Grave Importance—A Fraying Reality

Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw book cover
Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw

Grave Importance, by Vivian Shaw, is the third and final book in the Dr. Greta Helsing series. Greta has been called in by a friend to temporarily run Oasis Natrun, an exclusive health clinic for mummies. Something is causing the patients to black out and it’s up to Greta to find out what. There’s also the matter of her best friend being cursed and needing to be taken to Hell, Sir Frances Varney proposing, and reality itself coming under attack.

1—The Whole Gang

All my favorite characters show up. Greta, of course. The vampire Ruthven and the vampyre Varney. But also the vampires Grisaille (who’s now Ruthven’s sweetie) and Emily from the second book. And from the first book there’s Cranswell—Ruthven’s friend who works at a London museum—and Nadezhda, Hippolyta, and Anna, Greta’s team at her London clinic. Not everyone gets a starring role, of course, but they’re all there. And there are new people to meet too—mummies, and angels, and Dr. Faust himself.

2—So Many Mysteries

So much happens in this book, though it never feels crammed or rushed. What starts out for Greta as a sort of working vacation—mummies are her specialty and passion—quickly turns into a puzzle. Besides the mysterious affliction affecting the mummies, some mysterious angels for some reason places a curse on Ruthven while he’s vacationing with Grisaille. Then there’s the little mystery of the weakening of the fabric of reality itself—Hell’s monitoring department hasn’t beed doing it’s job that last eighty years and it’s up to Fastitocalan, Greta’s demon friend, to figure out what’s going on with that. And Cranswell and Grisaille team up with some demons to steal an ancient Egyptian Stele from a New York museum.


YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Skip to the Conclusion if you don’t want to know what’s all going on and just read the book and find out for yourself.

So it turns out all the things that happened in the first two books were the result of two angels from another reality having been sent to deliberately weaken the fabric of reality so that their reality can invade. Which they do, at about a forth of the way through the book. It’s up to Hell to try to save their version of Heaven from another one. And while the world is literally ending, Greta and her crew get pulled in to do emergency surgeries in Hell’s hospital—as one character puts it: M*A*S*H: Paradise Lost. Everything does work out in the end, surprisingly thanks to Varney. And the two angels who spent the last eighty years working for this havoc find it isn’t so glorious after all, and I actually kind of hope they ended up ok—it’s implied but not stated outright. I didn’t expect to be sympathetic to them, but once they realize they don’t quite fit into their world anymore, well. Like I said, I wasn’t expecting to be sympathetic.


Grave Importance was a hell of a ride (pun only somewhat intended). It pulls together the threads woven in the first two books and caps it all off with the literal end of the world, which then somehow gets a happy ending. I ended the book feeling happy, and hopeful. I enjoyed Grave Importance thoroughly and recommend the whole series.

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