Past, present and future, the people who have left their mark on the TotenUniverse.
Former Baader Meinhof gang member, smuggled back to St. Petersburg in the 1970s by a musician from the Conservatory orchestra, Lena was a business woman equally at home forging deals in her Bamberg boardroom as she was torturing crooked criminals in Russia.
A woman of contradictions, threatening Rob Wallet days after flirting with him, she persuaded her husband Dmitri to join Toten Herzen in the Lake District, a reluctant voice coach to a bemused Susan Bekker.
As head of the Bamberg coven, Lena’s appearance introduced Wallet, Toten Herzen and the reader to the Malandanti; its powers, reach, corruption and heritage. Lena herself was a descendent of men and woman killed in the witch trials of the 1600s. Her involvement in black magic became a way of undermining western institutions in a way Baader Meinhof never came close to achieving.
It’s debatable what Lena will be remembered for: her power to control lightning; the occult goings-on in an Ipswich cemetery; or the accidental attachment of a four hundred year old conspiracy to a rock band’s comeback album!
We could ask her, but for that we may need help . . . Frieda Schoenhofer’s help.
Composer, conductor, pianist and music teacher, Dmitri Neved’s spiritual home was a studio and a student, passing on his knowledge of music theory. Not all his students understood; he compared Susan Bekker to a bag of cement!
If Neved wanted anything it was piece of mind, security, stability, a return to the life he knew and understood: life in a controlling Communist regime. Far from being a reassurance, his wife’s presence became a constant conflict. Watching her leave their St. Petersburg apartment he would compare her to a soldier, back straight, walking proudly into battle.
By the time Lena’s relationship with Wallet and Toten Herzen had reached breaking point Neved was assimilated, part of the set up. In Behind the Wall, the fourth Toten Herzen novel, Neved will find himself alongside Susan Bekker when she needs help to compose music for Jens Gol’s sci-fi epic Quarter Moon.
She may not be the only familiar face returning to haunt him.
Rene’s relationship with the Romanian guitarist cannot be left unexplained. There Will Be Blood’s strangest member will resonate through the TotenUniverse up to the final revelation.
Natasha and Sasha Pojzerova
After Ria Geanescu There Will Be Blood’s twin drummers hogged the limelight with their impossible similarity and unique drumming technique. When Susan Bekker seizes an opportunity to go solo she’ll need a drummer. She might end up with two for the price of one.
Dr. Gert Hoenenbacker
Intolerant lecturer in quantum mechanics at the University of Wurzburg, Dr. Hoenenbacker found himself drawn in to Malandanti intrigue and the long arm of Toten Herzen thanks to his doctorate student Klaus Linzl meeting up with a blue-haired fan girl and an inexplicable trick involving apples.
Although he was an arch-secularist, there was a moment of scientific agnosticism when he learned of his colleague’s involvement in supernatural crime. Blaming Virginia’s Bruck’s witchcraft on her despised husband, artist Earnst Bruck, Dr. Hoenenbacker was forced to confront the world ‘s weirdness in a way he never expected.
A world that hasn’t finished with him.
Like most victims Linzl was in the wrong place at the wrong time. First meeting Raven and being drawn into a conflict between vampire and witch, and then appearing in the radar of Frieda Schoenhofer; lured into her gravitational pull by apples and DNA until a curious dream forced him to cut his losses.
Satanist and sole practitioner of the assassin’s craft within the forty-nine, Shevchuk becomes a foil in Jennifer Enzo’s search for the Devil’s help. But he’s nothing without the demonic help of his succubus. . . .
According to hermetic literature demons fall into one of two categories: original legion, those that followed Lucifer during the time of his fall; and lost souls, the dead who find themselves next to the inferno and its mutilating heat.
Ystirria fell into the former category until she linked up with her human master, Shevchuk and became part of a demonic network in the forty-nine’s struggle with the Malandanti leadership. A demon of great strength and loyalty and she has a surprise of her own that almost leads to Shevchuk quitting his lethal career.
The first five novels of the TotenUniverse have already generated a comprehensive cast of characters beyond what I had intended. The next four may produce even more.
Lords of Misrule will drop the Malandanti into the centre of Vatican life. Frieda will meet another mixed gaggle of individuals when she passes herself off as a medium in The Art of Necromancy.
Behind the Wall will see the return of Jens Gol and real actors; an unauthorised biographer will be tailing Elaine Daley, and Rob Wallet is the sort of guy unlucky enough to meet a . . . actually I’ll keep that one to myself.
Ultimately Revelation will answer questions and tie up loose ends. And who comes out of it alive is still open to question. I may decide or the characters may decide for me.