Last Aerie, The

Rating: 
4
The Last Aerie
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 23-Aug-1994

Adapted from "Vampires in Print" in The Vampire's Crypt #9 (Spring 1994).

Review by Cathy Krusberg

Brian Lumley. The Last Aerie (Tor, 1993; $22.95/$29.95)

The Last Aerie picks up where Blood Brothers left off. Nestor has sent his brother into the hell-lands gate but was badly injured in the process. Stranded on Sunside, Nestor wakes to find himself in the care of a leper colony. Leprosy is one of a very few diseases the Wamphyri are vulnerable to, and they dread its effects as they dread the sun itself. Nestor struggles off to a cave where he can heal in some semblance of peace.

Meanwhile, in another universe, Nathan has arrived where the hell-lands gate leads him: the Perchorsk gate in Russia, another glowing sphere that must be watched and guarded constantly lest some monstrous *thing* emerge. (It's happened before.) Now there is *something* within the gate. In an attempt to get help in case they need it and have a scapegoat in case something goes wrong, Russia calls on the British E-Branch (E for ESPionage), where Harry Keough is still remembered well -- indeed, with affection. Human lie detector and E-Branch head Ben Trask travels with precognitive Ian Goodly to the Perchorsk compound, where they meet the boundlessly ambitious Turkur Tzonov and telepath Sigrid "Siggi" Dam. There they also meet the "creature" from beyond the gate, who could pass for a very young Harry Keough. With Siggi's aid and that of some Russian Szgany, Nathan escapes the compound and then Russia itself -- via Izhma, where, just ahead of his Russian pursuers, he can rendezvous with E-Branch representatives.

In London, Nathan picks up the language quickly, aided by his telepathy. Learning about the numbers vortex that still whirls within him is harder, but as a necroscope he gradually makes connections with the dead of this universe; they help, as does the maths instructor E-Branch assigns to him. Now if he could only reach the gate that will return him to Sunside, where Misha awaits --

Much of The Last Aerie is taken up with flashbacks of Nestor's progress among the Wamphyri. He comes into his own as if born for the politicking, manipulation, infighting, intimidation, and other goings-on that are givens in Wamphyri society. Nestor's adventures -- taking his predecessor's place, his relationship with the Lady Wratha, his raids on Sunside -- would make a fine novel in themselves, the story of Lord Nestor Lichloathe. Even as Nathan is a necroscope, Nestor is a necromancer: he can torture secrets from the dead, and for the use of his powers all the dead hate and fear him.

Perhaps the only thing to be said against Lumley's latest Wamphyri novels is that one *must* have read at least some of the Necroscope series to appreciate them. Lumley's universe is so complex that it has passed the point where the uninitiated can catch up by reading a synopsis a few pages long. If you feel a bit lost in Blood Brothers and The Last Aerie, track down at least the last couple of Necroscope books (_Deadspeak and Deadspawn_). Also, check out the map in the front of Blood Brothers -- you'll find it immensely helpful in orienting yourself to the Sunside/Starside universe. And what a universe Lumley makes it! The fierce Wamphyri with their lusts and intrigues -- even the odd friendship; the determined Szgany; the Thyre; and in the universe we know, the E-Branchers, subjected to strange visions and stranger events; and the ever-calculating Russians who may yet make their way to Sunside/Starside. The series is slated to end with a third title, Bloodwars, which this reviewer eagerly awaits.

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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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