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Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher #1)

3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  2,943 ratings  ·  201 reviews
At the turn of the twentieth century, a former spy is called into service to hunt down a vampire killer...

Once a spy for Queen Victoria, James Asher has fought for Britain on every continent, using his quick wits to protect the Empire at all costs. After years of grueling service, he marries and retires to a simple academic’s life at Oxford. But his peace is shattered one
ebook, 300 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Open Road Media (first published 1988)
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Innsbruck I'm in the same boat as you - I'm a Barbara Hambly fan, but not a vampire fan. If you're willing to tolerate vampires, then I cannot recommend this…moreI'm in the same boat as you - I'm a Barbara Hambly fan, but not a vampire fan. If you're willing to tolerate vampires, then I cannot recommend this book enough. It's excellent. But nearly every page talks about vampires in one sense or the other, so if your tolerance for vampires is extremely low, be warned.(less)

Community Reviews

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There came a turn in the vampire oeuvre -- and that turn had much to do with the Anne Rice's vampire novels -- when the inherent eroticism of vampirism, which was one of many vampiric themes, shifted into a full scale fetishization of vampire sexuality.

I don't say this to criticize totally what vampire tales have become. I remain a fan of Lestat, Louis and Armand, and I certainly dig Sookie's Bill and Eric (the less said about Bella's Edward the better), but the fetishization of vampire sexualit

There’s nothing like a soupcon of horror to keep you awake during a long, slow night, and Those Who Hunt the Night did the trick. It’s been a long time since I was fascinated by vampires, but Hambly goes old-school with this one (or perhaps it was ‘current-school,’ considering it won a Locus Award for horror in 1989) and imbues her Victorian tale with classic gothic horror themes.

Archer is an Oxford don who has done a little extra-curricular work for
There seems to be a trend in current dark fantasy novels, and that is of the misunderstand vampire lover. Most vampires in popular fiction today tend to be romantic leads. There is Twilight, Anita Blake, The Hollows among many. There is nothing wrong with this, though it does raises a host of questions, among them as Ceridwen aptly pointed out in her review of Kitty and the Midnight Hour, what is so attractive about making love too a walking corpse? Wouldn't it be cold? Additionally, the vampire ...more
Oct 28, 2013 Jon added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: SF & Fantasy Group Fantasy Selection October 2009
A novel featuring wicked, murderous vampires, which will be refreshing to those who are disgusted by the modern trend of depicting them as romantic heroes. I personally prefer my vampires slightly less evil than this, but I really enjoyed the book.

This is more of a murder mystery than a horror novel. Someone is killing vampires in London, in 1907, and an Oxford don (who's a former spy for the British government) is forced into a search for the perpetrator. I liked the interaction between the don
I originally read this book over twenty years ago and longed to read more of James Asher and his wife Lydia. As the years passed, I forgot about them and was delighted to find that Barbara Hambly has since written more of their adventures and there are now six books in the series! I loved the first one then and I still love it.

Asher is a former spy turned professor and Lydia is a doctor specializing in research. The Ashers are based near London in the early 1900s. As to the vampires, it is wonde
Nathaniel Lee
Jun 25, 2007 Nathaniel Lee rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vampire and history buffs
Shelves: fantasy
Barbara Hambly studied as a historian, and has a real flair for weaving her research subtly and thoroughly into her novels, as opposed to some other authors who also enjoy research (*coughcough*NealStephenson*cough*). This is one of the books that I look to for some solid characterization of 'realistic' vampires, as well as an enjoyable piece of fiction set in Victorian England, which is as close as we ever get to Steampunk these days. (sigh)

Anyway, the book draws a marvelous parallel between th
Oct 19, 2009 Cindy rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Cindy by: SciFi and Fantasy Book Club
Being a vampire is hard! Hambly has created some of the most interesting vampire mythology and characterization I've ever experienced. It was worth reading (only just) for a complex take on the hard realities facing vampires, without a silly romance angle. There's also a neat backstory on how a vampire physically changes through the centuries.

However, the language and construction were killing me throughout the book, particularly in the first 2/3 before the action took over. The story gets drug
Oct 14, 2009 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: SciFi & Fantasy Group 2009-10 Fantasy Selection
This was the Fantasy selection for the Goodreads SciFi and Fantasy Book Club for the month of October 2009. Visit this link to see all of the discussions, group member reviews, etc.

