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The Vampires of Finestere

Novel by Peter Saxon 1968.

'Peter Saxon' is a house name, here used by Rex Dolphin, which sounds like a bad pseudonym if ever I heard one. His only entry in the 'Saxon' oeuvre, this is fourth in The Guardians series, begun by Dark Ways to Death (1968).

Nicholas Brooke visits the Guardians, a group of people dedicated to the fight against evil, at their London base with a weird story of what happened when he and his girlfriend Margot were lost in Brittany. They stumbled onto a ritual procession, complete with men dressed as wolves and skeletons, and which ended in an orgy, during which Margot was stolen from him. He woke up alone and bewildered. The Guardians determine the location as the isolated village of Tregonnec, and Steven Kane goes undercover to discover whether Margot is still alive, and if so, to rescue her. In the process he discovers a frightened people, living in fear of what their master can do to them; and the fantastic story behind the master himself.

Possibly the best of the tales of the Guardians (only Ross Richards's Through the Dark Curtain holds a candle to it), this one is pretty much a Steven Kane adventure; the other Guardians take only backseat roles. There are a few similarities to Robin Hardy and Anthony Shaffer's The Wicker Man, written ten years later, another tale based on ancient folklore surviving in an small and isolated community, and one that was made into one of the best horror films ever. Even though this one has a happy ending, it would be interesting to see it converted onto celluloid as well. The title is a bit misleading; though vampires of a sort appear, they are far from the conventional Dracula type.

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