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Hide Me among the Graves by Tim Powers

Hide Me among the Graves

by Tim Powers

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Showing 1-5 of 36 (next | show all)
I've been a big Tim Powers fan for many years now, and a new one from him is always a delight. HIDE ME AMONG THE GRAVES is no exception. I adore the way he attacks a plot with exuberance and bravado. In this one we're tossed into the lives of the Rossetti family, a veterinarian, a prostitute and an adventurer in Dickensian London all plagued by a family blood curse that has come back to claim its own. It's also a sequel to an earlier work, but you don't need to know that to enjoy this one on its own merits.

19th Century London is a locale Powers has detailed before of course, in THE ANUBIS GATES in particular. HIDE isn't quite in that league of baroque brilliance - then again, what is? - but it's a glorious, almost breathless romp that throws snatches of poetry and music hall at you, draws in legends of London from the Roman era onward, dances in the bars and descends into the sewers and caverns beneath the Old Lady to meet the denizens, natural and supernatural who live there.

It's all driven along by Powers' at times poetic language and feel for a story. You'll find death, romance, seances, exorcisms, high magic in Highgate Cemetery, ghosts by the Thames and derring-do in Cheyne Walk.

It's a fine addition to Powers' oevre and I look forward to more soon from him. Reading him always makes me feel like a rank amateur in my own writing - but it also makes me want to strive to do better, so I'm off to try. ( )
  williemeikle | Dec 22, 2018 |
Powers has form with poetry and poets, especially those of the nineteenth century. In The Anubis Gates he even, in the form of William Ashbless, deployed one of his own (and that of James Blaylock) invention. Fantastic Fiction even lists some of "Ashbless"’s works.

Here Powers concentrates on the Rossetti family, Christina and her brother Dante Gabriel, but Algernon Swinburne also features as a character as does Edward Trelawny.

In Hide me Among the Graves sublime poetry is an expression of a kind of demonic possession by (or more accurately a close association to) the Nephilim, a semi-vampiric type of creature. The affliction is partly hereditary but can be transmitted by biting. Two of these creatures (one is Byron’s friend John Polidori, the Rosettis’ maternal uncle, the other embodies the spirit of Boudicca – though the characters of course call her Boadicea) are the background drivers of the plot. Uniting their two strands in one body by the union of the two bloodlines will awaken such power that Boadicea will again be able (as she did in Roman times) to destroy London in an earthquake. Byron, Shelley and Keats are said to have shared the nephilitic tendency, Tennyson and Ashbless not. The loved ones, especially the children, of those close to the Nephilim are in danger of death, or - worse - a lingering half life as a diminished ghost. The prologue involves the awakening of the spirit of Polidori, by Christina rubbing her blood into a small statue belonging to her father. (There it is, blood again.)

The lesser known (ie totally fictional) protagonists of the book are Adelaide McKee and John Crawford who unknown to each other (at first) are host to the relevant spirits. When they are passing by chance on a London bridge at night they are attacked by an avatar of Boadicea. Only Crawford’s quick thinking in hurling them both into the water saves them. (For some reason both salt water and almost drowning repel the vampires, exposure to the open air increases the danger.) The same night though they conceive a child. Since McKee had earlier been trapped into prostitution they do not meet again for seven years, by which time McKee thinks Johanna, their daughter, may be dead. She is not, but has fallen into the clutches of Polidori and they and she spend the rest of the book trying to evade a forced union of Johanna with one of Boadicea’s creatures.

Powers is good with characters. McKee, Crawford and Johanna are very well drawn and their story is much the most compelling in the book. I was less taken with the doings of the Rosettis though. This is perhaps due to my distaste for the incorporation (it might as well be traducing) of real people in such a distortion of history. It is only the fantastical elements which disturb me here, however; I have no quarrel with the practice in a straightforward altered history. In this context, in Hide me Among the Graves, Powers purports to give us the real reason why Gabriel’s wife Lizzie Siddal’s grave was exhumed.

While Powers does write like a dream bits of this are ridiculous. Like vampires, the Nephilim – or their agents – can be deflected by garlic, killed by silver bullets, and their reflections trapped by mirrors. (I know it’s a staple of vampire stories but .... garlic? Really?) It is a measure of Powers’s facility that despite my reservations I continued reading. He can certainly spin a yarn and people it with apparently living, breathing characters. The book is too long though. I could quite happily have stopped reading at the end of Part One and still felt satisfied; but there was still over half the book to go. ( )
  jackdeighton | Aug 18, 2017 |
Despite being well written with a unique world created this novel just didn't grab my interest. ( )
  brakketh | Apr 11, 2017 |
"Hide Me Among the Graves," by Tim Powers, is set in 19th Century London, where the Rosetti family has been living with the consequences of the suicide of their uncle Polidori, who is a form of vampire now and whose influence aids Christina in creating stunning poetry and her brother Gabriel, professionally known as Dante, in his amazing art. A former prostitute, Adelaide, is rescued from a vampiric creature by a veterinarian, John Crawford, who himself was raised by parents who were familiar with the evil shades. And finally, Edward John Trelawny, friend of Byron and Shelley, is both in thrall to another vampire-creature and a bridge between their kind and ours. These people must all come together, and learn how to work together, in order to defeat the evil designs of the creatures, at any cost…. This began as a fun horror read, set in an interesting time, but at around the halfway mark, it really flagged, became repetitious and just seemed to drag on and on and on, so that it was quite a slog to get through to the end. I also take issue with the idea that creative genius is due to the influence of supernatural agencies, it seems quite insulting in fact! A disappointment. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Jan 21, 2016 |
This book tripped me up a bit with its odd spin on superstition and supernatural lore, and at times it seemed to be trying to be more than it was--which was a historical thriller. But after getting invested in the band of oddly matched misfits, I found myself caught up in spite of it. ( )
  mermaidatheart | Dec 1, 2015 |
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And mother dear, when the sun has set
And the pale kirk grass waves,
Then carry me through the dim twilight
And hide me among the graves. --Elizabeth Siddal Rossetti, "At Last"
To Joe Stefko and Thérèse DePrez
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The felt-padded base of the ivory bishop thumped faintly on the marble chessboard.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In 1862 London, the vampiric ghost of John Polidori, the one-time physician of Lord Byron, is determined to possess the life and soul of an innocent young girl, and a group of mismatched allies must enter into a supernatural underworld in order to stop him.… (more)

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