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Publisher's Summary

A charmingly witty fantasy adventure in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, who must solve a dangerous medical mystery at a secret French spa for mummies.

Oasis Natrun: a private, exclusive, highly secret luxury health spa for mummies, high in the hills above Marseille, equipped with the very latest in therapeutic innovations both magical and medical. To Dr. Greta Helsing, London's de facto mummy specialist, it sounds like paradise. But when Greta is invited to spend four months there as the interim clinical director, it isn't long before she finds herself faced with a medical mystery that will take all her diagnostic skill to solve. 

A peculiar complaint is spreading among her mummy patients, one she's never seen before. With help from her friends and colleagues - including Dr. Faust (yes, that Dr. Faust), a sleepy scribe-god, witches, demons, a British Museum curator, and the inimitable vampyre Sir Francis Varney - Greta must put a stop to this mysterious illness before anybody else crumbles to irreparable dust...

...and before the fabric of reality itself can undergo any more structural damage. 

Grave Importance is the third Dr. Greta Helsing Novel - perfect for fans of Neverwhere and V. E. Schwab.

Dr. Greta Helsing novels
Strange Practice
Dreadful Company
Grave Importance

©2019 Vivian Shaw (P)2019 Orbit

What listeners say about Grave Importance

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not so fun - slipping a little

Many books now check all of the boxes: climate change, check - same-sex couple (male), check - same-sex couple (female), check, bumbling Christians, check, f-word used ad nauseam, check..... There is a sameness in the presentation of current books using stereotypes that add 'diverse' characters by color, nationality, or sexual orientation instead of adding 'individual' characters with their own unique personality and demeanor. Advancing an agenda takes up so much space that the one thing lacking is the story. This series started out to be pleasantly different, but after a couple of books it looks like it might be turning out to be boringly the same. And the f-word - how lazy. No matter if the person/creature is decades or centuries old or goes back to the beginning of time, they all use the f-word. No matter how unique the character, situation, or illness, they all use the same word, even side characters being passed on the street use it. One character that rarely uses it did use it, and it was called 'effective' - no, that is called 'lazy'. Surprise = f-word, anger = f-word, regret = f-word, end of world = f-word repeated three times.... It would be refreshing if unique characters (mummies, vampires, devils, angels, etc.) in unique situations used unique words too.

40 people found this helpful

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Not quite as good as the first two books

Vivian Shaw is one of the most original and entertaining authors around. I find her books fantastically amusing and her characters very likable. This book (the third in the series)seemed to get lost in its 3rd act. A lot of the books written real estate was given to an interesting character and the theft of an antiquity she has loaned to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. After the object is stolen (to help the lead character with a diagnosis) the character just lets herself die shortly after. The character that took up so much space in the story seemed to only be added to make the theft of the object happen. The most insulting and weird part of the art collector character is what happens to her when she dies. In the story she keeps herself looking good through stealing the energy off of objects of empowerment, When seeing the impact of her actions, she reverses that energy and turns into a decrepit, liver spotted and emaciated woman....she's only 65, not 105! (Perhaps it's because I live in California, but most 65 yr olds look 40 here). It made me think the author was 19 years old and has a very distorted image of aging. MS Shaws characters involve many interdimensional creatures and beings that include demons, vampires, and werewolves that her lead character treats as a doctor. In the middle of the third act a born again Christian undertone gets inserted into the plot that did not work for me. I'm not sure if it was an attempt to chill the far christian right that might push back against her books or if it was a pushy editor forcing her ahead of her own writing deadline but it comes across as someone else's voice. If I was not such a fan of Shaws work I would have lost interest. I pushed through but did not find the ending nearly as satisfying as her earlier work. The first two books in her series, Strange Practice and Dreadful Company, are brilliant and I would still recommend Grave Importance for the characters you love and their own evolution for continuity in future books.

