Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review: The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

The ultimate secret. The ultimate agent. Nathaniel Cade returns.
For 140 years, Nathaniel Cade has been the President's Vampire, sworn to protect and serve his country. Cade's existence is the most closely guarded of White House secrets: a superhuman covert agent who is the last line of defense against nightmare scenarios that ordinary citizens only dream of.
When a new outbreak of an ancient evil-one that he has seen before-comes to light, Cade and his human handler, Zach Barrows, must track down its source. To "protect and serve" often means settling old scores and confronting new betrayals . . . as only a centuries-old predator can.

What would our world be like if monsters of the supernatural persuasion were real? What if terrorists could use them to strike at their enemies instead of using bombs? Frankly, I think this world is a scary enough place already without dealing with bugaboos like the ones that Zach and Cade deal with on a regular basis. After finishing The President's Vampire, I was more than a bit thankful that this world hasn't reached this level of crazy just yet. At least, not that we know of.

In Blood Oath, Farnsworth showed us what might happen if some evil mastermind used super-zombies made from the bodies of dead American soldiers to try and invade the White House. In The President's Vampire, Zach and Cade come up against something just as deadly but potentially more dangerous: a highly infectious virus that turns humans into reptile killing machines called "snakeheads". Engineered by "The Company", a black government agency that is run and staffed by people who are chosen specifically for their mal-adjusted sociopathic personalities, this virus is spread by biting or scratching and works instantly to transform its host into a ravenous, slavering monster within minutes. Cade has been working since the 1920's to eradicate the snakeheads but they keep popping up periodically all over the globe. Now that The Company has decided to join the game, the snakeheads are even deadlier than before and with certain politicians working in the background to make sure that Zach and Cade fail, underground government installations hosting experiments made of nightmares, and a plot to set the snakehead creatures loose on a shopping mall full of unsuspecting humans, The President's Vampire is a governmental conspiracy run amuck, stuffed between two book covers.

While I liked Blood Oath (click HERE to see my review) just a tad more than The President's Vampire, the charming aspects of the former are still present in the latter, much to my delight. That Farnsworth frames Cade with people and events that exist in the real world make these books feel somewhat plausible; using different names for the current administration is the biggest concession I could see that makes this fiction other than the, you know, supernatural monsters. I had begun to wonder who would be up next with the cameo appearances though. (TPV stars Bin Laden and John Wilkes Booth, and explains how JFK's assassination was an inside job.) All-in-all, The President's Vampire is another great read and I am already wishing for the next one in this entertaining series.

No comments: