the Vampire Slayer
Blood and Fog

Author: Nancy Holder
Pocket Books
RRP 6.99
ISBN 0 7434 6819 8
Available now

Buffy Summers is on the trail of a killer demon in Sunnydale, and reluctantly accepts the help of Spike. But Spike has his own agenda, and it involves something the demon is carrying; a vial of pure magical power. Spike knows plenty of people and demons who will pay top dollar for this vial including an ancient evil known as The First. Spike has encountered The First before. In the good old days in Victorian London, when Spike, Drusilla, Angelus and Darla ran through the night in pursuit of dark fun, another evil being was stalking the streets, dispatching young women with brutal efficiency. But when the so-called 'Jack the Ripper' struck too close to their twisted 'family', the vampires found themselves on the same side as the Slayer of the time. Working to bring down Jack, and running afoul of The First, Spike and the Slayer formed an uneasy alliance, which followed Spike all through the twentieth century to present day Sunnydale, now blanketed in a mysterious fog...

Blood and Fog is quite a slow novel, which all comes to a head in the last chapter. Maybe its just that it's a little on the cheesy side by saying Jack the Ripper was a demon, or maybe its just not a great story, but it doesn't really grip. There's hardly any mention of The First, but its always cool to hear about past Slayers and their Watchers, so its not all bad. The story is set half way through season seven of the TV series and there are some good tie-in's with events going on in the show. It's this attention to detail which make the Buffy and Angel books stand out - added value for full-on fans.

The story is ok, with Jack actually really called Thak - a fairy mix breed that is set on bringing the fairies back to Earth (oh, they're evil by the way) and fighting a war for supremacy. Thak, with his own special powers due to his mixed heritage, actually plans to take over from whatever king comes out on top and take the crown for himself. To do this however, he needs to add power to his spooky fog that covers the town and is sending everyone over the edge with fear. Someone somewhere has the vial of magic he needs, and he needs to track them down before he runs out of time. Spike finally tells the Buffster about his last attempt and how the vamps worked with the Slayer of the time to stop him then, and the final battle begins.

Of course the good guys come out on top, but not without Willow taking a step or two closer to the dark side. All in all an average novel, with a slightly weak story. In addition, the final chapter has a cracking Farscape homage from Buffy, which in my eyes just gives it an extra mark of ten.

Keri Allan

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