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Blood Maidens (James Asher #3)

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  439 Ratings  ·  67 Reviews

The new ‘James Asher’ vampire novel from the best-selling author - It’s 1911. War is coming, and according to one of the vampires of St. Petersburg, the Kaiser is trying to recruit vampires. James Asher, Oxford don and formerly on His Majesty’s Secret Service, is forced to team up again with his vampire partner Don Simon Ysidro for a journey to the subarctic Russian capita

Hardcover, 256 pages
Published January 1st 2011 by Severn House Publishers (first published September 6th 2010)
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Jamie Collins
Another mesmerizing novel from Barbara Hambly. Don't let the melodramatic titles in this series fool you - Hambly is an excellent writer, and Don Simon Ysidro is one of my favorite literary vampires.

This story is set in 1911. Asher, the Oxford don and former British spy, teams up once again with Don Ysidro (more or less willingly, this time) when one of the vampire's long-time aquaintances in St. Petersburg disappears. Just before her disappearance, she wrote to Ysidro about a German doctor who
Jun 26, 2014 Dorian rated it liked it
Shelves: other-ebooks
I'm a long-time fan of Barbara Hambly, and especially of her Asher&Ysidro series, so I was delighted to finally get my hands on this third installment in it (hooray for ebooks! I never saw it in the bookshops).

It felt a bit derivative to begin with, as James and Ysidro set out to track down a vampire that may or may not be able to walk in the sun (an issue in book one of the series), and may or may not be being recruited by a human government (a major issue in book two). However, this time t
Dec 24, 2010 Jacqie rated it it was amazing
Okay, I pretty much like anything Barbara Hambly writes. Admittedly, her straight historical novels haven't grabbed me as much as her mysteries or fantasy work. This book returns to Don Simon Ysidro, vampire, and his human acquaintances/pawns James Asher and wife Lydia. This time, we get to go to St Petersburg, which is just as lush, corrupt, and intriguing as one could wish. Don Ysidro may be my favorite vampire. He is inhuman, honorable in an ancient sort of way, but clearly a predator who can ...more
Maggie Boyd
Apr 30, 2014 Maggie Boyd rated it it was ok
Let me begin by congratulating the publisher on their find. I assume their goal was to discover the most hideous cover imaginable and they succeeded. Congrats!

Barbara Hambly is a writer with a beautiful, lyrical voice who lends thoughtfulness and depth to vampire fiction. I discovered her book Those Who Hunt the Night back when it was first published in the 1980s. It is a brilliant work, nuanced and intelligent, tackling the glamour of the world of the vampires without losing any of the horror o
Jan 23, 2016 Sandi rated it liked it
Shelves: sff, lib
3.5 stars. Much better than her last book, Traveling with the Dead. The quaint language, the relative simplicity of the incessant maneuvering of Europe towards the inevitable onset of World War I as a backdrop, and the horrifying possibility of vampirism being wielded as a truly heinous biological weapon makes this a satisfying, quick read. The three main characters are competent, honorable, and conflicted - but not to such a degree that there is any doubt as to what will eventually happen. Don ...more
Deborah Ross
Feb 15, 2012 Deborah Ross rated it really liked it
If you're nauseated by sparkly, angst-ridden teenage vampires, and you like your dark suspense with wit and political savvy, check out Blood Maidens, the third in Barbara Hambly's turn-of-the-century vampire novels. It's as much mystery as it is adventure or spy novel or horror, both fast-paced and literate. It stands well on its own, although the previous two are highly recommended.

Hambly's vampires are neither sparkly nor nice. They're dark and dangerous, and on the eve of World War I, the Ka
Katharine Kimbriel
Jul 06, 2011 Katharine Kimbriel rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of classical vampires set in historial periods.
Recommended to Katharine by: Saw on library shelf
Shelves: fantasy, history
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 05, 2013 Wealhtheow rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, historical
Centuries ago, the ancient vampire Don Simon Ysidro fell in love with a mortal woman. Entranced by the idea of eternal life, Lady Irene managed to get turned into a vampire as well. It was only then that she discovered the truth of Ysidro's warnings--that upon becoming Undead, all interests and morals are overwhelmed by the seduction of killing human prey. She and Ysidro have had little contact since...until she hears a rumor that the war-mongering Kaiser has recruited a vampire. Ysidro enlists ...more
Jun 14, 2015 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Those who hunt the night stunned me with its subtlety, its love for detail, its language, its narration style. Travelling with the dead felt as if it had been written under more time pressure: the language was not as superb, the story telling not as subtle. It was still an enjoyable read but not quite what I'd hoped for after the first volume. Blood maidens - I agree with previous reviews - had a plotline that did not engage me and felt in parts like a repition of the previous books. I was also ...more
Jul 02, 2014 Patty rated it it was amazing
James Asher (former spy, current linguistics professor), his wife Lydia (lady doctor/heiress) and their vampire buddy Don Simon Ysidro (Spanish nobleman from the 1500s) once again try to stop various European governments from finding out about and/or teaming up with vampires in the build-up to WWI, this time in Russia (with some detours to Berlin, Prague, and other nearby cities). Lydia is dealing with depression after having a miscarriage, as well as with her own feelings for Ysidro; Ysidro is ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Tracey added it
I probably say this every time I review a Barbara Hambly novel: I've loved her books for years. She wrote vampire novels before they were clichéd, the series that began with Those Who Hunt the Night, of which this is the third book.

