Thursday, March 31, 2011

Review: Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

Zach Barrows is an ambitious young White House staffer whose career takes an unexpected turn when he’s partnered with Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the president. But Cade is no ordinary civil servant. Bound by a special blood oath, Cade has spent more than 140 years in service to the president, battling nightmares before they can break into the daylight world of the American dream.
Immediately Zach and Cade receive their first joint assignment: one that uncovers a shadowy government conspiracy and a plot to attack the Unites States with a gruesome new biological weapon. Zach soon learns that the world is far stranger, and far more dangerous, than he ever imagined . . . and that his partner is the least of his problems.. (from

If you are a regular reader of My Book Addiction (thanks, btw), you may be surprised to know that I am a fan of Tom Clancy's books. Vince Flynn, too. (Sadly, I have learned more about the inner workings of our government from their books than I did in my high school civics class.) Sure, they can be a bit dry with the technical details but give me a capable man who has to save the world and I'll be happy. At any rate, when I saw the description of Blood Oath, I knew I had to read it. It sounded like a modern cross between Tom Clancy and Bram Stoker and I was so excited about the premise that I preordered the hardback version. This is not something I do regularly - buy new hardbacks of new authors - but I had such a good feeling about it. My gut told me that this would be a good book and fun read and it was right.

Zach considers himself to be hot stuff. Barely out of college, he works in the White House and has frequent face-to-face meetings with the President. After one little bitty drunken mishap with the President's daughter in the Lincoln bedroom, he finds himself face-to-face with a completely different kind of power, the kind that has nothing to do with politics: a vampire. Suddenly, Zach's world is upside down and he's given a difficult choice - work with Nathaniel Cade, aka the President's Vampire, or else. Working with Cade is a sink or swim mentality; there is no training, just on the job learning. Soon, Zach learns that Cade is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the supernatural and his first job involves chasing after Johann Konrad, aka Dr. Frankenstein (as in the original, the doctor from Shelley's book). A group of middle-easterners are taking terrorism to a new level with Konrad's help and it's Cade's and Zach's job to stop them.

I liked Blood Oath for several reasons. One, Farnsworth made Nathaniel Cade a product of his time; he is dated (to an extent) and uses old phrases like, "no soap" and "twenty-three skidoo". Using these old colloquialisms embarrasses Cade and humanizes him, makes him seem more real and not just a killing machine. Two, this book isn't just about a vampire that deals with "human" problems. Cade travels the globe fighting nasty supernatural threats in today's political climate, not the least of which is Dr. Konrad, who makes Dr. Mengele look like Strawberry Shortcake. There are all sorts of beings in Blood Oath, fantastic and monstrous alike. And three, this is just a well-written, well-plotted book that kept my attention from cover to cover. The sequel, The President's Vampire, will be out on April 28, 2011.

Other reviews:
Ms. Bookish
Jenn's Bookshelves
The Vampire Librarian


Jen D. said...

Thanks so much for reviewing this book Jen. By far one of the better ones out there for this book. Any hesitation I had about giving it a try is long gone. =)

Jen said...

Thanks! I just won the sequel on LibraryThing so I will be reviewing that one soon too.