His Father's Son

Rating: 
4
His Father's Son
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 25-Feb-2002

Nigel Bennett and P. N. Elrod. His Father's Son. Baen, 2001; ISBN 0-671-31981-7; $24.00/$35.50.

Richard Dun and Sabra return in this sequel to Keeper of the King, which alternates a bit more of Richard's history with another espionage-like adventure in his present. Past or present, Lancelot du Lac or security consultant Richard Dun, our protagonist is a man of honor. In the present, he cannot give the life and children she wants to the woman he loves, but he keeps looking after her even after she marries another. When Stephanie's husband is caught trafficking in cocaine -- but not enough of it to make the government interested in keeping him safe after he turns Queen's evidence -- Richard makes himself a one-man witness protection program, relocating the family, seeing to name changes and employment. A series of panicked e-mails from Stephanie are Richard's first hint that all is not going according to plan. By the time he can travel from Canada to Texas to take a firsthand look, it's too late: he finds Stephanie and her daughters dead, and only Richard's more-than-human nature enables him to survive when the explosives planted in their home detonate. His narrow escape enables him to rescue the other survivor: Stephanie's son Michael, too traumatized to speak. Of her husband Luis there is no sign.

Richard has an elaborate lair in Dallas, as well as connections that enable him to stay fed and to keep the boy safe -- or so he hopes. Luis's big-fish drug-trafficking brother Alejandro Trujillo had sworn he'd kill Luis like a dog if he ever had the chance. Richard figures this must have represented that chance, so he is out for Alejandro's blood -- in the deadlier figurative sense. Alejandro can afford to buy kings, so doing the same for any psychologist that Richard may find for Michael wouldn't be beyond him either.

For someone with Richard's hypnotic powers, there's no such thing as an unlikely alliance; it helps that Richard is able to find a hit man who has reasons for wanting to help get Alejandro out of the way. An action-filled showdown reveals the real culprit but leaves Richard with the difficult decision of how to take care of him.

Modern-day action is interspersed with flashbacks to Richard's history as younger son in a noble family, wandering knight, and disillusioned vampire. As with the earlier book, these vignettes suffer from the substitution of big ideas and conventional situations for meaningful events. I found the concluding grand sacrifice a total cop-out; I mean, we do know that Richard isn't going to vanish from this mortal coil, no matter who needs his help in a magical otherworld. I'm not such a philistine as to be blind to the metaphorical messages contained in his adventure; they just didn't save it for me.

His Father's Son is nonetheless a page-turner with interesting characters and compelling events. Fans of things Arthurian will have another taste of that world; fans of action and suspense will find plenty of both as Richard has near misses with the Grim Reaper in the process of following up clue after clue. However you were impressed by Keeper of the King, you'll probably have a similar reaction to His Father's Son.

Fanged Films

USA, 1957
Not of This Earth
Philippines, 1989

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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