Ghosts of Albion: Accursed
by Christopher Golden
Review by Gayle Surrette
Del Rey Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 034547130X
Date: 25 October, 2005 List Price $13.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
On reading the prologue of the book, I was so horrified by the concept expressed that I actually took a few days off before starting chapter one. While on hiatus, I decided to check out the BBC web site. There were two stories on-line that I watched: Legacy and Embers. The book, once I started reading it again, seemed to pick up where these episodes left off. The material loaded fairly rapidly and played well on my PC with its rather slow connection.
William and Tamara Swift are siblings who inherit equally their grandfather's position and powers as a protector of Britain. They learn that he along with the ghosts of Bodicea, Admiral Lord Nelson, and Lord Byron (the Ghosts of Albion of the title) have been defending the land from supernatural incursions and attacks. In the attack that killed their grandfather, their father is taken over by a demon Oblis. They keep their father/demon in one of the tower rooms hoping to one day free him of the demon.
Meanwhile, the London waterfront district seems to be faced with a plague that mainly attacks the Indian immigrants. The women are being raped and becoming pregnant, dying after giving birth, while the men are changing into some sort of reptilian creature. The Swifts don't learn of this plague since at first it doesn't affect the upper classes, but finally they learn of it after the death of Tamara's childhood friend. Once they learn of the plague they move to fight it but this supernatural force is unfamiliar and takes a lot of research and trail and error. Meanwhile, William is trying to find time to court the girl of his dreams -- a girl his sister dislikes.
There's horror and then again there's horror. I like being scared by a good book; it gets the blood pumping and the heart racing and allows a bit of vicarious thrill without danger. In Ghost of Albion the authors manage to hit on a scenario that frightens, disgusts, and horrifies just about every woman I know. The male side of the plague is horrific but is a tried and true trope of the horror genre and therefore not as scary as it probably was years ago.
The characters are well drawn and interesting. The historical figures add a lot to the story and background and seemed to this American at least to be true to their historical identities. It's an interesting take on horror and one that can be taken in a lot of different directions.