Dreadful Company: A Dr. Greta Helsing Novel—Vampires Underground in Paris

 

Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw book cover
Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw

Dreadful Company, the second of the Dr. Greta Helsing novels , by Vivian Shaw. It continues the adventures of Greta and her friends, the vampire Ruthven and vampyre (there’s a difference) Varney, as they go to Paris for a medical conference. Unfortunately, there’s another vampire in Paris that hates Ruthven and kidnaps Greta to get at him.

1—Glittering Vampires

The vampires who kidnap Greta, led by the murderous twit Corvin, are a bit too into the “creature of the night” thing. They wear body glitter, for fuck’s sake. Corvin even steals bones from Paris’s catacombs to decorate his underground lair—which will become plot relevant down the line. There’s Lilith, Corvin’s consort, who keeps summoning and then abandoning little hairmonsters and wellmonsters. There’s Grisaille, Corvin’s second in command, who’d rather do anything but command. And there’s the newest vampire, Sofiria (nee Emily), who hasn’t really been taught anything she needs to know, not even that the glittering isn’t natural. She has to come see the captive Greta to get even remedial lessons in what it means to be a vampire. 

The vampires who kidnap Greta, led by the murderous twit Corvin, are a bit too into the “creature of the night” thing. They wear body glitter, for fuck’s sake. Corvin even steals bones from Paris’s catacombs to decorate his underground lair—which will become plot relevant down the line. There’s Lilith, Corvin’s consort, who keeps summoning and then abandoning little hairmonsters and wellmonsters. There’s Grisaille, Corvin’s second in command, who’d rather do anything but command. And there’s the newest vampire, Sofiria (nee Emily), who hasn’t really been taught anything she needs to know, not even that the glittering isn’t natural. She has to come see the captive Greta to get even remedial lessons in what it means to be a vampire. 

2—A Rip in Time

Amongst the more personal dramas, there’s also the fact that something is causing a tear in time, allowing the past to intrude on the present. It’s up remedial psychopomps—they help souls to the afterlife—Crepusculus Dammerung and Gervase Brightside, along with the rather ineffectual demon Irazek, to figure out what the Hell is going on. Eventually, they also call on the werewolf Alceste St. Germain, the self-appointed guardian of Paris, who’s been a bit preoccupied lately working on his novel.

3—Beneath the Palais Garnier

Besides the catacombs and Corvin’s lair, Greta finds herself beneath the Palais Garnier, where she began the book seeing an opera. It turns out The Phantom of the Opera was partially true—there’s a house built into the walls of the foundations, and a “lake” as well. And of course, that rip in time I mentioned above means that Greta deals with hallucination-like pieces of someone else’s memories while trying to escape through it all.

Conclusion

Dreadful Company was a delightful novel. I loved that Greta didn’t simply wait around for rescue and managed her own escape. And the descriptions of Paris were fantastic. I can’t wait for the third and final book, Grave Importance.

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