Wednesday, October 6, 2010

13. Vampireology

The True History of the Fallen Ones
By Archibald Brooks
Edited by Nick Holt
$19.99, ages 9-12, 30 pages.

Vampires are lurking everywhere and unless you take heed, you may be cursed with bloodthirst for all eternity, the late Archibald Brooks warns in this entrancing visual guide to dealing with the undead.

As you flip through the pages of the album-size scrapbook, scholar Brooks provides everything you need to evade the curse of the Fallen Ones, including tips to detect vampires and protect yourself from their deadly charms.

Above all else, Brooks writes, don't be fooled into believing the romantic stories you've read from Bram Stoker and his ilk about vampires, for these fanged creatures are more than a glamorous fiction.

They have insinuated themselves in every corner of society and, if they want to, they can wipe out humankind forever. For now, they've refrained from doing so, but only because they need our positive energy as much as our blood.

"…the more they can corrupt human energy into something wicked, the more powerful they become, for it is from destruction of our essential humanity that they derive strength," Brooks explains. "…we are their playthings as much as their food."

Sadly, our Brooks was murdered at the British Museum on May 12, 1920, two decades after writing the book. We can all be grateful that he had the foresight to hide it in a museum cupboard, and leave instructions with his trusted friend, detective Joshua Kraik, to guard his research and take up the call of "Protector."

A Protector is a person of courage and intellect who takes on the fight to defeat the Fallen Ones. If the Protector's life is threatened, he chooses another human to take up the mantel, and as the books opens, we read the last letters Brooks would ever write, in which he beseeches Kraik to be the next vampire slayer.

Filled with scintillating details, Brooks's make-believe book is both a guide to survival and a call to readers everywhere to take up the call of vampire slayer. "Be certain," he warns, "this is not a child's game. It is a war, and we face the enemy's heavy assault dressed in our human weakness."

Since before time, according to Brooks, these bloodthirsty creatures have been dining on humans and transforming them into vampires through "The Ritual of Making." In this process, a vampire feeds three times on a human, then drains his blood and fills him back up with his own evil blood.

Many readers may be startled by how many of history's villains were vampires. Attila the Hun, who could rip men apart with his bare hands, was one, as was the French emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. And at the time this book was written, Rasputin, "the mad monk," was attempting to gain favor with Russia's elite with mind control.

So one might ask, how did vampires ever come to Earth? According to legends of Heaven, Brooks says, vampires are descended from three angels who rebelled against God. Under God's orders, the angels were slain, burned and cast down to Earth to become piles of smouldering ashes.

Wandering tribes saw the ashes and foolishly began worshipping them. This resurrected the creatures, who awoke with a terrible thirst for blood and set out to seek revenge against Heaven, each going their separate way through the world to spread their curse through progeny.

The greatest challenge today, according to Brooks, is to find four shards of a sword carried by Archangel Michael, who led the attack for God on the rebel angels. After the battle with the Fallen Ones, the shards fell into four corners of Earth, and if they can be retrieved and pieced together, vampires will be destroyed forever.

Thanks to the intrepid Brooks, one of these shards has been recovered in a page of this book. But as you search for the other shards, you must be on guard at all times, for vampires are superior to us in strength and speed, and if given a chance, will change shape and hypnotize us with their violet eyes.

As readers make their way through this guide, they come across items inserted after Brooks's death by Kraik, including some from a casket Brooks bequeathed to Kraik. Among them, a photograph of the late author with a woman on his arm, a locket containing strands of copper hair, a bag of pearls, a dagger and a newspaper clip of Brook's obituary.

Kraik also attaches telegrams between himself and a mysterious Venetian lady named, "Magdalena." Kraik wants to trust this woman, and goes from being suspicious of her to being preoccupied by her. As this is all going on, he notices he's being followed by two suspicious men and begins to wonder if he's walking into a trap.

This latest book in the best-selling "ology" series is meant to dispel romantic notions of vampires, but you be the judge. As you leaf through slips of paper and see the remnants of encounters with vampires, there's something very seductive about it and you may just find yourself delightfully lost in the eeriness of it all.

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