It has way old school vampires and passed the graveyard test so that all you really need to know.
In a bitter winter,
Tomas and his son, Peter, settle in a small village as woodcutters.
Tomas digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut so that
they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn't understand why
his father has done this, or why his father carries a long, battered
box, whose mysterious contents he is forbidden to know.
But Tomas is
a man with a past--a past that is tracking him with deadly intent. As
surely as the snow falls softly in the forest of a hundred thousand
silver birch trees, father and son must face a soulless enemy and a
This book features old folktale vampires. You know 'your loved one coming from the grave to drink your blood' type of vampire, the ones that actually resemble zombies more than a modern interpretation. There is other mythology as well, like the Shadow Queen. It creepy and tensed. There is this big complex plot building up, it seems more for the benefit of the next book. There is actions scenes and madden runs whilst as having a good plot for all the action to take place in.
Characters are alright, Peter is lonely youth with his only friend
being a horse that's older than him. Him and his dad moved around a lot and the local villagers don't like strangers because you always blame the people you barely know for the blood sucking monsters attacking people. There some sort of romance. I've got to say that I don't really read Marcus Sedgwick for his characters, they do tend to be a bit bland. It the actual story I come for. I think my favourite character was the horse.
Overall, I give 4 out of 5 stars for singing hands. I definitely read next (and I think finial) book in the series. Though, I don't feel the rushing need to go out and find it (especially since my library doesn't have the next one). It worth if you like vampires, that are scary, and have interested to read something based on the old mythology.