Thursday, March 30, 2017

Virtual Tour ~ Angels of Istanbul by Alex Beecroft ~ (GuestPost + Giveaway)

About Angels of Istanbul

Wallachian nobleman Radu is recently arrived in Bucharest with his vampire parents. Welcomed as an eligible bachelor, he’s introduced to the enchantress Ecaterina, whose salon is Bucharest’s centre of magical expertise. 

But when Ecaterina’s brother dies of a mysterious new plague, it’s clear to Radu that his parents have not been idle. Soon Bucharest is in the grip of an undead epidemic—a less than ideal time for Ottoman Sultan Mahmud, Wallachia’s overlord, to call Bucharest’s nobility to assemble their armies in Istanbul for a holy war against Britain.

The Wallachians have long resented their Ottoman overlords, so Radu seizes the chance to eliminate them while also ridding Bucharest of the undead: he leads an army of vampires to Istanbul and sets them to feed on the Turks.

As Radu’s demons gut the city of Istanbul, their plans become horribly clear. This is only the start. With the Ottoman armies under their control, the undead are poised to suck the life out of the whole world. Radu, his lover Frank, and Ecaterina are appalled at what they’ve unleashed. But they may be too late to stop it.

Vampires are an odd thing. When I was younger I was not immune from the dangerous erotic frisson that came with the idea of vampires, and I remember putting down the third book in Anne Rice's vampire chronicles and telling myself firmly that this was leading me into a level of depravity that I – a good God fearing Christian – didn't want to get sucked into. (Pun not intended but enjoyed nevertheless.)

But as I grew older and my sense of the bountiful loving-kindness of God increased, and my readings on the subject of feminism, rape-culture and sex positivity also increased, my attitude toward vampires as a metaphor for sex shifted considerably. And then I also realized I was asexual, and I stopped chasing down every single thing that made me feel a flicker of sexual arousal, because I stopped thinking I had to somehow hunt down my sex drive as a matter of survival (surely it was in here somewhere.)

Illustration 1:

The upshot of all this thought – you can't stop me from thinking. It goes on, endlessly, wearyingly, often against my own will – was to come to the conclusion that vampires are kind of outdated as a metaphor for sex.

I can see that they worked well when a person was supposed to feel a kind of thrill of horror at the idea of a good person having anything to do with sex. They worked well in the bodice ripping days where the only way a sympathetic heroine could get any sex and yet retain her personal honour was to be forced into it.

But once they'd got this kind of dark and dangerous charge of illicit sex, they didn't really work well in a culture of sex-positivity. In a culture where in fact it's perfectly okay to have any kind of sex you consent to, they lose their danger, and with the danger they lose some of their frisson. They become tame.

Which is presumably why vampires have pretty much now stopped being monsters at all. You find them everywhere – good vampires. Vampires as romantic heroes imbued with super-powers and the gift of immortality.

Ugh. The redeemed vampire had almost become so ubiquitous that it was boring. So that was why I decided to make them monsters again.

So I decided to go back to the source and ask myself what a creature that survived by draining the blood of humans would really be like. Once the human host was dead, what was it any more? Did it have any human traits at all? Any memories, any residual warmth from the loves it had had in life? How would a thing that created another like it every time it fed even manage not to over-run the world and destroy all humanity within the space of a few years?

I remember being very struck by the description of a body which had been found which was thought to be that of a real life vampire. Dug up in the day it was found to be so swollen with blood that blood was seeping out of its eyes. Nice, I thought, I bet you'd have to have a very particular set of kinks to find that attractive.

Having had time to come to terms with my own lack of sexual attraction, I suppose I wanted to write the vampires of an ace person. Vampires who were not sexually attractive at all – vampires who you knew were out to kill you and then maybe trap you forever in a horrible afterlife of cold suffering. Vampires who'd had the glamour removed.

I personally think they still make pretty good monsters – I'd love to know if you think so too!

About Alex Beecroft

Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.

Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City PaperLA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association of the UK and an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.

Alex was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She lives with her husband and two children in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.

Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800-year-old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.

She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency.

Connect with Alex:


To celebrate the release of Angels of Istanbul, one lucky winner will receive $10 Riptide credit and their choice of ebook from Alex’s backlist! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on April 1, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!


  1. Thank you for the post. I think such things surely makes a monster more dangerous.
    humhumbum AT yahoo DOT com

    1. It's funny - I object to people trying to take the glamour away from elves, but I'm happy when it comes to vampires. Still, elves are not absolutely guaranteed to be out to get you.

  2. Congrats and thanks for sharing about you and vampires. YEESS. Back to monster vamps. I've also been intrigued by the Ottoman Empire myself, and one reason why I like gay historicals is that it can be a fun history lesson. Oh yeah, and then there are the guys, too. Looks like a great addition to your series. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

    1. I'm glad you approve! I think subversion can only go so far before it ends up being a cliche itself.

  3. IMO vampires are more metaphor for cannibalism than sex. They're feeding from another person, they can't survive unless they take life from someone. I don't find that the least bit sexy. So yes, in that context they're monstrous. In Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series they're dried up husks that are controlled by necromancers & if the necromancers lose control they go on a blood lust killing spree. There's no humanity left in them whatsoever.

    1. Oh that's an interesting thought, and I haven't tried those books - but maybe I should :) Oddly enough I have a certain amount of sympathy for cannibalism in its historical context where it was either a deeply meaningful religious thing or a product of complete desperation, but as a kink it's definitely not for me.

  4. sounds like a good story
    jmarinich33 at aol dot com