Putting Victoria into a secluded inlet off the Norfolk coast, the team travels inland to London, still hunted by Edom. The explosion in the North Sea is all over the news, but they manage to avoid any official attention.
In London they call Augustus Darvell for assistance, who is trying to trace the buyer of a book about vampires Le Dragon Rouge, He knows who sold it and the agent that carried out the purchase, but not the ultimate buyer, and he’s afraid it’s Edom. He gives them the name of the agents – Meyer and Van Der Marr on Charing Cross Road – and they scout out the premises. The place looks very low security so Aisha and Kore break in when they see the old man go home. Most of the books in the place are old German and Dutch texts.
Eventually they find Meyer’s office, guarded by Mr Van Der Mar, and his ledger. This seems to indicate that the buyer is Geerd Hoorn, giving an address in Leiden.
Sensibly avoiding railway stations, they head to a ferry port and take a long crossing to Rotterdam, before heading south in a hired car. Pretty soon it’s obvious they’re being tailed, by two women dressed in white driving a gleaming white Lotus Evora. Intercepting them at a service station, Aisha steals one’s phone while Ollie makes a network contact with the other.
Later, Aisha attempts to hack the phone – it’s deviously constructed and looks like a complete custom job. She can tell, though, that the programmer is Romanian from the fingerprints he left in the OS code. She eventually ditches it in a garbage truck and heads to Paris with the two samples taken from the oil rig.
Kore and Ollie visit the address from Meyer’s ledger, which turns out to be little more than an accommodation drop. However, they find a clue which leads them to a Victorian townhouse in Amsterdam, which, on examination, still has Van Helsing’s study in the attic, bricked off and forgotten. A portrait of the man himself hangs above the fireplace, looking suspiciously like an older version of Geerd Hoorn himself. In a secret drawer they also find a packet of letters from a Monsignor Augustus Darvill of the Bucharest offices of the Vatican, notes on Le Dragon Rouge which tells them it has ‘rituals’ for permanently killing a vampire, as well as rituals for finding one and hiding from one. There’s also a postcard for Teyler’s Museum in Haarlem, and a poem and a cryptic phrase written in ballpoint on the back.
Teyler’s Museum has an observatory on the top floor. The clue there leads them to another clue, which in turn leads them to Franeker in Friesland. On the way there, they encounter an MI6 agent who attempts to steal their bundle of Van Helsing documents. When this fails, they interrogate him, but he doesn’t know anything, just that he was tasked with stealing these things. Kore restrains Gabe and they leave the man bundled in a deserted railway station cupboard.
In Franker, they find the Eisenga Planetorium, where another clue contains an address in the quaint viallage of Geithoorn. At this address they meet Marijo Gietling, an elderly but spry little woman who claims to be Van Helsing’s grand-daughter, and Hoorn’s aunt. She tells them a little, feeds them, allows them to explore he library. In it, they find yet another clue in what Marijo describes as ’Abraham’s Labyrinth’ – referring to Van Helsing – at the centre of which he hid some powerful weapon he used in his war against the nosferatu.
The next morning they set off for Bassenge in Belgium, home to the Tower of Eben Ezer. Although built in the 1950s, it sits on top of much older caverns. However, they decide to examine the statues on the roof first, uncovering a pair of fiddly multi-lensed spectacles, and an unmarked map.
In the caverns, though, they come across Hoorn, lying stabbed and bleeding. Someone has attacked him, probably to get at Le Dragon Rouge, which he’s taped to the underside of his car. He also gives them the last clue, leading to the Paris catacombs. He also tells them the following:
1. One of Dracula’s generals is attempting to infiltrate Edom in Romania. Dracula wants the weaponised vampire serums for his own ends. If he takes over Edom, he’ll have the whole of British Intelligence at his fingertips. That needs to be stopped.
a. There’s already some sort of power-struggle going on since the head of Edom died in 2015. Exposing this link could fracture them altogether.
2. Edom have wanted to be able to create and destroy vamps at will; to use them as weapons but also to break Drac’s power-base.
3. The source of the blood serums is a vampire they keep at a secure location, some. old British, Napoleonic-era fort. Destroy that source, you seriously limit Edom’s strength.
a. HDG shipping are transporting the serum to secret sites around the world. It was tested in Morocco, but something went wrong and they lost the base. He found this out from his connections to the dock workers in Rotterdam.
4. Edom has been trying this since the original mission. They created a lot of monstrosities along the way, but have pretty much nailed it now. The newer breed of vampires are more stable, but easier to kill.
5. There’s some sort of meeting planned soon where Edom will discuss timescales for some test of the weapon.
Kore retrieves the book and they head for the French capital.
As they approach, they spot a man and a woman they saw at Bassenge, and follow them, right to the Barriere d’Enfer, entrance to the catacombs. Ollie and Aisha get in first, set up an ambush, kill the man and capture the woman. She’s Edom, one Vicki Rendall, and they’re able to flip her to their side.
In the heart of the catacombs they find a box hidden in a stone basin; in the box is a Gladstone bag containing Van Helsing’s Vampire Killing Kit. They shrug off an attack from a denizen of the underworld, Aisha skewering it with Quincy Morris’ Bowie knife and escape.
As they leave, they each receive a message – RushbrookeFletcher.co.uk, Moscow Rules. Following the hidden link, they come across an encrypted channel telling them they have as resxervation at the Restaurant Jules Verne, on the Eiffel Tower, where they meet, much to their surprise, a very alive Jim Ellis…