Book reviews / Fantasy

Book review: The route of ice and salt

I contributed to a crowd fund campaign to get this book translated into English. It was originally written by José Luis Zárate in Spanish in 1998.

Anyway, it’s a pretty short read, retelling the story of the Demeter, the ship that carries Dracula from Romania to England. But the story centres on the queer captain, who has suppressed his desires due to a tragic incident in his past.

So there is lot of rumination by the captain about his desires, but also how he can’t fulfil them as he’s the captain of the ship. He sure likes to think about it though. And also, as the story progresses, we find out the other reason why he wouldn’t (but I won’t spoil that). And also, obviously, the story takes place in the past, rather than in 1998 so there are the obvious issues there with persecution of people who are gay.

Anyway, there are some graphic depiction of his, ugh, thoughts and dreams, while on the ship – so your mileage will vary (it’s not that graphic but it happens regularly enough). It also gets a bit weird as Dracula starts to exert his presence on the ship (the rats, omg).

But I think the best bit is at the end, when the captain has reconciled his past with what he is, that he’s not a monster like Dracula. So it was nice in that way, even though he does it while almost being murdered by his former crew members who have all been vaguely turned into vampires. Such is life I guess.

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