To Taste The Dragon’s Blood
T. M. Moore
Published 2006 228 pages
The year is 2069 and humanity is embarking its most ambitious space project ever, a manned trip to Mars. A team of astronauts and scientists, each an expert in their own field, are hand picked to make the trip and one of these experts is Jonathan Kraine, a forensic archaeologist. His duties on the mission promise to be the lightest because data from previous probes has shown Mars to be a barren planet with no indigenous life forms.
Upon arrival at Mars, the scientists discover a huge electro magnetic anomaly and set out to record it and investigate its cause. Whilst taking samples on the surface of Mars Jonathan discovers the entrance to a huge cavern. The cavern walls are made of a smooth material that the team have never seen before and are covered in symbols and hieroglyphs, the most recognisable of which appears to look like stylised dragon.
This promises to be the most important scientific discovery in the history of man, proof that life exists on other planets, and even though Jonathan is plagued by strange nightmares of the ruins and a blood sucking dragon he is eager to fully investigate his find. The ruins are explored further and a chamber full of human looking bodies stored in broken cryosleep tubes is found. One of the tubes appears to be functioning and the team take the sleeping frozen alien body back to the space ship for return to Earth.
The ship leaves Mars and arrives back at Earth but by that time only two people are left alive on the ship, Jonathan and the sleeping alien. Revived in the moon base Jonathan can remember nothing of the journey home. The alien, Andru, is revived and proves to be charming but Jonathan has his doubts. When a nurse at the base is attacked he suspects that Andru is the culprit.
It soon becomes clear that there are other forces at work, forces that want both Jonathan and Andru - the only witnesses of what exists on Mars - dead. This forces Jonathan into an unlikely alliance with Andru, an alien vampire, who soon turns out to be the only person he can trust.
This novel is based on some short stories that the author wrote for a fanzine named General Quarters between 1988 and 1995. It pays homage to the author’s love of horror and science fiction films and novels and you can clearly see the influence of classic vampire films and books such as Dracula.
The author has a wide range of influences, aliens, vampires, Atlantis and factual science and has woven them together with current down to earth human fears. In today’s political climate, what would the arrival of an alien mean to religious and political groups? Especially an alien vampire, who was playing with human DNA in order to make the perfect meal? I think that the author’s idea that the information would be forcibly suppressed by fundamentalists is all too realistic.
There are some faults with the book. I think it would have benefited from better editing. The story is essentially sound but the future setting of 2069 seems very much like the present day, the dialogue is a little clunky in places and some parts of the plot are never explained clearly, for example how did the crew of the space ship die? Even Jonathan the novel’s central character never seems to form a hypothesis on what happened.
That said, I really enjoyed this book. It had some unexpected plot turns and the story never takes the obvious line. To Taste The Dragon’s Blood is an immensely entertaining read. It is a mixture of science fiction, horror, thriller and romance that is hard to resist once you start reading.
I’d rate this book at 3.5 stars and I think that if you love vampires and also have interest in science fiction you would enjoy reading this book. I know I did.
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You can find out more about the work of T. M. Moore at the Antellus website. Visit the Antellus site.