Tuesday, June 8, 2010

CBR Book#45: Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

This book was first brought to my attention via an item on Pajiba. I must admit, the synopsis makes the premise of this book sound horrible. Just bad and idiotic. Add to that the fact that Farnsworth's book had been picked up to be made into a movie before the book was even released and you'll appreciate my reluctance to read this book. Then I decided, screw it. I'm reading it. And then I did. And I'm glad I did, though now I'll worry about Hollywood destroying what Farnsworth has created.

Zach Barrows is that guy. You know, the guy that spends his life kissing ass and living to do what it takes to get where he wants to be? The one that knows what to say, how to say it, and who to say it to in order to get what he wants? That guy. Well, Zach made it to the White House and believes that he is on his way to his dream position as chief of staff; a stepping stone to his ultimate goal. Alas, Zach won't be getting that particular promotion. He has instead been chosen to a secret position within the White House. Zach has been tapped to replace the current handler of Nathaniel Cade, a secret agent sworn to protect the president. Cade is, of course, no ordinary agent, but a vampire who has entered into a blood oath to serve and protect the President of the United States of America.

Zach is understandably annoyed, scared, and overwhelmed at his new position and his new colleague. Cade has been working for Presidents for one hundred and sixty years and has lost much of his humanness in that time. Before either one can adjust to the other, they are alerted to a possible plot involving the reanimated dead attacking the White House. Zach and Cade have to learn to work together while on the job and Zach has to come to terms with the abrupt shift his life's focus has taken. Along the way, Farnsworth throws some great obstacles in the form of Dr. Johann Konrad, a shadowy government agency known as the Company, and a mole in their midst.

It is easy to see, apart from the current vampire fad, why this novel would be picked up for a movie. Farnsworth has laid out a background for Cade that differs from other vampire origins stories, yet still clings to the self-loathing that accompanies most 'good' vampires. Zach is a reluctant kiss-ass that transforms to become the person that he needs to be to properly fulfill the duties given to him. The villains are fleshed out just enough, with one sharing a history and long-standing feud with Cade. The action in the novel is full of ass whippings, explosions, gunfire, and torture. The ending also leaves us anticipating a whole series of novels, and probably movies as well. Anyone who was unsure about this novel after reading the shitty, shitty synopsis should give it a try. Let's hope Farnsworth is able to deliver the same quality in any subsequent works. Let's also hope that Hollywood doesn't screw this up.

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