In 1867, some believe that Andrew Johnson – a president whose term was rife with controversy – pardoned someone accused of vampirism. This bizarre piece of history inspired author Christopher Farnworth to write a story about that accused vampire, which developed into Blood Oath. I was sucked into this story and it didn’t let me go – I devoured the whole thing in a weekend.
Consider this tiny, obscure fact as a “What If”… What if there was a vampire working for the President of the United States behind the scenes, handling supernatural threats that the regular police, military, and intelligence forces of the United States could not handle themselves? Now consider 140 years of such threats against the United States and the many wars and enemies we have faced in that time… Look back through the years… We currently have the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Before that was the First Gulf War, the Cold War, Vietnam, Korea, World War II, World War I, the Spanish-American War… And the countless insurgencies, enemies, and tyrants here and there around the world doing evil in the name of whatever ideology they follow.
If a vampire exists, then what other mad scientists, monsters, or creations may be roaming the world as well? Imagine if the Nazis had developed super soldiers or harnessed the artifacts collected for Hitler’s fascination with the supernatural? Consider a world filled with nasty creatures in the dark corners we don’t shine light on because we don’t want to see what’s there…
Now give our vampire hero the strength, brains, and determination of Jack Bauer along with the technology and intelligence-gathering abilities of the United States government. He’d be one heck of a force to be reckoned with. Do you think he’d develop an ego over that century and a half?
But our intrepid author doesn’t stop there. To spice things up, he adds a new liason to the Oval Office into the mix – Zach Barrows, a young, politically-savvy, hot-headed and impetuous individual. After a poor choice in lovers (dating the President’s daughter doesn’t help your career much), Zach finds himself in a world he didn’t know existed and doesn’t want to be in – especially since he’s paired up with Nathaniel Cade, the vampire sworn to protect the President of the United States for the last 140 years.
Through Barrows’ eyes, Farnsworth takes us down the rabbit hole into Cade’s world as he and Zach try to stop a madman from unleashing a biological weapon in the US. And it is one heck of a crazy ride – but one I’d be willing to go on again. His style reads fast and the world he’s describing sucked me in faster than you could say “vampire.” The text on the back cover alone got my attention, but once I started reading I couldn’t stop.
My only knock on the book (and it’s a very small knock) is the similarity to the Hellboy comic and movie series – a young outsider thrust into a world of dark, supernatural secrets and horrors under the tutelage of a more experienced individual or team. But the apprentice/master approach to storytelling has been around as long as people have been telling stories and the backstory and action of Farnsworth’s world is far too entertaining to let a little Hellboy spoil the mood.
I want to know more about this world of Nathaniel Cade and learn about some of the things we didn’t know were going on in this alternate world where horrors are real and we’re not at the top of the food chain! Be sure to pick up your copy of Christopher Farnsworth’s Blood Oath and get sucked into the tales of the President’s vampire! Let’s hope Nathaniel Cade can keep us safe until Farnsworth reveals what’s next for our undead hero.
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