ANNO DRACULA 1999 DAIKAIJU By Kim Newman
Titan Books, s/b, £8.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
Another great book from legendary author and journalist Kim Newman, further exploring and expanding upon his brilliant Anno Dracula continuum. This is set in Japan, at the dawn of the new millennium as vampire princess Christina Light prepares to usher in the New Year with an enormous party in her dragon-shaped building, the Daikaiju Plaza. All the great and the good will attend – musicians, film stars, politicians, but are her motives just to throw the party of the century, or something more nefarious?
Newman introduces a brace of excellent leading characters in his latest piece of work – some new, some already familiar from his previous novels. Ranging from Nezumi, the ancient schoolgirl vampire, to Jun Zero, the legendary hacker with a mechanical hand, to Richard Jeperson, an aging empathic mortal secret agent, assassins, mercenaries and many others.
Nezumi works with Richard Jeperson, agent of the Diogenes Club, albeit a slightly different version to the one created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. This club is still the ultra-secret British Secret Service, but unsurprisingly has a focus on extraordinary threats to the nation, such as vampires. Trapped within the Daikaiju Plaza as a team of assassins and mercenaries take the party guests hostage, Richard and Nezumi must solve the mystery, stop the hacker, save everyone and thwart the plans of the vampire princess.
Newman takes the reader on another thrilling romp through his vampire-studded world, reveling in rewriting history to incorporate vampires into the narrative, including having Queen Victoria marry a vampire. This particular book has obviously been painstakingly researched to ensure all aspects of Japanese society and pop culture are accurately portrayed, making for an interesting and exciting adventure.