O the Tzimisce!
Forget the psychics-- vampires!
Parasite gut worms!
I've been hearing about this ever since they published statistics for the Sabbat clans in the old Vampire: the Masquerade. I'll tell you what, the Tzimisce were one of the neatest things in the old World of Darkness. They don't have a new World of Darkness equivilent, & I get it; Vicissitude is a totally awesome power conceptually but pretty difficult to adjudicate. Still, I'd like to see a crack taken at it. Back to my point-- people always said the primary influence on the Tzimisce was Lumley, so I have been meaning to check him out for oh, about a decade. Or crap, I'm really old; more like over a decade & a half. Yikes. I've had this book for a while, but only in mass market, & I hate mass markets; I finally got a trade paperback of it though, so I cracked into it finally.
The most compelling thing about this book are the vampires. The book focuses on Harry Keogh, instead-- the eponymous Necroscope. He talks to dead people-- really well. So well, that he can borrow their skills. & what skills they have! A cute conceit of Lumley's is that in death, all you have to do is get better at what you are good at. A martial artist would just keep thinking about katas until he was basically unstoppable. A chef would create the most delicious recipes. A Dungeon Master would have the most kick-ass campaign. You get it? Intercut are bits focusing on the antagonist, a Russian (really a Wallachian, as if those existed still) spy. Not just any spy, not just espionage-- ESPionage! Like I said, lots of psychics, but at least this guy talks to the vampire! The buried vampire. The story meanders around a bit, & all of a sudden Harry basically goes kwizatz hadderach. I can't complain too much, since I really liked it, & plan to read some more books in the series-- I just want more vampires! The whole alien-vampire parasite thing is a nice hook, & I'm almost tempted to skip to the third book, set on the vampire planet.