A fun read. Starts off too purple:
...And she'd laughed, the sound bright with delight as the April sunlight. He'd kept that laugh—as he'd kept the damp lift of morning fog from the Cherwell meadows or the other-world sweetness of May morning voices drifting down from Magdalen Tower like the far-off singing of angels—i
Oooh. Hambly is very good at characterization, and I always find myself intrigued by her characters. She seems to like taking fantasy tropes and twisting them a bit—not in an annoying, Piers Anthony way of punning and “ooh look how clever and cheeky we are, playing with these stereotypes,” but instead by adding a dash of realism and a spoonful of human emotion. Thus her 1900s spy gets PTSD and tries to retire to an academic life, only to be pulled back into violence by a vampiric threat to his l ...more
I've been meaning to read this for ages (seriously, I think it may actually be up in the decades) and finally got around to it... thank you Kindle edition! (Much easier to find something to read while I'm traveling.) This was a nice, refreshing old-school style vampire novel and I loved every minute of it. A fun read, with interesting characters and vampires that really show the alienation from humanity that should exist in creatures who outlive everyone and, of course, hunt people for food. I'm ...more
Truly a 4.75
I was in a bit of reading slump these past two weeks and had a difficult time picking up anything. I was struggling with a one book in particular and have shelved it for the time to return later. I grabbed this gem off the Kindle store hoping for something drastically different than what was holding me up. I loved it.
The story follows James Asher who is recruited to look into the murders of several vampires in London. Mr. Asher was completely unaware of the paranormal individuals
I liked this yet it never really took ahold of me, which made the reading of the book longer then it should have been.
Suzie Quint
Barbara Hambly is one of my all time favorite authors. Since she's coming out with a new book in this series, I decided it was time to re-read the entire thing, and I'm happy to say, the book is just as good this time around as when I first read it. I love that her characters aren't stunningly perfect. Set in the very early 20th century, it's not a typical setting either.

James's wife describes him as "brown." Brown hair, brown eyes, brown suit. He appears to be nothing more than the mild-manner
colleen the fabulous fabulaphile
Oct 28, 2009 colleen the fabulous fabulaphile rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to colleen the fabulous fabulaphile by: group read
Shelves: vampire, group-read
2 1/2

This book was one of those books where I kept checking how much I had left to read, and kept motivating myself with "just 150 more pages" "just 75 more... " so on and so forth.

In other words, not exactly a compelling read.

I sort of liked it at first - I liked the writing, and even some of the purpley descriptions. But then they kept going. There were some, though I don't remember specifics and am less than inclined to go through the damn thing to find them, but, anyway, some which were so
Chrissy (The Every Free Chance Reader)
Did I enjoy this book: This is a Gothic vampire mystery novel and I liked it. It’s got “Spooky Halloween Book” written all over it, and guess what – there aren’t any sparkly vampires. Not that there’s anything wrong with sparkly vampires, but I prefer mine with a bit of a classic vampire vibe. You know, sneaking out of dark corners and talking about sucking your blood? Yeah, that’s what Barbara Hambly created in this novel.

A friend who recommended Those Who Hunt the Night said I’d adore Ysidro’s
Someone is killing vampires in Victorian England, so the vampires decide to hire a detective to find out who.
Only problem is the detective is human and has to worry that even if he catches the killer, will his clients let him live after learning about them?

Good mystery, two strong leads and a well thought out vampire society. The reveal of the killer is pretty cool.
Good book. I hear she did a sequel. I'll have to try and track it down, as these characters were worthy of a series.

A James Asher book #1, also published as Immortal Blood

James Asher, retired spy and scholar, comes home one day to find a vampire in his house. A vampire who has his entire household asleep, and under threat. For if Asher does not hunt down whoever, or whatever, is killing the vampires of London then Asher will die, as will his family.

The vampire Ysidro believe their attacker is acting in the daylight, and so he is are forced to turn to a human for help, against all their rules and beliefs.

I can
This almost-steampunk Vampire novel introduces the characters of James Asher, (think Sherlock Holmes for the Home Office), Lydia Asher, his wife and a physician fascinated by blood, and Don Simon Ysidro, one of ‘those who hunt the night.’ Don Simon has been trying to solve the mystery of murdered vampires (coffins exposed to the sun) in London, but needs a human to help out during the day. The book could have been an homage to Sherlock Holmes, but instead seems derivative without adding anything ...more
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Quite possibly the most boring novel about vampires ever written. I was totally drawn in by the good reviews this book got. Did I miss something? The plot is fairly straightforward. Someone is killing the vampires of London. One of these vampires, a 16th century Spanish don, forces an Oxford don (get it?) to help find the killer by threatening his life and that of his wife. The Oxford don is James Asher, a sort of Edwardian James Bond who's been around the world spying for the British - with a l ...more
My Inner Shelf
Roman initialement paru en 1988, il est réédité chez Mnémos sous la forme d’un seul gros volume rassemblant les deux premiers romans de la série, qui à ma connaissance n’en compte que deux. Un gros pavé donc, à la couverture sublime, dédicacé, s’il-vous-plait, par l’illustrateur Alain Brion lui-même (comme quoi j’ai bien fait d’aller au Salon du Livre à Paris :))).

