Venice. 1407. Grimwood constructs, from the bones of reality, a slightly alternate retelling of a fascinating piece of history. Grimwood brings us to the poorest, the wealthiest, and those in between, unlocking Venetian secrets and laying bare plots and counterplots. Grimwood is a master of prose, parcelling out information to the reader, saying just enough, never too much, and drawing the reader in, dribbling in speculative elements – from German krieghund – werewolves to something darker, something that survives on some types of blood. Vampires are so over, now, but Grimwood brings them out of the darkness into medieval Venice. Top marks.