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Literature / Blood Books

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The Blood series by Tanya Huff is a set of five books (and plenty of short stories) that was eventually adapted into the television show Blood Ties (2007). It takes place in Toronto, except for the last book being in Vancouver. The heroine is Defective Detective Vicki Nelson, whose retinitis pigmentosa forced her to quit being a cop and become an Occult Detective. Her off-and-on boyfriend/ex-partner Mike Celluci is not terribly thrilled with her choice of lifestyle. Then Vicki ends up meeting Friendly Neighborhood Vampire Henry Fitzroy and partners with/dates/donates blood to him on a regular basis. The fourth main character is Tony Foster, a homeless kid that Vicki recruits to help give Henry blood, and ends up involved with Henry as well.

The Blood series has a followup trilogy, Smoke and Shadows, following Tony and Henry's lives in Vancouver.

The books in the series are:

  • Blood Price (1991)
  • Blood Trail (1992)
  • Blood Lines (1992)
  • Blood Pact (1993)
  • Blood Debt (1997)
  • Blood Bank (2008), a collection of stories featuring the main characters. There are a few flashback stories involving Henry, but most take place after the final book in the series.
  • Blood Shot (2020), another collection of stories that includes crossovers with Smoke and Shadows.

These books provide examples of:

  • Actually Not a Vampire: Used two ways in Blood Price, neither remotely funny:
    • Toronto is hit with a series of murders in which all the blood is drained from the victims. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people think it's a vampire (including Henry, for a while), but it's actually a demon. Not much of an improvement.
    • A night nurse is accosted by her drunken neighbors, who have gotten caught up in the vampire frenzy and decide that a woman they never see by day must be a vampire. They impale the poor woman with a sharpened hockey stick...and are horrified when the body doesn't turn to dust at dawn.
  • Antihero: Henry keeps trying to portray himself as one and that he only kills to protect his territory. The truth is he enjoys protecting the people of "his" domain.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Henry is a vampire who is over four hundred years old, and has recently fought a mummy that is over three thousand years old, and yet he doubts the ability of an embalmed corpse to get up and walk around, which is exactly what is happening.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Resoundingly averted with Henry, who has a healthy amount of noblesss oblige.
  • Artificial Zombie: The ones in Blood Pact are reanimated by a combination of engineered bacteria and implanted brain wave patterns.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: One of the zombies in Blood Pact, whom they call number nine, is very attached to Caroline, the only researcher who treats him with a kind of affection you'd give to a pet. Otherwise he is a walking rotting corpse, and the few people who encounter him react accordingly. Daniel, one of the scientists who works with Caroline, was in an argument with her and number nine kills him, not knowing any other way to stop him from being loud and angry. Later, he's very protective of Caroline when Vicki and company confront her in the laboratory.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Henry VIII's Illegitimate Son Was A Vampire.
  • Buried Alive: Henry had this happen to him before he rose as a vampire.
  • Came Back Wrong: The focus of Blood Pact has scientists achieve Reanimator-esque zombies.
  • Curse That Cures: Victoria is slowly going blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa. But she refuses to allow Henry to turn her into a vampire, until the end of Blood Pact, where Henry is forced to turn her or let her die. She discovers that vampirism has cleared up her RP, and muses on how it would've been like if it weren't the case and she had to hunt as a completely blind vampire.
  • Demonic Possession: A genuine threat in a setting with demons.
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Henry gets captured by Mad Scientists and gets stuffed into a corpse fridge.
    • Mike is scoping out the transplant center in Blood Debt and gets captured, but Vicki and Henry find him before his organs get harvested. However, in order to get the police involved, he convinces them to leave him there, but the plan is derailed when he is moved to another location before the cops find him.
  • Domino Revelation: After finding out that vampires and then demons exist, Vicki is only slightly surprised that werewolves do too.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: A non-romantic case occurs in Blood Pact: Vicki's mother Marjory is murdered and then reanimated as a zombie, but she still retains enough of her consciousness to save her daughter from another zombie previously raised by the woman she worked for. Marjory's last words to Vicki are that she loves her.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: Blood Pact involves a group of scientists trying to raise the dead. They succeed.
  • Evil Nerd: Norman Birdwell in Blood Price, who summons demons in an effort to become cool and get girls that is as futile as it is morally bankrupt. He also chews with his mouth open and wears socks with sandals.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The books feature vampires, demons, werewolves, mummies, zombies, and apparently at lease one djinn.
