British Fiction Focus

Bad Blood

For twenty years we thought the Blood Wine Sequence was complete, but British Fantasy Society favourite Freda Warrington thinks “the time is right to unleash [her] fearless cast of vampires once more” upon the public.

Fans of A Taste of Blood Wine, A Dance in Blood Velvet and The Dark Blood of Poppies will want to know one thing: when? Well, if you have plans for Friday the 29th, now’s the time to put them aside. That’s right, readers—after two decades of uncertainty, The Dark Arts of Blood will finally be released… next week!

The erstwhile author of Elfland has long been commended for her flair for blending the fundaments of “epic fantasy with […] vampires and the supernatural,” and by all accounts, The Dark Arts of Blood twists that formula still further.

1927: In the turmoil and glamour of 1920s Europe, vampires Karl, Charlotte and Violette face threats to their very existence. Fiery, handsome dancer Emil achieves his dream to partner the legendary ballerina Violette Lenoir—until his forbidden desire for her becomes an obsession. Rejected, spiralling towards madness, he seeks solace with a mysterious beauty, Leyla. But she too is a vampire, with a hidden agenda…

Is Leyla more dangerous than the sinister activist, Goderich Mann? When Karl and Charlotte undertake an exotic, perilous journey to rescue Emil, they unearth secrets that threaten disaster for vampire-kind.

“My goal with this series, right from the very outset”—in 1992!—“has been to humanise vampires in a way that is rarely seen,” Warrington explained in the press release accompanying the announcement of The Dark Arts of Blood. “I want to show the love, desires and turmoil that they share with their human counterparts—all contributing to the wider human condition and experience.”

An auspicious aim, I dare say—and one Aliette de Bodard, author of the upcoming House of Shattered Wings, is convinced Warrington has hit:

“Dark and sensual and atmospheric, this stunning book continues the story of Karl, Charlotte and their friends, deftly expanding the mythos of vampires and introducing new characters that are sure to become favourites.”

Following its rerelease of the three prior parts of the Blood Wine Sequence in recent years, Titan Books plan to publish The Dark Arts of Blood in the UK on May 29th.

Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative ScotsmanStrange Horizons, and He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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