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Old 07-02-2011, 10:16 PM   #9908
ATDrake
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Finished another Elizabeth Ann Scarborough book, this time a quasi-historical pseudo-western urban rural fantasy, The Goldcamp Vampire, or, The Sanguinary Sourdough.

While not exactly a sequel (though select characters do show up again) to The Drastic Dragon of Draco, Texas, once again we follow the adventures of Miss Pelagia Harper Valentine Lovelace, intrepid pseudonymous lady reporter and suspected tall tale teller who gets to see truth that's weirder than any lie.

This time around, her recently deceased father's former mistress hires her to smuggle a mysterious coffin into the wilds of the Klondike Gold Rush (where the incomparable Miss Sasha Devine hopes to be madam of a lucrative dance hall), whose contents turn out to be not quite what either Miss Lovelace (or her Gentle Readers in the form of the e-book audience) expect, as Valentine ne Pelagia is forced to hide amongst companions of dubious repute to avoid murder charges after a hapless Mountie becomes the fifth or six person to die in a state of seeming ecstasy after attempting to open the coffin.

I always get a kick out of looking at stuff set in Canada that's written by foreigners, if only because they often get it horribly, terribly, and thus hilariously wrong.

As it is, it turns out Scarbarough actually did a decent amount of historical/locale research for this and could hardly be expected to know that Canada didn't actually have an official flag of its own until the 1960s and basically used the UK flag officially and variants thereof unofficially until then.

Anyway, while not quite as good as the previous book (which after all, had dragons in it), this was still another very fun romp with unexpected supernatural creatures* in an exotic wilderness setting, a guest appearance by Jack London and a number of other historical personages and items, and a surprising connection to an encounter in the earlier book (fun fact: "Dracula" means "little dragon"; but again, it turns out to be not what you'd expect).

Strong recommend if you like offbeat "real-world" historical adventure mystery†/fantasy with more-things-on-heaven-and-earth "magical" reveals (rather than steampunky "it was always here") and a hilariously matter-of-fact sense of dry humour in the narrative.

But it's best to read DDODT first, just so the past references make a lot more sense (though you can read this one reasonably standalone).

I was rather disappointed to find a character-fate wrap-up faux biographical note for "the famous author Valentine Lovelace", which rather implies that the series was always meant to close with just these two books, because I liked them enough that I'd have cheerfully bought further ones.

As it is, I'll have to content myself with snapping up the last remaining unbought Scarborough during Fictionwise's 60% off coupon sale this weekend and hope that the re-publisher of her other books joins in the month-long Smashwords July sale with 25% off just like they had when I got this during Read an e-Book Week.

* Including not just the usual paranormal kind that you might expect in the Canadian wilderness and/or leaving ecstatic-looking drained corpses around, but also the sort that you might get if as the opening credits of Monty Python and the Holy Grail hints,
Spoiler:
one's sister is bitten by mse (whose bytes kan be pretty nasti).


† More in the "does anyone know what the heck is going on?!?!?" sense than sleuthy whodunnits, though there's a touch of that as well.
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