“There is a little-known place which is undoubtedly the strangest in the world. The people who inhabit the barbarous lands around Belgrade sometimes call it Selene, sometimes Vampire City, but the vampires refer to it among themselves by the names of the Sepulcher and the College.”
Paul Féval’s Vampire City is one of those terrible books that unfolds like a train wreck, but you can’t put it down because it’s extremely entertaining and more than a little bit insane. When Féval pulls the lid off his id he concocts some of the most wild and vividly imagined pieces of “weird” pulp fiction you’re likely to encounter.
The plot has Ann Radcliffe (yes, that one) trying to save her friend Cornelia from the attentions of the vampire Otto Goetzi. Assisted by her manservant Grey Jack, her friend Ned (Cornelia’s fiance), his manservant Merry Bones (an Irish “nailhead”), and a captured transgender vampire named Polly (who is chained to an iron coffin she carries on her shoulder), Ann sets off for Selene, the Vampire City, like a proto-Buffy the Vampire Slayer.