This book bravely combines two of today’s most popular (and therefore best) genres of fiction: paranormal romance and historical-investiagtory-conspiracy-thriller. This is such a fabarooney idea, I have no idea why nobody thought of it before. I am glad that the publishers came up with such an original cover design, because slight variations on it are sure to appear on the many (no doubt equally fabarooney) imitators that are sure to be released over the next few years and maybe longer.
The Codex Embrace stars Larry Pimple, a dashing hunk of a man working as an ordinary junior executive in the offices of ArchaeoCorp, a giant multinational archaeology corporation (I think Mr. and Ms. Pimms have a really clever way with names). One night, there is a break in, and an ancient book is stolen from the company vaults. Larry (who is a really admirable guy because he had to overcome such misery in his childhood caused by people making fun of his name) discovers that the stolen book is the magical Codex of Hi-Falutin, which in the wrong hands could spell the end of the world! he decides to get it back. He is aided in his quest by Susie-May Pimander, a super-hot chick who is a historian, but not one of those old fuddy-duddy ones, oh no; and Professor Jack, who is a really wise old guy and really helpful in telling Larry and Susie-May what to do next when they get stuck.
Oh yeah, and there is a great twist about halfway through that I don’t want to spoil for you, but it has something to do with ArchaeoCorp and how it might not be as benevolent as it seems. But I had better not say any more in case you figure it out.
Anyway, the really neat thing that the Pimms’ have done is that Susie-May is half vampire. She keeps this a secret by doing some really clever things, like insisting that the curtains are drawn whenever she gives lectures, and telling people that she has to work late into the night. Although sunlight is dangerous to Susie-May, she doesn’t have all the weaknesses of a full vampire. For one, she doesn’t have to drink blood to survive, which is handy for the plot because that would just be icky. But she does still have moments when she lusts after blood, and has to control herself. Another thing her half vampire nature has given her is an insatiable sex drive, and she has been so unlucky in love because no man can keep up with her.
But what is great is that Larry can! You see, actually he is half werewolf, except he was thrown out of his clan for being more like a puppy dog. Larry has real problems getting insurance because his bathroom keeps getting flooded because of all the hair he leaves jammed in the plughole. This has made him really sad, so when he meets Susie-May, he gets down on all fours and goes and digs up a bone (which turns out to belong to some previously unknown animal, that rewrites all the biology textbooks). Susie-May has to put up with some odd behaviour by Larry, such as him using his foot to scratch behind his ear, chasing the mailman, and widdling against lamp-posts (I am stunned at how the Pimms come up with their ideas!).
What is cool is the journey these characters go on, that takes them to a whole other place. (I think it is Peru, or maybe Kettering.) Larry was never a strong child, having to put up with bullies who kicked sand in his face and dangled sticks just out of his reach. But now he discovers a whole new side to himself, and that he can whup the bad guy’s ass (which is a shifty-looking seaside donkey). Susie-May, in contrast, is super-strong as well as super-hot and has always been able to handle herself in a fight. It’s not until she’s lying helpless, tied to rail tracks whilst a train with wooden stakes attached to its underside thunders towards her, and the sun is about to rise, that she realises just how much she needs a man — and that man is Larry!
Can Larry save Susie-May, and then the world? I’m not telling. But I can’t wait to read about their further adventures in the sequel!