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Baltimore,

Cover of Baltimore,

Baltimore,

Or, The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire
Borrow Borrow Borrow

From celebrated comic artist Mike Mignola and award-winning novelist Christopher Golden comes a work of gothic storytelling like no other. Reminiscent of the illustrated tales of old, here is a lyrical, atmospheric novel of the paranormal--and a chilling allegory for the nature of war.

"Why do dead men rise up to torment the living?" Captain Henry Baltimore asks the malevolent winged creature. The vampire shakes its head. "It was you called us. All of you, with your war. The roar of your cannons shook us from our quiet graves.... You killers. You berserkers.... You will never be rid of us now."

When Lord Henry Baltimore awakens the wrath of a vampire on the hellish battlefields of World War I, the world is forever changed. For a virulent plague has been unleashed--a plague that even death cannot end.

Now the lone soldier in an eternal struggle against darkness, Baltimore summons three old friends to a lonely inn--men whose travels and fantastical experiences incline them to fully believe in the evil that is devouring the soul of mankind.

As the men await their old friend, they share their tales of terror and misadventure, and contemplate what part they will play in Baltimore's timeless battle. Before the night is through, they will learn what is required to banish the plague--and the creature who named Baltimore his nemesis--once and for all.

From the Hardcover edition.

From celebrated comic artist Mike Mignola and award-winning novelist Christopher Golden comes a work of gothic storytelling like no other. Reminiscent of the illustrated tales of old, here is a lyrical, atmospheric novel of the paranormal--and a chilling allegory for the nature of war.

"Why do dead men rise up to torment the living?" Captain Henry Baltimore asks the malevolent winged creature. The vampire shakes its head. "It was you called us. All of you, with your war. The roar of your cannons shook us from our quiet graves.... You killers. You berserkers.... You will never be rid of us now."

When Lord Henry Baltimore awakens the wrath of a vampire on the hellish battlefields of World War I, the world is forever changed. For a virulent plague has been unleashed--a plague that even death cannot end.

Now the lone soldier in an eternal struggle against darkness, Baltimore summons three old friends to a lonely inn--men whose travels and fantastical experiences incline them to fully believe in the evil that is devouring the soul of mankind.

As the men await their old friend, they share their tales of terror and misadventure, and contemplate what part they will play in Baltimore's timeless battle. Before the night is through, they will learn what is required to banish the plague--and the creature who named Baltimore his nemesis--once and for all.

From the Hardcover edition.

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    PRELUDE:REQUIEM

    "There were once five and twenty tin soldiers,
    all brothers, for they were the offspring
    of the same old tin spoon."

    --The Steadfast Tin Soldier
    by Hans Christian Andersen

    On a cold autumn night, under a black sky leached of starlight and absent the moon, Captain Henry Baltimore clutches his rifle and stares across the dark abyss of the battlefield, and knows in his heart that these are the torture fields of Hell, and damnation awaits mere steps ahead.

    On one knee he pauses, listening, but the only sound comes from the chill autumn wind that carries with it the stink of death and decay. Baltimore gestures to the men picking their way through the darkness behind him, then moves in a crouch toward a small rise that could be a mound of war-torn earth...or a hill of corpses.

    He falls to one knee behind the mound, which is indeed an innocent pile of dirt, excavated in the process of digging a trench. But Baltimore feels no relief at the discovery, save that the small mound provides better cover than corpses would have. Bullets pass through putrefying flesh far easier than through hard earth.

    In the thick of the night, only a madman would attempt to cross the ravaged No Man's Land that separates his battalion from the Hessians. The blasted tundra is furrowed with dank, muddy trenches and strewn with the bodies of the dead. Bales of barbed wire are stretched in winding serpents across the field.

    Yet madmen they are. The battalion commander has determined that someone must traverse that damned earth in the dark and bring the fight to the enemy. Desperation demands it. Without some twist of fate--brought by gods or men--the dawn will find them in circumstances most dire.

    The mission has gone to Captain Baltimore.

    He has led his platoon away from the safety of the battalion camp, out of the forest that now seems so far behind them, and fifty yards into No Man's Land. Ahead lies at least four times that distance before they will reach any
    decent cover. The Hessians are camped in thick woods on the other side of the battlefield.

    Baltimore knows that he stands at the very edge of the world. How else to explain the dread that slithers in the hollow of his chest and wraps itself around his soul? He must be on the threshold of Hell, for he can conceive of no patch of ground that could be farther from home and family and comfort. Yet this is the nature of war. To become a soldier, to spill blood and evict human souls in the name of faith or country, means traveling so far from home that home becomes as distant and cherished a memory as innocence.

    He yearns for them both, even as he realizes at last--only now, only here--that they are lost to him forever.

    As a boy he had kept to his room on rainy days and played with his tin soldiers, had cast them as enemies and caused them to kill one another on the battlefield of his blanket. But tin soldiers do not bleed. They go back in the box and live to fight another day.

    Soldiers of flesh and blood also end up in a box, but theirs is of heavy pine. Baltimore has seen far too many soldiers bleed, and go into that wooden box in pieces. Dread flows in his veins now, making it difficult for him to move. Death waits for him on that ravaged ground and he has no wish to meet it. His bones ache with a chill that is more from terror and sadness than the November air, and he can scarcely breathe.

    He raises a hand and signals his men, first to the left and then to the right. In two lines they hurry forward, flanking his position on both sides. Their motion is barely a whisper to disturb the darkness, yet to...

About the Author-
  • Mike Mignola is best known as the award-winning creator/writer/artist of Hellboy, although he began working as a professional cartoonist in the early 1980s, drawing "a little bit of everything for just about everybody." He was also a production designer on the Disney film Atlantis: The Lost Empire and visual consultant to Guillermo del Toro on both Blade 2 and the film version of Hellboy. Mignola lives in southern California with his wife, daughter, and cat.

    Christopher Golden is the award-winning, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of such novels as The Myth Hunters, Wildwood Road, The Boys Are Back in Town, Ferryman, Strangewood, and the Body of Evidence series of teen thrillers. He was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. There are more than eight million copies of his books in print.

Reviews-
  • Rocky Mountain News

    "Final word: Mignola's stark black-and-white illustrations are an excellent complement to Golden's words in that rarest of supernatural novels: an original vampire tale."

  • Joe R. Lansdale "Baltimore is an old time rootin' tootin' sense of wonder story dragged through a modern blender, then slow baked in hell. I loved it. It was velvet bullet--speedy and rich in sensation. Go boys, go."
  • Joe Hill, author of Heart-Shapped Box "With Baltimore, Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden lay siege to the reader's imagination with a grim battalion of gothic images and a thunderous barrage of narrative artillery. This is not a novel: it's a war machine. Surrender immediately."
  • Michael Moorcock, bestselling author of The Elric Saga "I have admired Mike Mignola both as an artist and as a tremendous story teller pretty much since his career began. In this collaboration with Christopher Golden, it's fair to say he surpasses himself. He and Golden have produced a witty classic of supernatural fiction."
  • Omaha World Herald "Co-authors Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden brilliantly cross the evocative dread ofearly supernatural writersAlgernon Blackwood and Ambrose Bierce with the inventive, in-your-face horror of contemporary counterparts Stephen King and Bentley Little."
  • Publishers Weekly "A haunting allegory on the nature of war.... Stark monochromatic illustrations from Mignola enhance this dramatic tale of war and fear."
  • Fangoria "Outstanding.... Mike Mignola's outstanding black-and-white illustrations turn the book into a beautiful object and add to its overall storybook quality. He and Golden have outdone themselves with Baltimore, a gorgeous, haunting tale that may well become a classic."
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