Blood and Ice- Robert Masello

When it’s cold outside and I need to choose a book to read, it can go one of two ways. Either I want total distraction, in which case I go for something with descriptions of somewhere nice and warm, think Under the Tuscan Sun. Otherwise, I hop in a hot bath and read about poor souls suffering in a subzero climate. Schadenfreude. Blood and Ice was one of these.

Set on a base near the South Pole, Blood and Ice follows a journalist writing for an eco travel magazine who is trying to escape his personal demons following an accident for which he was responsible. His editor wants him to take some stunning pictures, write about the work that the scientists are doing there and point out that climate change may destroy the stunning landscape for ever. But of course, having a title like Blood and Ice, it was never going to be that simple and his problems really begin when, on a diving expedition, he discovers a man and a woman chained together beneath the ice with a cache of wine bottles containing human blood. Guess where we’re going with this…

As a vampire story it was satisfying enough, not a great work in the genre, but an entertaining read and no one sparkled which was good enough for me. What really struck me about it was how similar it was in many ways to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. There were countless references to the Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which given the setting and scenes like a ship trapped in sea ice or dog chases across the poles can’t have been a coincidence. Maybe it was trying to say something about humans meddling with science, though if it was it didn’t work. Maybe the author just found himself inspired.

It’s not a bad book, but it’s nothing great either, especially if you’re looking for a horror book.

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