I had to review this book as the excerpt gave such a poor impression of it. It was quite enjoyable. It is the story of a Indian prince who must, to free his family from a curse, remove a vampire from a cemetery and carry it/him to a wizard. The vampire is quite a funny fellow and tells a series of stories. At the end of each story, Prince Vikram must either hold his tongue or at least reply politely to the vampire's story. This proves impossible for him, so many tales end with the vampire escaping Vikrams bag and returning to his tree, only to be collected and carried away again, for the length of another story, until finally the prince learns wisdom.
This was one of the best books I've ever read, as far as entertainment goes. Originally published as a serial, it contains a few continuity flaws, but the characters are all vividly described and the action, spanning England, the continent of Europe, and a whole lot of cemeteries, is amazing. Varney himself seems to transform as time passes. In the beginning, he's a very sympathetic anti-hero and the first half of the book is quite humerous, despite a good deal of grave-robbing and murder. In the second half, Varney seems to have a sort of nervous breakdown after numerous forced re-vitalizations and he becomes suicidal and homicidal. Bodies pile up. The vampires of the bookare are much like men, and can be killed, but when the corpse is placed under a full moon they revive. It's rather horrific actually. At least once Varney 'starves' to death, only to revive and be placed in the same position of desiring the blood of a beautiful virgin. Poor guy. Great book. :)