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The Last Aerie

Novel by Brian Lumley (England) 1993.

Second in his Vampire World trilogy, begun by Blood Brothers (1992).

Harry Keogh is finally no more and all the members of the British E-Branch feel drawn to their headquarters where they witness something of his passing. Meanwhile, through the Perchorsk gate comes a visitor from Starside, source world of the Wamphyri; and Turkur Tzonov, head of the Russian E-Branch, calls in his British counterpart, Ben Trask, to help determine what this visitor actually is: human and safe, or wamphryi and deadly? Trask discovers that the visitor is in fact Nathan Kiklu, Harry Keogh's son, and is here through no choice of his own. He also discovers that Tzonov is planning a full-scale military invasion of Starside, to discover its strengths and to use them for his own benefit in conquering both worlds. With the help of Tzonov's lover, Siggi Dam, Nathan escapes and ends up in London as a guest of the British E-Branch, who help to teach him something of his father's history, and of Harry's talents, which have been passed on, in part at least, to Nathan. But on Starside, his twin brother Nestor is now a fully fledged vampire, Lord Nestor Lichloathe of the Wamphyri, who is developing his own talents as a necromancer.

Like its predecessor, Blood Brothers, this is really many stories in one book: the main two plots consist of Nathan's exile in the hell-lands (ie here!) and his quest to learn how to use the talents passed down to him by his father; and Nestor's continued rise, here from an amnesiac Szgany lad who helps Wran Killglance in his duel against Vasagi the Suck, to a Wamphyri Lord in his own right with his own levels in Wrathstack, the last surviving aerie on Starside. But there's much more here: there's the story of John Scofield's quest even from the grave to kill and kill again the madman who raped, tortured and killed his wife and murdered his son, a quest which unwittingly creates the Nightmare Zone in London, a centre of psychic activity on a grand scale. There's the short story of Cynthia, the freshly dead seven year old whose parents seem unable to cope with their daughter's demise. And there's the Lady Wratha's attempts to unite her aerie and prepare for an inevitable invasion of the remaining Wamphyri Lords from Turgosheim; and there's more as well. But somehow Lumley weaves all the strands into a coherent and fascinating book, itself only the middle third of a larger work, of mind-mangling complexity. If you picture how much imagination Tolkien packed into his epic The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and then discover that Lumley's huge Necroscope saga will end up over three times as long, you'll realise the sort of details he has crammed into the two worlds he has created here. Breathtaking.

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