A People's History of the Vampire Uprising ~~ Raymond A. Villareal



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A People's History of the Vampire Uprising by Raymond A. Villareal
A virus that turns people into something somehow more than human quickly sweeps the world, upending society as we know it.

This panoramic thriller begins with one small mystery. The body of a young woman found in an Arizona border town, presumed to be an illegal immigrant, walks out of the town morgue. To the young CDC investigator called in to consult the local police, it's a bizarre medical mystery.


More bodies, dead of a mysterious disease that solidifies their blood, are brought to the morgue, and disappear. In a futile game of catch-up, the CDC, the FBI, and the US government must come to terms with what they're too late to stop: an epidemic of vampirism that will sweep first the United States, and then the world.

Impossibly strong, smart, poised, beautiful, and commanding, these vampires reject the term as derogatory, preferring the euphemistic "gloamings." They quickly rise to prominence in all aspects of modern society: sports, entertainment, and business. Soon people are begging to be 're-created, ' willing to accept the risk of death if their bodies can't handle the transformation. The stakes change yet again when a charismatic and wealthy businessman, recently turned, decides to do what none of his kind has done before: run for political office.

This sweeping yet deeply intimate fictional oral history--told from the perspectives of several players on all sides of the titular vampire uprising--is a genre-bending, shocking, immersive and subversive debut that is as addictive as the power it describes.
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A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising is the first novel by American attorney and author Raymond A Villareal. CDC research physician Dr Lauren Scott is called to Nogales, an Arizona border town, to examine a body showing unusual signs, but when she arrives at the morgue, the body has vanished. A second body which she does examine also goes missing, and witnesses have a strange tale to tell. Lauren has just encountered the first case of what she later terms Nogales organic blood illness virus (NOBI).

When that missing body is identified as Liza Sole, investigators follow a trail to her eventual, if short-lived capture. While in custody, Liza displays remarkable physical signs, and her blood sample is puzzling. In fact, plenty of strange things surround this case, but other victims found drained of all blood, with apparent bite marks on the neck seem to indicate something thought to be the stuff of horror fiction.

The survivors of the NOBI virus, who prefer to call themselves Gloamings, are endowed with desirable physical attributes: strength, speed, beauty, Intellect and apparent longevity, leading to their success in many fields. Others soon clamour to be re-created, despite the high risk of death during the process, and the fatal effects of sunlight thereafter. And from where these re-created people will obtain the fresh blood that they need to survive is a question that ought not to just be ignored.

When politicians of various stripes (congressmen, senators, cardinals) decide to re-create as Gloamings, it really gets interesting. How do you conduct an election campaign if you can’t emerge during the day? What does it mean for the Church if the Pope lives for a few centuries?

This People’s History covers about four years and does not just detail the arrival of vampires into modern society but also examines how we react to a new variant of our human species; how accommodating (or not) we are to the different needs of a section of the population, against the current “enlightened” background of tolerance, acceptance and equality. Do goodwill and charity overcome discrimination and xenophobia?

As well as straight narratives, Villareal uses a variety of other means to convey his tale: media articles (newspapers, gossip magazines, law journals, theological review), interview transcripts, email, blog, obituary, testimonials and even three appendices. Through these, Villareal examines, from different perspectives, the ramifications (practical, legal, economic and political) of such a massive and unforeseen change in society.

While Villareal’s legal background is particularly apparent in some parts, the narratives don’t lack action and excitement, and if things don’t end with a bang, that makes it seem all the more realistic. This is not your average vampire tale: it’s interesting, utterly plausible and definitely thought-provoking. An impressive debut novel.
This unbiased review from an Uncorrected Proof copy received from Hachette Australia.
Marianne
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