When you see the word ‘vampire’ in a book’s description, it is too easy, in this facile world of the
archaic categorisation used by most publishers, to dismiss the work as yet another regurgitation of the
popular teen-angst novels of late, or the titillating eroticism that claims to be an update of the
original work by Stoker. Well that is a pity because that particular trap will only have you re-reading
the same unoriginal works over and over again.
Writing is a creative activity, and with ‘The Disallowed’, author Owen Jones has presented readers with
a gem of a tale which sparkles with originality whilst still bringing back a certain nostalgia to those
of us old enough to recall the memes created by the Hammer Horror movies of the mid-fifties through to
Jones’ take on the vampire story starts with a major break from ‘tradition’ in his setting of the tale.
Instead of the tried and tested Transylvanian castle of yore, we have a small agricultural village in
northern Thailand in the present day. There’s no Count creeping around dark passageways either.
His counterpart is a simple goat-herder, Heng Lee, who, through circumstances never fully explained,
experiences a traumatic change that leaves its mark not just on him but, initially, on his immediate
family and subsequently on the society in which he lives.
The characters are wonderfully drawn, and Jones’ skill quickly has the reader sympathising with their
plight. As Heng Lee overcomes his situation and ultimately turns it to his advantage, many subtle
parables regarding the working of our World quickly become apparent. There is also a wicked vein of
shrewd humour running through the tale that will provoke many a grin as the reader becomes engrossed in
the trials and tribulations that await the protagonists.
Highly recommended to those who dare to read something fresh and vibrant!