Philippe Boulle – Victorian Age Vampire: A Morbid Initiation (White Wolf Publishing 2002, 284 p.)
A GILDED AGE, A GASLIT HORROR
Regina Blake believes her mother to be the victim of murder and conspiracy. Forgoing caution and propriety, she tries to uncover the truth and bring the culprits to justice. With every step, however, she uncovers more and more evidence of a secret world of danger, sensuality and sin. With the beautiful Victoria Ash as her guide, she peels back layer after layer of this benighted world, until the true horror of it all stand exposed.
Will discovering the truth be worth damning her soul?
Once upon a time White Wolf Publishing got really successful with its Vampire The Masquerade role-playing game. It was the start of a franchise, even spawned a lame short-lived tv-series. So to strike the iron while hot and with money to burn they started an ambitious publishing program, doing novelisations for the complicated vampire and werewolf universe they had developed. (And which was more than just a little inspiration for all those later successes like True Blood and others much later.) Also they did a lot of horror fiction with well-known writers, from Lisa Tuttle to Harlan Ellison. And some admittedly wonderful reprint volumes. They collected the whole work of Michael Moorcock in hardcover, also Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar. Stellar editions.
Later the company merged with another big game outfit, but after some controversy about alleged neo-nazi and anti-gay stuff in new game supplements the brand got disbanded in 2018. They had stopped with publishing books about ten years earlier.
Back then I already knew that a lot of their original universe-fiction was at best tedious, still I got seduced by this period piece. Boulle was managing editor at the time and wrote this trilogy. I never made it through half of this novel, thought it thoroughly boring and doing not a lot with the concept. Never even bothered to buy book 3. But the cover presentation is not bad.