It is 2026. Sharkey, a Viennese newspaper columnist, spends a tiresome evening with Leo, a drunken computer nerd. Nearly three months later, he is called by the man’s unexpectedly glamorous widow. Her husband has died in mysterious circumstances, and she believes that he has passed on vital information to his new ‘friend’.
Against his better judgement, Sharkey begins a long, fearsomely complex and frequently dangerous search through the cyberhighways and the city. This is a dark world of nationalistic violence and racial strife, where information technology and genetic engineering have together seized terrifying new power.
Compelling, brilliant and deeply stylish, Vienna Blood is an extraordinary literary thriller set in a chillingly plausible future.
Winner of the CWA Silver Dagger Award 1999
Coming at a time when most sci-fi authors seem to think a thorough peppering of improbable gadgets is a substitute for good writing and a plot, this book is a revelation. Its characters are great. It’s a masterfully written, brilliantly paced novel that sucks you into the depths of a biotech nightmare … The best thing to happen to Vienna since Ultravox split.
Forum Magazine: Vienna Blood featured as “Best of the month”.
The writer who took out a patent on the cyberpunk novel was, of course, William Gibson. His nightmarish vision of the future has proved a literary gold mine for many of his followers. Mathews’ book, however, is something noticeably different. Although it could certainly be called science fiction (it is after all set in the year 2026), Mathews clearly has a more literary model in mind. And although his compulsive narrative has many thriller trappings, the use of language is both exciting and innovative. …. Readers of literary novels (or, for that matter, readers of straight thrillers) should not be frightened away by the science fiction elements here. This is a piece which has plenty to offer all kinds of readers.
Amazon internet site
The mystery and science fiction are skilfully blendeed by a writer with a shrewd grasp of dystopain possibilities.
… a tense and tightly written thriller … This plot has more twists than a DNA string.
The Good Book Guide
Imagine Philip Kerr’s early Weimer detective novels updated to the 21st century by William Gibson with dialogue by Dashiell Hammett and you begin to get the flavour of Adrian Mathews’s remarkable new novel. The title suggets gore, but in fact it comes from a Johann Strauss operetta and in the context of this strange story it refers to heredity. Mathews has taken Vienna in the year 2026 and done for it what the director Ridley Scott did for Los Angeles in Blade Runner: extrapolated the obvious to extremes. … Mathews has conjured up a Vienna of the future from the seeds of the past and present and not without touches of black humour … Mathews works up to a made-for-movies, Michael Crichton-style surreal stand-off, complete with life-size interactive Daffy Duck holograms, before a walk in the Vienna woods reveals the strange and complex truth. This is science and fiction at the cutting edge.
Peter Millar, The Times
Adrian Mathews’ ambitious first novel carries a weighty cargo of black comedy, suspense, erudite knowledge, literary game-playing and a dream-like atmosphere of gothic unease. … we’re carried along by his cleverly contrived plot, his neatly drawn company of characters, his ability to convey a sense of threat and his quirky, outsider’s-eye-view of Paris.
This fine literary thriller is an updated take on The Boys from Brazil
, set in a frozen Viennese winter in the year 2026 … Mathews leaves you wanting more.
a nerve-tingling plot … good dialogue, sharply drawn characters and an unexpected final twist.
a taut and intelligent thriller … original and gripping.
Solid entertainment … like Greene’s Harry Lime and Scott’s replicant-chaser Deckard, Mathews’s hero, society columnist Sharkey, has plenty of weight on the page, and his voice gives the story an exotic density of Weltschmerz and Schadenfreude woven amusingly with well-balanced electrono-pedantry and neo-Gibsonesque micrometic technojargon … Tip-top charcoal character sketches, dandy dialogue, and atmospheric evocation of Vienna swimming in the dark waters of the future.
Hardboiled but intellectually agile, Vienna Blood is a delight: a techno-thriller so impressive it re-ennobles a genre woefully demeaned in recent years by neo-Crichton buck-chasers. Mathews’s creations leap off the page, and the fruits of his impressively thorough research are integrated subtly and organically … Of course, Vienna Blood’s world, orbited by the spinning hulk of the Marriott Space Hotel, is really our own a couple of scientific screw turns down the line … it’s a world of chilly convenience and moral blankness … You wouldn’t want to live there, but you’d be mad not to visit.
The atmosphere of the place is so pungent you can almost taste it … A near-future of frightening plausibility … If you locked Aldous Huxley, John Le Carré and Richard Dawkins in a room, this is the sort of yarn they might spin.
An admirable work … major and minor characters resonate with life, thanks in part to fluent dialogue, and the crisp detailing of everything from computer technology to fast food results in a vivid description of a Europe many of us may live to see.
This is Orson Welles’s The Third Man
revamped for the new century, not least because of the Viennese setting so compellingly realised and put to use in the book’s pages. There’s a noirish feel to Mathews’s work. His prose is scalpel sharp and peppered with phrases of a Chandleresque nordancy so that you read on eager to see what he’ll come out with next. The characters are well done, convincingly amoral and complex. The science sounds chillingly plausible and the incidental invention works well. The plot holds the attention from the first word to last and … manages to deliver a few genuine surprises, particularly at the end. A first rate techno-thriller from a writer who shows real promise.
The Third Alternative
… an intriguing futuristic drama … Adrian Mathews pays homage to tales like The Third Man and even Star Wars (the cantina scene) with a novel that will one day have future writers pay similar esteem to him.
… an inventive mixture of science fiction and literary thriller… What gives Vienna Blood its consierable charm is the verve of Mathews’ prose, the quirky memorability of such figures as Leo and Petra, and the absorbing, ambivalent vision of the future … As in his equally offbeat The Hat of Victor Noir, Mathews has clearly saturated himself in the culture of his chosen city, from Mozart to Musil, and (as Thomas Pynchon does in his fiction set in Europe) conveys the likeable impression of relishing his audacity in showing local writers how it is done.