Her use of metaphor and simile is one of the loveliest things I know of in fiction. "The woman put back her veil – champagne-colored point-lace that wouldn't have stopped a glance, let alone sunlight". "Ellen bridled like a coy percheron." There are few authors who ca
Robert Defrank
Mar 23, 2016 Robert Defrank rated it really liked it
Short review: not as good as the first two installments, but still very good.

Hambly again takes the Ashers and their unlikely vampire ally Don Simon Ysidro on a mystery-solving jaunt through pre-World War I Europe in pursuit of a conspiracy to harness the power of the undead for the service of the Kaiser.

Hambly plays to her strengths here, in bringing history to life as the characters explore the goings-on in Russia and Germany, from eccentric spiritualist societies to bloody-minded politics. So
Shawn Spjut
Aug 16, 2014 Shawn Spjut rated it liked it
Blood Maidens; Barbara Hambly, 2010; Severn House8388595

As my readers know, I'm a big Hambly fan (she's in My Favorite Reads list). As talent goes, Barbara always restores my faith in the power of good narrative - which, let's face it, not every writer can do without making me want to shoot myself (or worse, skip over the entire passage). She also does an excellent job with dialog and the make-it-or-break-it, 'show don't tell'. (Which if you didn't know, wasn't a big deal until about fifty or si
Feb 04, 2014 Alexandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Barbara Hambly wrote her first novel involving these characters - James Asher, Oxford don and formerly O.H.M.S.S., his young, intellectual wife Lydia & the enigmatic vampire, Don Simon Xavier Christian Morado de la Cadena-Ysidro - well before the recent vampire craze, and her take on vampire lore is much more traditional. Her vampires are the ultimate predators, with seduction being a hunting technique. She also takes serious the limitations of a vampire's vulnerability to sunlight (& si ...more
Sep 16, 2011 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vampires
It's nice to know that in a world gone mad on vampires who spend more time on hair product and glitter than they do on drinking blood, that someone is still writing a good vampire novel.

This is the third novel featuring James Asher, former British spy turned academic, and Don Simon Ysidro, who arrived in England during the reign of Mary Tudor.

Hambly's vampires are monsters. They must kill in order to stay undead. Not drinking rats blood, or snacking from a local blood bank, but the taking of an
Sue Bursztynski
Feb 26, 2011 Sue Bursztynski rated it really liked it
It's 1911. Oxford university lecturer and former spy James Asher and his doctor wife Lydia are asked by their vampire friend Don Simon Ysidro to accompany him to Russia. He's worried. He's had a letter from a woman he once knew in England, now settled in Russia's vampire community. Something terrible may be about to happen in Russia that will affect the world.

