Charles Ferrers, three hundred and something years old (closer to four hundred now, but you stop counting after a while) and a former Enforcer for some of the oldest vampire families in Europe. He was recruited to vampirism in the midst of the English Civil War. Ferrers, a catholic priest at the time, is betrayed his brother who collaborates with the Round Heads in order to retain his life and lands. As he awaits his execution, he is tricked into becoming a vampire but soon discovers he has a natural penchant for it.
His gentrified upbringing and intellect allows Ferrers to move easily among high society which and he soon becomes a favourite among the vampire elite. His gift for torture and consummate professionalism lends themselves well to the role of Enforcer – a fixer who works for powerful vampire families, reining in rogue vampires and wiping out dissenters.
Ferrers is a vampire with power, not superhuman ones, but the kind that emanates from lifetimes of listening to people and observing their behaviour. From the confessional to the grave, Ferrers has hundreds of years experience studying human behaviour. Time has also increased this skill.
When we meet Ferrers in Relative Strangers, the first Sophie Morgan book, he has been retired from his enforcement duties for almost twenty five years and has returned to his family estate in rural Warwickshire. No spoilers on why! But life can get lonely, even for a vampire and so when his solicitor develops ovarian cancer he decides to recruit her. What follows is Ferrers slow return to his former ways as he begins to obsess over another woman, Sophie Morgan, inexplicably drawn to her despite her ordinariness and lack of use to him.
Over the years he had been able to moderate his impulses and preferred to take his victims when they least expected it, and ensuring they were left with little more than a mild sense of confusion, if any discernible effect at all. His powers of persuasion had been honed to an art form, so much so that he could have been mistaken for being telepathic or having an aptitude for hypnosis. Neither was true. He’d spent centuries travelling the world, watching people, observing their behaviour, decades before that listening to the prayers and disclosures of his flock through the confessional window. The only sixth sense he had was observation – the ability to see and note the minutiae of someone’s life, recognise the wealth of minor tells they gave away, and making a series of deductions. Rather than telepathy, he had excellent eyesight, a quick mind and years of watching human behaviour. Vampirism had increased these, but was not solely responsible.
Of course, he did consume blood and that meant he could often detect if there was something fundamentally wrong with someone’s health. It might taste thin to him, or have an unusual aftertaste. The most common problem was iron deficiency. The irony that he probably contributed to that was not lost on him.
It was how his diagnosis of Rachel’s health had been confirmed. He was so skilled at feeding without detection and judging the right amount of venom needed to wipe out the victim’s memory (based on size, weight, age, etc.), that she hadn’t even noticed that he’d taken a little sip at each of their appointments.
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