Review: Carpathia

By Matt Forbeck

Angry Robot, out now (US), 1 March (UK)

What could make people wish that they’d drowned on the Titanic rather than be rescued?

Matt Forbeck’s terrific thriller suggests that the RMS Carpathia, the real-life ship that came to the rescue of the Titanic survivors, might have been carrying some extra passengers – ones who would be delighted at the arrival of a new food supply. The vampires are, in most cases reluctantly, heading back to their ancestral homes now that New York is unsafe for them, but not everyone wants to leave America.

Forbeck’s story focuses on two separate triangles, one living, one undead, which form a dark mirror of each other. Abe Holmwood and Quin Harker both love the same woman, Lucy Seward (and yes, the choice of surnames is quite deliberate) but as they travel to New York on the Titanic, Quin is forced to watch the other two as a couple, fearing his own station in life isn’t adequate. Meanwhile, below decks on the Carpathia, Dushko Dragovich and Brody Murtaugh vie for leadership of the vampires and the dubious affections of the haughty Elisabetta. And once these triangles start to overlap, as they inevitably do when vampires are let loose on humanity, the problems really begin for all parties…

There’s plenty of gore and horrifying incidents for those who like their vampire fiction to reflect the ‘reality’ of the situation, rather than the sparkly Twilight variety, and Forbeck uses the social mores of the time to good effect (a kiss on the lips is infinitely more startling than the presence of vampires, for example!)

Verdict: A fast-paced, thoroughly enjoyable historical horror novel.  8/10

Paul Simpson

Check out our reviews of Matt Forbeck’s earlier Angry Robot books:

Amortals      and   Vegas Knights

 

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