Synopses & Reviews
It was a rare day in Highgate. The sky above was a brilliant blue, and the sun lured from the landscape vivid colors that were seen so infrequently as to achieve near-mythic status.
Ordinarily Ludlow House seemed to loom upon the hill, gazing balefully across the lawns that surrounded it. The gardens were vibrant and beautiful, but the façade of the house was almost monastic in its plainness, a grim visage of window and stone with a thorny crown of gables and chimneys. Yet on this day, the Swift family home managed an elegant nobility. Though the sprawling manse cast long shadows eastward, they did not engender the sense of foreboding that had so often been their companion.
There was a southwesterly view from the rear of Ludlow House. The elevation of the hill was such that High Street was visible in the distance, and on a day as clear as this, those of keen eyesight or imagination might see the spire of the chapel at Highgate Cemetery. Yet it was neither the view nor the rare brilliance of the spring day that had prompted Tamara Swift to host afternoon tea in the observatory, rather than within the house proper.
Inside the house, even in the front parlor, her guests might have heard the mad howling that came from the second floor, the screams of her father. Or, more accurately, of the thing that lived within him.
Much had changed in the months subsequent to the death of her grandfather, Sir Ludlow Swift. Tamara and her brother, William, had inherited a host of responsibilities they could never have imagined, and the loss of her beloved grandfather, combined with her father's affliction, had cast the bleakest of shadows across her heart.
Yet she felt a sense of purpose now that she never had before. No matter how frightful her current circumstances, she knew she would not have willingly erased the events of the past several months. Once her greatest concerns had been the attentions of young men and the scribblings she authored under the pseudonym T. L. Fleet, stories published in pamphlets they called penny dreadfuls on the street. Once upon a time, her taste for the macabre had been mere musing. Now her writings leaned toward those of reporter, rather than tale-weaver.
But the darkness could be suffocating. For too long in recent months, she had chosen to ignore invitations and gentle inquiries from friends. Now she had at last determined that it would be prudent to escape into the trivial from time to time.
This afternoon's tea was attended by four young ladies of North London whom she counted as her friends and, unfortunately, Miss Sophia Winchell, whom William was courting. Absent from the gathering was Marjorie Winterton, who was attending to the needs of an ailing dowager aunt. Marjorie had sent her regrets, and Tamara shared the sentiment. Sophia was a poor substitute.
This tea was meant to signify Tamara's return to society, and the throwing aside of the shroud that had cloaked her spirit so much of late. And she found now that the gathering was indeed fulfilling its purpose. The sunshine and the flowers that were blossoming so fully, ripe with color, out across the grounds, had lifted her spirits. But nothing healed her so much as the company of her friends.
A titter of naughty laughter rippled through the observatory. One of the girls had no doubt said some
"In this entertaining, fast-paced supernatural thriller, which originated as a 'flash-animation' drama on the BBC Web site, Benson of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame and Stoker-winner Golden (Wildwood Road) have created an alternative universe in which vampires, ghosts and wizards populate Victorian England. Their protagonists, the young magicians William and Tamara Swift, are the new Protectors of Albion, entrusted with defending their country against supernatural foes. Aided by an eclectic collection of spirit allies, including Lord Byron, Admiral Nelson and Queen Bodicea, the Swifts must confront a bizarre plague that has moved from the slums to the precincts of the well-to-do, transforming people into reptilian monsters reminiscent of some of H.P. Lovecraft's horrors. While the setup is familiar, the writing is good enough to raise hopes for future entries, assuming a better balance is struck between adventure and heroes who engage the reader's emotions. 5-city author tour. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] hefty, hormone-stuffed novel....Demons, bodice-ripping passion and some good old murky London gloom; all one can ask for in a dark night's reading." Kirkus Reviews
"Ghosts of Albion is a sexy, twisted dark-fantasy adventure Benson and Golden have written one fantastic ride of a book. If Laurell K. Hamilton wrote tales of Victorian England, they might come close to this one." Douglas Clegg, Stoker Awardwinning author of The Priest of Blood
Even death could not stop Britain's greatest defenders.
In 1838, William and Tamara Swift inherit a startling legacy from their dying grandfather, transforming them into the Protectors of Albion, mystical defenders of the soul of England. But the shocked, neophyte sorcerers also inherit unique allies in their battle against the dark forces. Fighting alongside them are the famous even infamous Ghosts of Albion: Lord Byron, Queen Bodicea, and Lord Admiral Nelson.
When strange and hideous creatures appear in the slums of London, an unholy plague threatens to launch an epic battle that may rage all the way to Buckingham Palace...and beyond. Time is running out as William and Tamara must learn whether their friends will stand beside them, or seduce and betray them.
From Amber Benson, known for her dramatic portrayal of Tara in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Christopher Golden, Bram Stoker Awardwinning author of The Shadow Saga and Wildwood Road, comes a vengeful tale of demons, vampires, and ghosts set in nineteenth-century London. Based on the smash BBC Web series that took England by storm, Ghosts of Albion is a horror adventure laced with dark humor and darker lusts.
William and Tamara Swift, along with other allies known as the Ghosts of Albion, must stop a horrific plague that is infesting the slums of Victorian London and has released a host of hideous creatures that feed upon the populace and now threaten all of England. Original. 25,000 first printing.