  • Friend on the Force: Having only recently resigned from the Toronto police, and racking up an impressive amount of solved cases while a cop, Vicki still has a good rapport with most of them. Unfortunately this does not extend to other jurisdictions as she most definitely does not have one at the London force.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: Henry, of course, goes as a vampire.
  • For Science!: the motivation behind Blood Pact. Deconstructed as the primary antagonist realizes that her partners are motivated by things other than the science such as money and prestige.
  • Ghostly Goals: Blood Debt introduces ghosts into the mix. Henry suddenly finds himself haunted by one who wants revenge on its murderer. While Henry would otherwise prefer not to intervene, they tend to let out some sort of ghost wail that ends up killing first an elderly woman and then a baby in Henry's apartment building. The only way to help them move on is to find the killer and bring them to justice - although what the notion of "justice" for ghosts is revenge and death instead of plain incarceration.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: In Blood Lines, the belief of the immortal sorcerer-priest Tawfik has kept his personal god, Akhekh, alive for a very long time. Unfortunately for him, once the protagonists find out about Akhekh, their belief works just as well, and when Akhekh decides Tawfik isn't performing to expectations it lets him die.
  • Hemo Erotic: Actually, it can go either Kiss of the Vampire or Vampire Bites Suck for the human, but the vampire almost always finds feeding to be erotic. Henry and Vicki get it on in a big way after slaughtering a criminal gang because they are so aroused.
    • At least part of why Vicki and Tony expressed romantic interest in Henry at first was from how good it felt to be bitten, though Vicki makes sure not to make it a habit. Its fair to say that a good number of Henry's other dalliances felt the same way.
  • Heroic Bastard: Henry is both a bastard and heroic.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Henry, to an extent; post Blood Pact he and Vicki cannot stand to be around one another due to their vampire-like instincts, and Tony finds himself a boyfriend in his own spin-off. One attempt he makes at dating through the internet has him meet up with a succubus who, reluctantly, gets roped up with him in removing a dangerous supernatural creature...and the next attempt has him meet up with a male djinn. Both times the respective parties recognized whom the other was on sight, and neither time were they exactly happy they hadn't gotten a normal human on a date.
  • The House of Tudor: Henry Fitzroy is originally Henry, Duke of Richmond and Somerset, Henry VIII's bastard son.
  • Hypocrite: Henry is still on the Catholic side of the Reformation centuries later and expresses disapproval of his father's schism and divorces. However, Henry himself is bisexual, and a vampire. Neither of which would endear him to the Catholic Church were he an active parishioner, either in the present or especially back during the 16th Century.
  • Interspecies Romance: Henry and the humans he dates. He also (accidentally) dates a succubus and a djinn in one of the Blood Bank short stories.
  • Life Drinker: The mummy from Blood Lines sustains himself this way. While babies give much more life energy, the elderly contain more memories, which he can also drain and use.
  • Lover and Beloved: Tony and Henry's relationship has elements of this.
  • Mad Scientist: In Blood Pact. Henry lampshades this somewhat in pointing out that so long as they conceal his involvement, there is no reason why they cannot simply call the police and have the perpetrators arrested since they are not supernatural in any way and have broken the law. Mike, who normally tries to disagree with Henry as much as possible, cannot argue the point. But Vicki wants revenge...
  • Magic Pants: Averted. Werewolves cannot change while clothed, so they often go naked on their own property. This leads the neighbors into suspecting that they are...nudists.
  • Moustache de Plume: Inverted. Henry writes romance novels under the Pen Name "Elizabeth Fitzroy." Mike makes fun of him for this constantly.
    Vicki: Elizabeth Fitzroy?
    Henry: Why not Elizabeth Fitzroy? She certainly had as much right to the name as I do. note 
  • Mummy: Blood Lines has an ancient Egyptian priest as the antagonist.
  • Mundanger:
    • In Blood Trail, the antagonist is completely human, albeit a religious zealot who is a very good shot.
    • In Blood Pact, it's a completely non-magical Mad Scientist trio who use biotechnology to create Artificial Zombies.
    • Blood Debt has ghosts that can literally frighten people to death, and they're haunting Henry. But they're not the main villain of the piece; instead it's a Deadly Doctor who harvests and sells organs for profit. Said doctor is Driven to Suicide by the ghosts of the victims, but the perpetrator of the main series of murders is still a human.
  • Must Be Invited: Interestingly, this does not apply to vampires, but it does to demons.
  • Nothing Is The Same Any More: Blood Pact has a whopper of an ending: Vicki receives a death wound, and Mike talks Henry into giving her an Emergency Transformation. Henry does this knowing that it will be the end of his relationship with Vicki. He and Tony then take her off to Vancouver to spend a year learning how to be a vampire, while Mike becomes The Alcoholic. At the end of the book, Vicki returns to Mike all new and different. The fifth book in the series deals with Vicki's relationship to Henry changing now that they are both vampires and in the same territory. Henry is convinced that instinct trumps friendship, Vicki isn't. They end up having to learn to deal with each other in a new way.
