Frightful Friday is a weekly meme in which I feature a particularly scary or chilling book that I’ve read that week. This week’s featured book is Carpathia by Matt Forbeck:
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Angry Robot (February 28, 2012)
- ISBN-10: 0857662023
- Source: Personal copy
We all know the story of the Titanic right? In the spring of 1912, while making a voyage across the Atlantic, hits a iceberg and meets a tragic end. But what if that wasn’t the end of the tragedy?
Among those on the Titanic are Abe Holmwood, Quin Harker and Lucy Sewald, all bound for the United States to start new lives of their own. A bit of a love triangle exists between this trio; they have been friends forever, Abe and Lucy have been a couple for some time. Yet when the Titanic hits the iceberg, and their lives are in danger, Lucy can’t help but question her feelings for Quin. Sounds a bit cliche I suppose, but we can’t have a story involving the Titanic without an element of love, right?
In Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia, the victims of the Titanic are rescued by the Carpathia. The survivors of the sinking of the Titanic believe the worst is over. Yet little do they know, their terror has just begun. For within the cargo hold of the Carpathia are a group of savage creatures, thirsting for blood. This motley crew of vampires is on their way to the Old Country from the United States. Within them lies turmoil, disagreement lying in their decision to return “home.”
The vampires slink out of the ship’s cargo hold, attacking victims of the Titanic in the water, victims struggling for survival. Those witnessing the attacks assume the culprits are sharks and while they feel remorse for those that are lost, their fate was determined for them. No one could survive any extended period of time in the frigid, choppy waters.
Ultimately, just over 700 of the Titanic’s passengers are rescued. Once onboard, their lives are still in danger. The vampires hidden in the cargo hold now join the rest of the passengers of the ship, attempting to blend in. Impossible to resist the temptation, they begin attacking not only the survivors of the Titanic, but the passengers of the Carpathia as well.
Abe, Quin & Lucy have an advantage over the other passengers in this fight against the vampires: twenty years ago their parents fought a similar fight. Ardent fans of Bram Stoker’s Dracula will recognize the last names of these individuals.
Bottom line, Forbeck does an excellent job of turning a tragic event in history into a completely unique and even more terrifying event. Most of the terror resides in what the reader believes to have happened for Forbeck does a great deal of the particularly brutal acts “off scene.” The fact that he successfully weaves one of my favorite classics into the story forces me to appreciate him as a writer even more. Additionally, while I did have some issues with aspects of the story they didn’t deter from my overall feelings about the book. Bottom line: Carpathia is evidence of Forbeck’s talent and genius, a book I recommend wholeheartedly.