PUBLISHER: Hammer Books
RELEASE DATE: 22nd Nov 2011
FORMAT: Paperback, 280 pages
When a young girl in the village of Durward is found emaciated, drained of all youth, Dr Marcus summons former comrade-in-arms Captain Kronos, who arrives with hunchbacked assistant Professor Grost in tow. Cast out from her clan for dancing on a Sunday, gypsy Carla has hitched a ride with the pair, whom she discovers to be vampire hunters.
Vampires exist in many forms, and a spate of attacks indicates that Durward is cursed by such a presence. Marcus, meanwhile, has cause to suspect that the rich Durward family are involved. At their grand estate, he questions heirs Paul and Sara. Their bed-bound mother blames Marcus for the death of her husband Lord Hagen, a plague victim. The doctor is later assaulted by the mystery vampire. Upon his instructions, Kronos and Grost experiment on Marcus to find the one method that will negate this particular vampiric strain. Successful, his friend destroyed, Kronos devises a plan to expose the fiend — by using Carla, now his lover, as bait… (Goodreads)
KRONOS by Guy Adams is a vampire novel based upon an old Hammer horror movie, telling the story of skilled vampire hunter, Kronos.
We are introduced to the small town of Durward, a typical old English town where gossip spreads like wildfire, religion is still respected and the pub is the central meeting place. The townsfolk are then shocked when young women begin to drop dead with mysterious symptoms. Their bodies are aged beyond their years, with one even turning to dust, leaving the people to suspect some kind of disease.
It is the town’s doctor, Marcus, who senses that there could be something more sinister at work in the deaths of these young women, and calls in his old friend Kronos to get to the bottom of the mystery. The book details Kronos’ arrival to Durward with his friend, Professor Grost, who travels in a carriage containing all the necessary tools for vampire hunting. They have everything from holy water to garlic to crucifixes, as well as all manners of conventional weapons such as swords.
Along the way they pick up the wayward Carla, a young girl who fiercely knows her own mind and is just along for the ride to escape her own cruel village. She refuses to believe Kronos and Grost’s tales of vampires, believing them both to be mad, but it is clear that there is some dark force in the town draining the life force of these young girls. Will Carla believe before it’s too late?
What I liked about this book was its spin on vampire legend, as it treats vampirism like a disease with there being different strains. For example, there is the stereotypical kind that suck blood, then the kind that can drain youth, as well as other types. I also liked the fact that depending on the bloodline of the vampire each has its own weakness, and so can’t be killed by any set method. This makes Kronos’ job as a hunter that much harder as it is often trial and error as to which technique will be effective in killing the vampire.
However, this was one of few things about the book that I liked, as there were several other elements to the plot that I wasn’t impressed with. In particular I found that there often wasn’t enough description of events to build up a clear picture in my imagination, and that events were often rushed and not as explored as they could have been.
In terms of the characters there was very little information about each one, especially in terms of back-story, as only a tiny bit of past information is revealed. This made it hard to build up any kind of connection to the characters, especially Kronos, as we rely upon the others to form a picture of him. The writer’s narrative also makes it harder for the reader, as each chapter is from the first person perspective of a different character, and if you don’t read the title of the chapter then it is very hard to work out who is speaking.
These first person narratives are particularly confusing in the opening of the novel, as at this point we haven’t met the characters properly and have no idea who is who. I found it hard to follow these first few chapters as the perspectives shift so often and I wasn’t entirely sure what was going on. I think that the author tried to include too many characters, as there were some accounts that could have been left out with no difference to the story.
I feel that this book is more suited to someone who has seen the film and already knows a little about the characters, as I was new to the series and so had no idea what to expect. I found the idea of the youth stealing to be scary considering how instantaneously it could happen, but felt that this book could have been better written to capitalize on the good plot idea.
As I haven’t seen the film that this book is based upon I’m aware that there will have been some details wasted on me, but I wasn’t overly impressed with this book as a horror story. The initial chapters take place from multiple perspectives so it is hard to understand what is actually happening or who the characters are, and I found that very little information was revealed about the characters at all. I think this book is recommended for fans of the film, and not so much for those who are new to Kronos’ story.
BUY THE BOOK