Monday 11 March 2013

Review: The Department 19 Files by Will Hill

Back on the 28th February I happened to happened to see Will Hill tweet that the first in his Department 19 Files short stories was available to buy in the kindle store. I am a huge Department 19 fan, and have loved all of the novels to date (including Battle Lines, which I was fortunate to receive as review copy. It is even better than the previous two novels). Needless to say, I have been looking forward to reading the new short stories ever since I first heard they were going to be published, and within seconds of Will tweeting it I had downloaded The Devil In No Man's Land: 1917

And I loved it. If you are as much of a D19 geek as I am then this is an essential purchase. Set in 1917, it focuses on the exploits of Quincey Harker during the Great War. Readers of the books will know that Quincey Harker was a prominent figure in the early years of Department 19's existence, but we know very little about his rise to 'fame' within the Department. In this short story, the author starts to fill in some of the back story, we discover that he was the leader of an elite group soldiers (what today we would call special forces) and more importantly, how Harker came to 'meet' his first vampire.

Needless to say, one week later I took my Kindle to school with me as I had preordered the second story in this mini-series, titled Undead in the Eternal City: 1918. This time Harker and his elite group of fighters are enjoying a little R&R in Rome following the end of the Great War. However, they are not alone in visiting the Eternal City: another 'person' familiar to D19 fans is also at large - none other than Valeri Rusmanov. This story is very different from the previous one which focused on the horrors of the Great War, and the terror experienced by Harker and his team as they encounter their first vampire. This time the group react in the way they were trained to when faced with a foe, and what ensues is a full throttle chase though the sreets of Rome. It also may go some way to explaining Valeri's extreme hatred for all things Department 19. I'm now waiting impatiently for Wednesday to come along again so I can read the third in the series, The New Blood: 1919.

A word of warning - these are  short stories so don't expect anything lengthy. Also do not expect any big revelations that impact on the novels - these are just brief, but very satisfying, looks at a character from D19's past. What you will get though are well-written, bloody anecdotes from the D19 annals that may answer questions you may have about the early days of Department 19. 

It is well worth popping over to Will Hill's blog at  to read a little more about the background behind his writing of these stories. There is one more short story to come this month, and I would imagine that if these are successful then the author may produce even more in the future.

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