A lush historical adventure that’s equal parts Gothic horror as it is tale of lost love, The Gift: Eleanor is the first in an exhilarating new trilogy that takes you from the Titanic to the trenches of WWI, and Honduran shipwrecks to ancient crypts in the heart of London.
The North Atlantic, 14 April 1912. Amid the chaos of the sinking Titanic, a young Eleanor Annenberg meets the eyes of a stranger and is immediately captivated. As the ship buckles around them, she follows him down into the hold and finds him leaning over an open sarcophagus, surrounded by mutilated bodies. She catches but a glimpse of what lies within before she’s sucked into a maelstrom of freezing brine and half-devoured corpses.
Elle is pulled out of the water, but the stranger – and the secrets she stumbled upon – are lost. Unintentionally, however, he leaves her a gift; one so compelling that Elle embarks on a journey that pulls her into a world of ancient evils, vicious hunters and human prey to find the man who saved her that fateful night. From trench warfare at Cape Helles in 1915 to a shipwreck in the tropical shallows off the Honduran coast, from a lost mine beneath the towering Externsteine in a Germany on the verge of war to the gothic crypts of Highgate Cemetery in London, Elle gets closer to a truth she has sought for most of her life. But at what cost? Gifts, after all, are seldom free.
An immersive gothic story spanning decades, The Gift is a compelling read that weaves the supernatural of Dracula with the adventure of Indiana Jones.
My thoughts: this was a fun, adventurous romp through early twentieth century history, a lot of it terrible, following in the footsteps of a monster who kills his own kind and recruits others to his cause. Elle spends her life in pursuit of the mysterious Balthazar, hunting him across the globe, from Michigan to Folkestone, the Caribbean to German forests, she won’t stop looking.
Hidden in the relics and artifacts of ancient civilizations are clues to the creatures known as Crimen – the Guilty. Vampiric monsters who want only to feed on the flesh of the living, they wiped whole societies out, and few references to them remain. As a ethnologist, Elle has studied these traces, putting forward a theory about them that she slowly discovers might just be right.
She risks her life to find out more, especially as Germany edges towards the Second World War, her being American doesn’t stop her being Jewish making the increasingly violent state suspicious of her. But in being sent to Britain, a place she left in 1912, she might just finally get her answers.
Elle is a sort of scientific proto-Buffy. In love with a monster, and in need of her own Scooby gang (yes I spent my teens obsessively watching the show, yes I can still quote bits of it.) She’s incredibly smart and doesn’t care much about her personal safety. Balthazar has left clues all over the world as he wades through the trenches at Gallipoli, or hunts in the Belgian Congo, for the banshee Siobhan, carving a legend along the way. Setting everything up for an incredible series of exciting and hair raising adventures.
Who wants to win a book?
Fancy winning a copy of this fantastic tale? Then simply follow me on Twitter and tweet me this password: #TheGiftisGiving you have between right now and publication day on December the 9th.
UK/Ireland only, book will be provided by the publisher. ramblingmads is not responsible for safe delivery of your prize.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.