The Last Rite

Written by Jasper Kent
Review by Nancy Henshaw

This is the final volume of The Danilov Quintet: 1917 in Petrograd where Danilov, destroyer of vampires, is satisfied that his arch enemy Iuda has been abolished at last. Russia is in chaos as the government collapses, the Tsar retreats and revolution is imminent; an ideal hunting ground for vampires as bloody mayhem draws them inexorably to an unending source of nourishment. Danilov is now over sixty, exhausted and sick. In a grisly scene of blackest magic Iuda, resurrected, enters Danilov’s body to share his thoughts and intermittently direct his will. The world of the vampire is extraordinarily complex and amongst plentiful scenes of frightening horror the hardest to stay with is the gruesome abortion of a foetus the long-surviving Susanna has carried for one hundred years (yes truly).

This is a brilliant book; the entirety of Petrograd at this most dangerous time is presented to readers with a conviction that almost overwhelms in bombarding the senses while its geographical clarity is as good as a map. I strongly recommend that all the earlier volumes should be read from one to four before this one; otherwise it is tough going (not helped by everyone naturally having at least three names.) But I loved the scenes where Danilov plus Iuda, piloting one of the earliest aeroplanes, find themselves/himself facing every conceivable peril.