Monday, June 22, 2015
Crossover Cover: More Than Mortal
The third novel in Mick Farren's Renquist Quartet series. Nosferatu Victor Renquist visits England at the request of a female troika of his fellow undead, and becomes a witness to the Urshu known as Taliesin the Merlin’s emergence from his centuries-long hibernation. Merlin’s cocoon was unearthed in a mound excavated by students from Wessex University. The Duke de Richleau led a task force of specialists against occult forces utilized by the Nazis during World War II. Renquist thinks of the few English nosferatu, such as Sir Francis Varney, Barnabas Collins, and Lord Ruthven. A member of the female vampire troika, Marieko Matsunaga, used her powers of persuasion to seduce one of the Wessex students at a pub in Casterbridge in order to investigate the findings at the mound. Marieko is aware of Renquist’s encounter with Cthulhu, one of the monstrous Old Ones. Renquist thinks that the Scottish vampire lord Fenrior may preside over the largest community of their kind since a group of nosferatu and humans caused the dissolution of the Theatre Raoul Privache in Paris. Wessex is a fictional region of England appearing in several novels by Thomas Hardy, including The Mayor of Casterbridge. The Duke de Richleau is featured in a series of novels by Dennis Wheatley. According to Farren, the Duke died in 1997 at the age of 93, whereas Wheatley’s Dangerous Inheritance had the Duke dying in the 1950s, when he was in his eighties. Renquist must have been mistaken as to the Duke’s age and time of death. Sir Francis Varney is from James Malcolm Rymer’s Varney the Vampire. Farren claims that Varney was impaled by a vampire hunter called Dr. Feisal in Persia, whereas Rymer’s novel had Varney committing suicide by throwing himself into a volcano. However, Frank Schildiner’s story “Fear from Above,” set in the 1930s, reveals that Varney survived plunging into Mt. Vesuvius, while Simon R. Green’s novella “The Big Game,” set in the 21st century, elaborates on the circumstances of how he survived. Travis Hiltz’s story “The Mark of the Red Leech” depicts Varney’s destruction in World War I, while Donald F. Glut and Jesse Santos’s comic book story “Dracula’s Vampire Legion” features Dracula resurrecting Varney and other infamous vampires in the 1970s. Varney must have been destroyed and resurrected several times. Barnabus Collins from the television series Dark Shadows is American, but the tie-in novels by “Marilyn Ross” (pseudonym for Dan Ross) have Barnabas visiting England after first becoming a vampire, and only later returning to his native Collinsport, Maine. Lord Ruthven is from John Polidori’s “The Vampyre.” Farren claims that Ruthven was captured by the Greek Orthodox Church and exposed to sunlight, killing him. However, Polidori’s story had Ruthven walking around in the daytime. Perhaps the Church conducted a ritual that removed Ruthven’s immunity to sunlight. If so, then Ruthven’s destruction was not permanent either, given his resurrection in “Dracula’s Vampire Legion,” as well as his appearance in the movie Countess Dracula’s Orgy of Blood. Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones are from the stories of H.P. Lovecraft; Renquist and his coven encountered Cthulhu in the second novel in the series, Darklost. Raoul Privache is the vampire from John Metcalfe’s short novel The Feasting Dead. Although there is no theatre in Metcalfe’s novel, a Theatre Raoul Privache in Paris appears in Kim Newman’s The Bloody Red Baron. The Theatre mentioned in More Than Mortal must be the CU version of the Theatre in the Anno Dracula Universe. Taliesin the Merlin’s portrayal does not fit with other versions of Merlin in the CU, and therefore he is likely one of many individuals to use that name.