Directors' Choice Award Winner
The Curse Of Batvia
by Katherine Burger
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Sinuous and very English LADY ANTHEA RECLUSE has married elderly LORD RODERICK RECLUSE under false pretenses; she’s actually from the obscure, vaguely Eastern European land of Batvia. She and her strangely lupine, oddly-accented brother GUNTHER, in the guise of a manservant, have come to England to find The Book of Spells – stolen 499 years ago by Roderick’s ancestor – that they hope will deliver them from a fiendish curse. On full moon nights the siblings turn into ravening beasts; when 500 years have passed they will become full-time lycanthropes forever. Anthea laments that as only a part-time human she’s never known love; the prospect of becoming a full-time wer-panther is daunting. (Gunther, however, rather relishes being a wer-wolf).
Dashing Scottish CHIEF INSPECTOR COTTAGE arrives to investigate the deaths of Roderick’s dog and his cook, who’ve been ripped apart as if by beasts. The Batvian siblings find the book, and discover that the counter-spell must be cast in Batvia before the New Year dawns. They must leave at once! Meanwhile Cottage discovers that they are implicated in the ghastly deaths and tries to arrest them, even though he’s fallen in love with Anthea. Anthea and Gunther divert the still devilishly handsome, and now gun-wielding C.I. Cottage, and escape into the night.
A month later, Anthea and Gunther are crossing the border into Batvia, just before sunset on the last day before the full-time curse becomes irrevocable. Roderick and Cottage enter in pursuit, surprising the siblings as they prepare to cast the counter-spell. Anthea pleads to be allowed to complete their mission. Although he doesn't believe in this wer-beast nonsense, Cottage allows it. The spell goes awry, and everyone ends up where they should: Gunther reveling in remaining a beast; Lord Roderick gleefully pursuing him; and Cottage and Anthea in each other’s arms.
Siblings Anthea and Gunther travel from their native Batvia to England, to find the counter-spell they hope will release them from an ancient lycanthropic curse. Anthea can’t resist the full moon, transforms into a wer-panther, and kills a dog. Chief Inspector Cottage is brought in to investigate the bloody deed, and realizes that something unearthly is roaming the moors.
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