Bref, une incursion dans l’Angleterre post-victorienne, en 1907 (et non celle de la fin du XIX ème siècle comme indiqué en quatrième
Patricia Voigt
Barbara Hambly is one of my favorite authors; though she's often a guest at scifi cons, I think her forte is historical mystery with touches of romance and the supernatural. This book delivers all four.

The vampires of Edwardian London are secretive and wily, cautious as any intelligent predator, and patient as Time itself. Utterly vulnerable during the day, they have been very careful to protect themselves, even in a "rational" age when Englishmen consider themselves too enlightened to believe i
Part mystery novel part vampire novel this story takes the reader to the London of 1906. Someone is murdering vampires! Hambly recreates London in superb detail: the streets, the clothing, traveling habits, the science. She spends quite a bit of time on the science and on the idea that vampirism is a disease with its own peculiar long-term symptoms. She handles the scientific details very deftly.
Hambly shies away from having a true villain and so her characters all come off as a lithe too good
This is the first in a (hooray!) series of three books, with a fourth on the way, but it works perfectly well as a stand-alone.

Those Who Hunt the Night came out long before the current glut of vampire popularity, and for my money Don Simon Ysidro beats out any of the other vampire leads. Ann Rice's Interview With the Vampire was big at the time; I think that lead to Hunt being promoted too, along with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's books; publishers were looking around going, vampires are going to be bi
Nancy Oakes
Set in London just past the turn of the 20th century, James Asher, who works (or rather worked) as an agent for Britain's intelligence service, comes home one day to his home in London to find his wife and two of their servants out cold. While he's taking in the scene, he is accosted by a man claiming to be a vampire. Threatened with the death of his wife by this person, James has no choice but to help him. The vampire wants him to hunt down someone who has been opening the coffins of other vamp ...more
S.A. Bolich
I loved this book and have read it three times in the past few years. The writing was beautiful and atmospheric, though I daresay some would think it too purple, and the characters were well-drawn and memorable. Hambly takes vampires as they are supposed to be: killers, hunters, immortal baddies... and adds wonderful dimension to them without ever making them into anything but what they are. Don Simon Ysidro wins our sympathy without ever once expressing regret for killing thousands of people in ...more
To date, this is my all-time favorite vampire novel.
Not a "paranormal romance" (i.e., soft core porn).
But a thrilling, scary, mysterious, and atmospheric novel that kept me up all night, with every light in the house on, pulled up as narrowly as possible in the center of my bed, barely breathing, huddling from the inevitable bumps, creaks, and groans in the night that my older home always makes (but I rarely notice -- except when I'm reading an outstanding fiction that hypersensitizes me to eve
Very well written with beautifully realized characters. Asher was the perfect hero, smart, cool, and not too perfect, just right; also NOT an aristocrat, think this might break a literary rule or something though. Lydia was a little too um..well, she went out in the streets alone, at night with vampires on the loose. Seriously! Of course, Don Simon was a mysterious, morose, sexy, compelling, real old fashioned vamp from the pre-glitter era, so I really can't blame her. All in all a good vampire ...more
Mary B. Grove
darker than most current vampire tales

Hambly's vampires have nothing to do with the modern enlightened sorts who drink only from animals or take less blood than would kill a human. Don Simon is certainly far less personable than Hambly's own Henry in her other vampire series, and -- though Don Ysidro has moments of seeming humanity later in the story -- almost all the other vampires we meet in this book are not only evil, they're happily evil and don't prize humanity as anything but a food sourc
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aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.

"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
More about Barbara Hambly...

Other Books in the Series

James Asher (6 books)
  • Traveling with the Dead (James Asher, #2)
  • Blood Maidens (James Asher, #3)
  • Magistrates of Hell (James Asher, #4)
  • Kindred of Darkness (James Asher, #5)
  • Darkness on his Bones (James Asher, #6)

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