librisissimo | Jan 15, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbara Hamblyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Herder,EdwinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Adrian and Victoria
First words
"The train departs at eight, and it is many years since public transportation has awaited the convenience of persons of breeding. Will you come?" (Don Ysidro, chapter 1, p.15)
Naturally, he reflected wryly, there wasn't a greengrocer open at this hour, and he would look fairly foolish investigating back-garden vegetable patches for garlic en route to the station ... totally aside from missing his train. And given the general standard of British cookery, searching for garlic would be a futile task at best. (Asher's reflections, chapter 2, p.18)
He turned back to the tambour desk in one corner, its top, like everything else in the room, a foot and a half thick in books, in this case the collected works of Bulwer-Lytton -- by its appearance, well-thumbed, too. Asher shuddered. The solitary vampire's evenings must have hung heavy indeed. (Asher's reflections, chapter 5, p.80)
"I have no sense of being at home here -- this sterile, inorganic town where everything is thrice washed before and after anyone touches it. It is the same everywhere, of course, but in Paris it seems particularly ironic. They seem to have taken this man Pasteur very seriously." (Don Ysidro, chapter 11, p.152)
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Disambiguation notice
"Those Who Hunt the Night" was also published as "Immortal Blood" (in the UK).
"Gruselkabinett: Jagd der Vampire" is the title for the audio play, in German, of "Those Who Hunt the Night".
"Those Who Hunt the Night" was published as "Cazadores Nocturnos" in Spanish.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345361326, Mass Market Paperback)

Who's been killing the vampires of London, tearing open their coffins to let in lethal sunshine as they sleep--and then drinking their blood?
"Hambly's examination of vampirism is beautifully detailed, with a fine realistic background and strong sense of atmosphere...Will give Anne Rice a run for her money."--Publishers Weekly

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:40 -0400)

The vampires had been living in London since the time of Elizabeth I, but now they were being ruthlessly murdered by someone who ripped their coffins open for the light of day to burn them to ashes. No vampire could endure the daylight to destroy the murderer. They had to turn to a mortal human for aid.… (more)

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