My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Lord Ruthven arrives in London. It is around the period of 1810 - perhaps a few years either side. He is gracious and debonair. He has a compelling aspect about him that high society ladies are drawn to. Many are willing to risk their reputations. Lord Ruthven ignores most and selects odd ones that he finds enticing.
He makes friends with Aubrey. He is a wealthy young gentleman and an orphan. Together Lord Ruthven and Aubrey travel to Italy. What ensues are serious of consequences that lead the two men to separate. Aubrey finds Lord Ruthven’s conduct questionable. The young gentleman travels to Greece. Here he meets an innkeeper’s daughter who tells him folk tales of vampires and areas that local people dare not go. More dreadful events happen and then Lord Ruthven appears again.
Everything leads to more intrigue and further paranormal conundrums as Aubrey leaves his late friend Lord Ruthven back in Greece. The victim of bandits in an attempted robbery. He is made the guardian of his younger sister’s wellbeing. He is also oath-bound not to speak of Lord Ruthven’s death for one year and one day. Then a more diabolical circumstance manifests. Aubrey is at a loss and suffers huge mental torment. An even bigger supernatural event is before him.
The story is good but it is almost constant narration. Well written but tedious even though it is short. I think much of the story could have been presented via dialogue. It would have made the novella longer and more exciting. The overall plot was good, but I can't help feeling that a tremendous opportunity was lost to make this a bigger and more classical novel than it is. Perhaps if John Polidori had lived longer, the story would have been revised with dialogue to create a better feel. After all, his friend Mary Shelly was able to improve Frankenstein. This group of people in Lord Byron's friendship wrote the stories participating in a horror story competition.