Well, that's what he wants them to believe, anyway. In fact, it may be more personal than that - and yet, he might be right. Once again,
Jeannette Barnes
May 13, 2011 Jeannette Barnes rated it it was amazing
A WONDERFUL successor to the ripsnorting fine vamp/historical novel from oh, better than 20 years ago, _Those Who Hunt the Night_. Captivating characters, cool and weirdly believable story line--excellent job of scenting, tasting, brushing up against and being jostled by the late Victorian/early Edwardian world--truly,y'all, Barbara Hambly can flat slap slap WRITE. Very diverting, enjoyed this so much, though now I'll have to backtrack and find the middle book in this series, _Traveling With the ...more
Erin (PT)
As my disinterest in vamps grows, Barbara Hambly is one of the few authors that can still make them interesting to me. Of course, a big part of that is that, while she makes her vampire protagonist, Don Simon Ysidro, likable and relatable in certain ways, she doesn't shy from showing that he, too, is a predator and his fellows even more so. These are not romantic heroes, their beauty and charm is a trap and even when you think you're not being cozened and deceived, the question is still there: i ...more
Oct 20, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, fantasy
When I picked this up, wondered how well a sequel written five years after the previous book would pick up the threads of the former books. It wasn't a problem. Blood Maidens takes place about a year after Traveling with the Dead and the relationships are picked up without a hitch. This time, it looks as though the Germans might be recruiting a vampire to their side, a problem for both humans and vampires because vampires rely largely on secrecy for their safety and because the human political b ...more
Apr 02, 2011 Barbara rated it liked it
The third outing in Barbara Hambly's books featuring James Asher (human) and Don Simon Ysidro(vampire) is almost as good as the second book (Traveling with the Dead) and not as good as the first (Those Who Hunt the Night). But it is still a good read. It could function as a stand alone, but readers familiar with the first two books will get a lot more out of it.
It is 1911 and rumors that the Kaiser maybe experimenting with vampires are trickling through Europe. And all signs point to St Petersbu
Kaje Harper
May 07, 2011 Kaje Harper rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
Wow. Barbara Hambly writes great characters and historical settings that breathe realism without being intrusive to the story. This is the latest in her vampire series, begun in Those Who Hunt the Night. To my mind, she is the best writer of the most difficult type of vampires, neither the easy, sexy, can-live-on-blood-without-killing variety, nor the evil must-be-eliminated monsters who exist only to be hunted by our heroes. Her vampires kill, regularly, remorselessly, for survival. They are mo ...more
Jan 29, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
Review from Badelynge
I'd pretty much given up on there ever being anymore James Asher vampire books by Barbara Hambly. It's 15 years since Traveling With the Dead was published. In recent years much of her output has been dominated with her Benjamin January books. Blood Maidens picks up the story in 1911. War is waiting for a spark to start the firestorm. Former secret service agent James Asher is manipulated/recruited again by the ancient Spanish vampire Don Simon Ysidro. Asher and Ysidro trave
Apr 05, 2011 robyn rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, vampires
This series just gets better and better. I loved Those Who Hunt the Night. In Traveling With the Dead, Don Simon had grown from an interestingly gentlemanly vampire to a real person, with let's face it, limited options. Particularly when it came to Lydia, who'd also gone from a likeable but slightly stereotypical Plucky Heroine to a real woman. I was far more interested in their cautious rapport than in the action that was taking place elsewhere in the book. And now Blood Maidens brings Ysidro a ...more
Dec 12, 2010 Anita rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 09, 2013 Deborah rated it really liked it
With this third entry in the James Asher series, Hambly once again takes us on a whirlwind tour, this time through Russia, Poland, and Germany. The Ashers' travels were much easier to follow, though, than they were in Traveling with the Dead.

Blood Maidens continued the emphasis on the spy aspects of the storyline, but the vampire elements were more integrated than they were in the second book. Lydia is coming into her own as a character, and the back story regarding her desire for a child and he
Mar 22, 2011 Jenn rated it really liked it
More like 3.5 stars. I was very excited to continue the series and had to read this in one go. So, my rating is an average of the following:
Actually, 4 stars for bringing back my favorite characters from Those Who Hunt the Night and Traveling with the Dead and for those characters to be still evolving, yet staying true to character. Four stars for Hambly's amazingly imaginative writing and incredibly interesting historical detail. And finally, 4 stars for the awesome "penny-dreadful"-esque title
Dec 30, 2012 Carro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barbara Hambly does have a deft touch with invoking historical details. This book traverses Europe to St Petersburg a few years before the Czar was overthrown by the revolution. The picture it paints, in passing of Czarist society does bring across so clearly what inequalities there were.
Other reviewers have mentioned James Asher and Don Simon, and I agree with what they've put. I'd also like to mention Lydia Asher, who is by no means a trivial character. Her medical knowledge is essential to th
Apr 07, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
This is the third book about lecturer (and secret agent) James Asher, his doctor wife, Lydia, and their strange acquaintance: Don Simon Ysidro, vampire. Hambly's vampires don't sparkle. Many of them aren't even that pretty, but that's why I love them. They're old. They're dead. They've stopped caring about human concerns, like love, and family, and politics, and there exists for many of them only The Hunt and The Kill. Despite Don Simon's constant reminders that this is the case, you can see in ...more
I probably say this every time I review a Barbara Hambly novel: I've loved her books for years. She wrote vampire novels before they were clichéd, the series that began with Those Who Hunt the Night, of which this is the third book.

Her use of metaphor and simile is one of the loveliest things I know of in fiction. "The woman put back her veil – champagne-colored point-lace that wouldn't have stopped a glance, let alone sunlight". "Ellen bridled like a coy percheron." There are few authors who ca
Adrienne Powell
Apr 12, 2014 Adrienne Powell rated it liked it
This is the third book in the James Asher series and I have waited nearly 20 years for it! I picked up Immortal Blood in 1989 whilst looking for digs at university - this was fantastic - unfortunately, none of the follow ups have held a candle to it. Being written twenty years later, the writing style has changed, and the flow isn't quite as.... 'flowy!!'

It's been great reading and catching up with the main characters, and yes I still kind of fancy Don Simon Ysidro - who wouldn't! But not a pat
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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)
  • Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, #1)
  • Traveling with the Dead (James Asher, #2)
  • Magistrates of Hell (James Asher, #4)
  • Kindred of Darkness (James Asher, #5)
  • Darkness on his Bones (James Asher, #6)

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“Somewhere, there is a German scientist working with a vampire. And you need a vampire to help you destroy the threat of what that scientist will unleash on the world.” 0 likes
“If any town in Europe would have vampires, he knew it would be Prague.” 0 likes
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