Think The Phantom on SYFY. They even use that dreaded word reimagined in the trailer. It arrives June 20th. I’d last heard about it so long ago that I’d forgotten about it.
My second David McDaniel post in a row. The previous was an old read that I decided to use for a Forgotten Friday book post because I was reading this one for the first time in forty-five years. The copy I had was new to me, the British edition of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. novel, THE VAMPIRE AFFAIR, that I stumbled across and got for what I thought was a reasonable price.
The book is one of my favorites of the series, all of McDaniel’s titles really, as well as the unpublished one. He built a consistent history in his novels and was even one of the ones that developed the Thrush acronym. The TV series folks just had it as a name and had never given thought to any meaning of the word. Technical Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity.
In his first book, THE DAGGER AFFAIR, it was revealed that Thrush was an outgrowth of the remnants of a collapsed criminal ring run by no less than Professor Moriarity(Sherlock Holmes even appeared in THE RAINBOW AFFAIR). Ward Baldwin was introduced, a contemporary of Alexander Waverly dating back to The Great War, and made a few appearances in the seven novels as an executive of Thrush.
Our two favorite agents are sent to Romania to investigate the death of an U.N.C.L.E. agent believed by local officials to have committed suicide. Waverly had sent him there to check out the death of two peasants found dead in the forest drained of all blood. Carl Endros had been found against a tree, dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot, no blood in his body or around it, no footprints in evidence. Waverly thought it was some kind of joke and wanted Napoleon and Illya to find who was responsible.
The pair got more than they bargained for. Encounters with a pack of wolves, called off by a mysterious individual who suspiciously looked like paintings of a two hundred year old Count, and later seeming to be immune to bullets, being driven off by two silver knives formed into a cross. Napoleon is suspicious and Illya’s suspicion is tempered by a dose of his old world Russian peasant upbringing.
Neither really believe in vampires or werewolves, so what is really going on. They suspect Thrush, but what might their game be? Why the pose as vampires?
They are aided in their investigations by a real Count, title meaningless these days, named Zoltan Dracula who wants to get into the family castle, sold in 1939, and real life SF and horror fan, collector, Forrest J Ackerman, in Romania doing research for his magazine FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND. The climax has them invading Castle Dracula from lower level tunnels.
It was fun rereading this old one.
GO HERE to reach McDaniel’s unpublished seventh U.N.C.L.E., The Final Affair, to read or download.