  • Occult Detective: Vicki finds herself becoming this after getting involved with Henry, although she may herself be a Weirdness Magnet, as at least in Blood Pact the weirdness has nothing to do with Henry, and is not actually supernatural either.
  • Organ Theft: Blood Debt is focused on a ring around this. Deconstructed as the book goes into great detail as to why stealing organs for money is ridiculous. It's not motivated by money nor is it usually theft. Normally, they pay for the organs and the customer walks away satisfied. The Doctor just has been taking extra ones to line her pockets.
  • Our Demons Are Different: Blood Price has demons trying to enter the world.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Blood Debt has one trying to force Henry to avenge his death.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The usual garlic/cross stuff doesn't affect Catholic Henry. Also, Henry thinks that vampires can't really hang around other vampires without having territorial issues, although Vicki seems to prove it's not as absolute a rule as he thought.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: Blood Trail. Werewolves do not have any special immunity to things like getting shot. This serves as a clue for Vicki, since the person hunting the werewolves is using silver bullets, which are expensive and would risk attracting attention to the killer. One of the werewolves is a policeman and his partner, who knows he is a werewolf, has seen him get injured by a gunshot before. Thus he is not a candidate to be the killer because he knows that he wouldn't need silver bullets.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: In Blood Pact. Of the Technically Living Zombie variety.
  • Polyamory: Vicki dates both Mike and Henry with their knowledge (if not exactly ungrudging support, since the two men don't get along very well) until circumstances/moving adjust the situation. Henry dates both Vicki and Tony, with a lot less angst between the parties involved there.
  • Protectorate: Henry's attitude towards whatever city he's living in. But then again, he got brought up with noblesse oblige. He is also protective of Vicki and Tony. In particular, he helps Tony get off the streets, at least partly because a noble from his era would never allow a liegeman to live in homeless poverty as Henry explains to Vicki.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Henry, natch. Lampshaded when a jealous Mike, not yet in on the secret, snarks about how much younger than Vicki he is, and can't understand why she's laughing so hard.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mike and Henry's relationship in a nutshell.
  • Royal Bastard: The vampire protagonist of the series, Henry Fitzroy, the bastard son of King Henry VIII.
  • Silver Bullet: The were family being hunted in Blood Trail knows they're being hunted because they're werewolves, because if it were just neighbors shooting dogs, they wouldn't be using these against them.
  • Silver Has Mystic Powers: Averted, in the case of using silver bullets to kill werewolves: it's the bullet part that's fatal, not the silver.
  • Sleuth Dates Cop: The dynamic between Vicki and Mike.
  • Stealth Pun: Blood Trail is about a pack of werewolves living near London, Ontario...without a single mention of the Warren Zevon song "Werewolves of London."
  • Succubi and Incubi: Succubi and incubi devour life force through sex much like vampires feed on blood, and apparently they kill this way sometimes too.
  • Temporary Blindness: Vicki's eye condition makes her night blind.
  • Tragic Villain: Blood Trail has the villain as an aversion of The Fundamentalist in that the man is a good, kind, and upstanding person who just assumed that werewolves were evil monsters. He is Driven to Suicide to realize otherwise.
  • Undead Tax Exemption: Henry, to a degree. He pays taxes and has all the ID the average civilian would think to look for - but to a police officer doing a thorough examination (Mike, in a fit of very poorly concealed jealousy that's pointed out by...everyone, really) there are enough holes to "drive a Mack truck through". Mike suspects Henry of being in the Mafia, as a result. He's very surprised, when he confronts Vicki with this and she laughs at him when he says it.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Vicki flat out asks Henry why this isn't the case for him. While he does make a good living, he isn't as wealthy as he was when he was a duke, and Henry explains that being long-lived does not make them fortune tellers; he would've had no idea how a stock would perform in the future, so he couldn't just snap them up when they were cheap.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: This is brought up when Vicki and Henry have their first conversation after his secret is out. It's only partly vampire physiology that does this; having hundreds of years of experience in sex helps a lot, too.
  • Van Helsing Hate Crimes: Blood Trail is focused on someone who is killing off a local clan of werewolves.
  • Weirdness Magnet: Henry, since he's a vampire, gets this. It may be communicable, or it may be that he attracts others who are like this as well, since both Vicki and Tony prove to be Weirdness Magnets even when Henry is not involved.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: This happens to Vicki in one of the short stories. She doesn't like it much.