Blood and Ice by Robert Masello

A review of the crime thriller novel Blood and Ice by Robert Masello.

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“Welcome to the ends of the earth.” That is the pilot’s announcement over the loud speaker as a small passenger plane lands the closest to Antarctica it will dare. From here, Michael—a grieving photo-journalist who has spent his last months cooped up in the house he once shared with his partner—will travel by ship to Point Adelie in the hope of immersing himself so far in his work that he might escape the torment of his conscience.

But Michael isn’t the only character whose compelling story is followed in this novel; the chapters immaculately swoop between present day, with Michael’s journey and experience of the remote research station at Point Adelie, and 19th Century London, where Sinclair, a Lieutenant in the 17th Lancers, gambles and drinks away his time while waiting to be dispatched to fight against Russia in the Crimea war.

And, ever so surprisingly, the tales of these two very different men living in very different times manage to cross for the last third of the book, under quite credible circumstances—that is, if you believe in the supernatural. While on a diving expedition Michael finds the perfectly preserved bodies of a man and a woman, bound together with chains and buried in ice, deep beneath the sea.

Blood and Ice was published around the same time as the vampire trend took hold within supernatural novels and TV programs, such as True Blood and the Vampire Diaries, and the novels of the Twilight saga. However, Masello didn’t give in to the allure of the obvious vampire trend, and the word ‘vampire’ is never used in the story. Instead, the ‘infliction’ came in the Crimea war, where creatures fed on wounded soldiers, with the ones who survived carrying with them the blood thirst associated with vampirism. The gritty details and vivid descriptions of Michael’s experiences are so thoroughly, and often bitterly, realistic that I became completely immersed and quite obsessed with this unique story.

If you fancy reading a supernatural story but don’t want to be overwhelmed with vampires, witches and werewolves, then this book is for you. If you enjoy books that cleverly span great amounts of time, appreciate historical fact-fiction, or you simply like a tricky and unconventional love triangle, then put Blood and Ice on the top of your reading list.

Rebecca Delphine is a Young Adult author from Thanet.

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