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Review: Hide Me Among the Graves

The strange dreams of fourteen-year-old Christina Rossetti lead to the reanimation of an ancient Nephilim. This vampiric spirit takes the form of a long-dead Uncle, Dr John Polidori, bringing the Rossetti children under ‘his’ protection and muse-like inspiration. But at what cost? And what plan does this living nightmare have for the future Victorian London?

“Hide Me Among the Graves” by Tim Powers was first published in 2012 by Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books Ltd.

In this historic and paranormal novel, the talents of the real-life Rossetti family, most notably Christina and her brother Dante Gabriel, are linked to an otherworldly cause, the ancient vampiric Nephilim. 

At first, the story is set in a recognisable nineteenth-century London. But the further our characters venture into the underbelly of a hidden London, we discover magic, spiritual communion, and the buried past.

Events unfold over twenty years, showing us the consequences of a single decision, an event or a chance meeting. After all, what is twenty years to an immortal?

These events include the sudden yet life-changing meeting of John Crawford, the dedicated veterinarian with a tragic past, and the mysterious Adelaide McKee. But this is no meet-cute, not when the horror that is the Nephilim are involved. 

Tim Powers is known for his extensive research, and it shows. Vampire and history fans alike will notice the poetic irony of the vampiric spirit assuming the form of real-life Polidori, author of “The Vampyre”.

This is just one gem scattered throughout the novel. Another is using the poetry of the day to prepare us for the next scene, a device that is used so perfectly here that the veil between reality and fiction blurs.

For example, Christina Rossetti’s poem “Love Lies Bleeding”

Love that is dead and buried, yesterday

Out of his grave rose up before my face,

No recognition in his look, no trace

Of memory in his eyes dust-dimed and grey

Guess what happens in the next scene.

Powers continues to use language that would not be out of place in Victorian London throughout the novel. For some, that could be offputting, but it adds to the reality we’re immersed in. The brief sketches of surroundings and environment build a world quickly, one that is both recognisable but haunted by its past. 

The story is also fast-paced with a sense of impending dread, heightened all the more for those who know of the lives of the Rossetti’s and those they loved. 

And the difference between the history we, the reader, know and that of this fiction blurs enough to make us question – could this have happened? 

Ideal for historic fiction fans who enjoy a little strangeness and for fans of vampire or weird fiction. 

Fans of Powers will recognise “Hide Me Among the Graves” (2012) as a sequel to the 1989 novel “The Stress of Her Regard.” But the books can be read separately or in any order.

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Mary Wyrd uses what spare time she can to read books and write reviews. As a Freelance Copywriter for creatives and small businesses, you might have read her work without even knowing it.

To find her in the wild, she sometimes lurks on Twitter.