The Nosferatu Scroll begins with a rather strange burial in Bohemia, in 1741. An aristocratic lady is sent to a remote chapel on the banks of the Vltava River to be buried, rather than being laid to rest in the family vault in Vienna. In secret, her heart is removed and when she is finally interred, it is beneath a layer of heavy stone. The inscription that marks her final resting place is plain, and doesn’t elude to her high-born status or family. It’s as if she has been disowned.
Back to the present, and Chris Bronson, a British policeman, and his ex-wife Angela Lewis, an archaeologist working for the British Museum are holidaying in Venice. They decide to take a trip out to visit the Isola di San Michele, an island cemetery. However, when they discover that a two hundred year old tomb has been opened and desecrated, their holiday takes a different turn. On seeing a diary hidden in the tomb with the remains of a female skeleton, Angela takes it, intent on discovering why it was buried with the it’s writer.
The plot thickens when the bodies of a number of missing young women from the city start appearing in the cemetery, and it’s clear that they have all been killed in the same terrible, ritualistic way. And then Angela disappears, and it is left to Bronson to find her before she too ends up dead.
The Nosferatu Scroll is a fast-paced, action-filled story. The historical aspects of the book were obviously well-researched, and the exotic location was vividly brought to life with colourful descriptions. The plot was filled with twists and turns, some I expected, others I didn’t expect. And to my mind, the ending of the story was perfect.
One of the highlights of the book was the chapter of historical notes provided by the author after the story, entitled ‘The Real Vampire Chronicles’. In it he discusses the history of vampire mythology and why he chose Venice as the setting for his book. I found this just as fascinating as the story itself.
I highly recommend this to other readers of mystery, thriller and, of course, vampire fiction. It is a very clever, well-written read.