An intriguing vampire thriller that successfully mingles supernatural horror with psychological insight. A young British scholar travels to Greece to work on his doctoral thesis. While there, he gets involved in some very mysterious business, and several of his close friends must travel to Crete to retrieve him. They are shocked when they find that he has become the victim of a female vampire, a remnant of an ancient pagan culture. His rescuers must destroy the villainous creature before they can return her victim to Britain. Even with the vampire's destruction, however, her repulsive curse lives on.
The characters are remarkably chauvinistic and stuffy and pretentious, and a large percentage of the book focuses just on exploring the main character.
This is a buddy novel set in the pretentious halls of turn-of-the-century British academia. Because of this, there is a distinctly homoerotic feel from one of the rescuers, Anthony Seymour, and of the main character, Dickie Fountain.
There is also an older gay 'auntie,' who is a likable character despite his stereotypically gay fussing and fluttering about.
In all, it is never clear if there is any vampirism, or if this was just a blood cult bent on sadomasochism. However, there are enough hints of the supernatural to leave the reader unsure.
This book was the basis of a rather poor film called 'Blood Suckers' by director Robert Hartford-Davies (1970). The homosexual undertones of the story were obviously enough that when the film was made, the 'buddy' makes an out-and-out declaration that he is not a homosexual.
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