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Area 51: Nosferatu
Robert Doherty
Dell, 310 pages

Area 51: Nosferatu
Robert Doherty
The Area 51 novels are a series of science fiction novels by American author Robert Mayer writing under the pseudonym Robert Doherty. In the opening book of the series it is revealed that in the late 1940s two flying saucers (called "bouncers") and a mile long spacecraft with an interstellar drive are discovered in the remote Nevada desert, with information that leads to the locations of seven more abandoned flying saucers hidden beneath the frozen tundra of Antarctica. As the massive "mothership" is too large to relocate, and so little is known about the alien technology a secret military base is created around the area surrounding the mothership. This becomes known as Area 51.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Area 51 Series

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Nathan Brazil

'Distantly Nosferatu could hear a dog barking in alarm but he kept his mouth tight to the torn vein, allowing the blood to pulse in, the boy's wildly beating heart aiding in the feeding.'
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Mostly a prequel to the Area 51 series, this is the tale of four undead; Vampyr, Tian Dao Lin, Adrik and Nosferatu. There are others, including Nosferatu's undead lover, Nekhbet, but for reasons which will be explained, it is the four named here whose long lives form the principal story. As might be expected from the title, the murderous machinations revolve around Nosferatu and are most often seen from his perspective. The basic idea here is that the Airlia, (a warring alien race detailed in the author's previous works), created vampires back when they were masquerading as Egyptian gods. The purpose being handy living supplies of half-Airlia blood, which the 'gods' used to rejuvenate themselves, and as a kind of exotic drug for their pleasure. Once created, the undead were taken underground and confined to techno-coffins, which exercised their bodies and preserved them almost indefinitely. The only time they were awake and allowed to communicate with one another, was when they were being bled. Until an opportunity for escape was gifted to them by forces opposed to the corrupt Airlia.

What follows is an immensely enjoyable romp, affording tantalizing glimpses of how the escaped vampires wove themselves into human history. Usually in ways which see them recorded as figures such as Ivan the Terrible, Vlad the Impaler and Genghis Khan. Vast ranges of time are crossed, when inconvenient to both the characters and the author, by use of stolen Airlia technology; the coffin-like tubes which are capable of preserving the undead. In this manner hundreds, sometimes thousands of years are traversed, in what the undead refer to as the long sleep. Somehow, it doesn't matter, as when the story picks up, the exuberance and adventure make up for the clumsy plot device. Yes, the story could be picked apart, but this isn't the kind of book that requires deadly accurate realism. It's escapist fun, plundering history and shamelessly twisting it to suit the author's design. A typical example being the revelation that Vampyr fought at Thermopylae with the 300 Spartans against Xerxes, and was the only survivor. While not entirely credible, it is page-turning stuff, and never dull.

Readers of Robert Doherty's previous books in this sequence will be pleased to learn that old 'friends' such as Aspasia's Shadow, the Ones Who Wait, and the Guides put in appearances, sometimes at critical moments. Vampyr, Tian Dao Lin, Adrik and Nosferatu walk bloodily through history, lurking in the shadows or planning to take control, motivated by the desire for revenge, eternal love, and the need for Airlia blood; the thing that can confer upon them true immortality. At the end, we're up to date in series time, and the story of the undead has reached a satisfying conclusion. In summary, Area 51: Nosferatu is worthy addition to the Area 51 series, but contains so many spoilers and references to events in other books, that it should be read as the last in the sequence. The author leaves the door just wide enough for further adventure, and it's a journey I hope he takes us on.

Copyright © 2010 Nathan Brazil

Nathan Brazil
If Nathan Brazil were dyslexic, he'd be the dog of the Well world. In reality, he's an English bloke who lives on an island, reading, writing and throwing chips to the seagulls. Drop by his web site at www.inkdigital.org.


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