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"Blood Oath" Shows Promise

New book sheds new light on vampires


On the chaste heels of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, many aspiring authors and movie directors have hoped to cash in on the (cash) flow of vampire fans and, in doing so, have changed the tenets of vampire existence that have been in our collective consciousness since Bram Stoker introduced us to Dracula in the late 19th century. Vampires still drink blood, fear the sun and can usually be ended by a wooden stake through the heart, but they are no longer feared cape-wearing demons who kill indiscriminately. Instead, they are often seductive charmers, who not only befriend humans but are often valued members of their communities or society at large.

In Christopher Farnsworth’s new novel, Blood Oath (G.P. Putnam’s Sons), which will be published in May, Nathaniel Cade is one of these new vampires. Because of an oath made to Andrew Johnson, Cade is sworn to protect the office of the president and whoever holds that post. When ladder-climbing White House staffer Zach Barrows is assigned to work with Cade he discovers that being partnered with a bloodsucker is not the scariest thing that will happen to him. As old-school Cade and young Barrows come to terms with each other, they learn that the biggest threats to America are not terrorists from other countries, but those from another realm: the supernatural.

Blood Oath is rife with intrigue, suspense and even a bit of horror. Cade and Barrows must deal with secret government organizations that even the CIA and FBI are unaware of, a traitor inside the White House and a scientist who has found the secret to eternal youth and who is creating the ultimate human fighting weapon. It all culminates in a taut political, action-packed page-turner.

Blood Oath is the first in a series, and Farnsworth creates a history for the characters that allows enough background for a reader to invest in them, to feel like he or she already knows them, without spending an inordinate amount of time on flashback or set-up, thereby losing the immediacy of story. Farnsworth keeps readers in the now and leaves the story open-ended enough to engender anticipation for what Cade and Barrows must face next as well as an understanding that the characters and their motivations will continue to be fleshed out with each installment.

Farnsworth, the great-nephew of Philo T. Farnsworth (the man credited with inventing the television) was born and raised in Idaho and graduated from the College of Idaho. Though vampire stories may run amok, Farnsworth’s is different and exciting enough to have some staying power. Like his uncle, Farnsworth may be on to something here.

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