26 people found this helpful

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Gravely Unimportant

The Series' first installment, "Strange Practice" was strange but intriguing enough to bring me back for the second installment "Dreadful Company," which was dreadful company for the first. Unfortunately, this Series, with initial-promising potential, went from bad to worse with the final installment. The most endearing aspect of the first book is the camaraderie and sense of family that Shaw integrates into the characterizations. Less of this is felt in the second book, while this installment completely misses the mark on this point. I returned to learn the final outcomes for these characters, and left not giving a darn about any of them, let alone this ridiculous story! Previously interesting characters somehow evolve into flatness and dull creatures about whom I could care less. Even the appearance of an Ancient diety, which could have been a great highlight, manages to be related as another dull, hum-drum affair. Speaking of mummies and the rest of the undead, if the 2nd book (Dreadfull...) started this Series' demise, this 3rd installment (Grave...) has most assuredly driven the final nail into the coffin of this Series.

18 people found this helpful

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Disappointed in this one, definitely an agenda

This series started out so well, interesting and different. It soon became clear the author had an agenda. Gay lesbian relationships were a big focus and Christians are inept bumbling fools. I’m sure I will immediately be labeled intolerant, which is not the case. I don’t choose to read certain books and this would have been one of them. The last third of the book was very confusing and weird, and one of the threads that played a large part in the book just ended in a completely unbelievable way. Strong start to the series, very weak finish.

16 people found this helpful

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Wicked good blend of science, history, and imagination!

Excellent book and series! // I don’t recall exactly what made me grab the first book of this series...Audible sale?...but I am SO glad I did. I’ve enjoyed all three immensely. Good writing, wonderful characters, and a world within our own that is just fascinating. Ms. Shaw seamlessly blends science, history, and her “wicked good” imagination into a set of fun, clean adventure novels with a touch of romance. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

14 people found this helpful

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A blah effort

I absolutely LOVED the first book, moderately enjoyed the second, and was bored silly with the third. It may have something to do with how the characters are constantly being described as "exhausted" (but why? what energy are they expending? how long have they been up? the sense of time was very poorly executed) or simply because this was a poorly paced, unexciting, convenient plot with too many side conversations and forced romantic scenarios stagnating the progress. It also felt lacking in research- the medical terms and scenarios (yes I understand there are no real mummy medical procedures, but still) felt like words and phrases had been plucked from wikipedia headlines and not even articles read. The whole thing felt like coasting and the dialogue was atrocious- conversations were stilted, boring, unnecessary and randomly sprinkled with profanity in the way that a pre-teen who has just learned that certain words are inappropriate uses them with his friends (too much and at the wrong times). The narration is fine but Hampton seemed just as bored as I was and could not seem to elevate the storyline or add any sense of urgency when there needed to be. Overall, I should have stopped at the second book.

9 people found this helpful

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Rambling

lacked good pacing and felt like it was two different books. The end was a bit disappointing. Feels like it was rushed or needed more edits? The theme was super fun though think House meets Super Natural.

7 people found this helpful

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Not really a Helsing Novel

While this book contains all the delightful characters we know and love, it has the same pace and style of the first two books it just isn't about our main characters. While in the catacombs beneath London and Paris our characters were the driving force, the thing that really pushed the world back from the brink this book lacks that agency. Don't get me wrong the book has everyone and they are all involved in the plot, but they are passengers on this trip. None of the movements that drive the plot are something that our heroes overcome really. I don't want to spoil things but I can tell you Greta simply does not save the day, she really isn't all that vital to the day being saved. We don't have daring rescues or medical mysteries solved. We don't have Greta saving someone's life through guts, or quick thinking. In fact none of our characters get in any real conflict and while their actions are key in the final act it is not because of who they are, anyone could have made the choices our heroes did in the final scenes and likely had s similar outcome. I still enjoyed the book. I love the whole cast of characters and the writing as always is crisp and delightful. But the story elements here seemed too epic, the conflicts too removed and the characters mere observers more than the driving force.

13 people found this helpful

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The Best one so far

I've loved this series from the first book, but this is the best of the three. The world Vivian Shaw has created (not TOO different from ours...) has deepened and gained detail with each book. This one moves from the 'kind of' possible (that vampires, and mummies and banshees exist and need health care like everyone else) far into the impossible (that Hell is an actual place with restaurants, bureaucrats and newscasters). I'm sure some would find this absurd, but I loved it. The trip to absurdity seems logical to me! The main characters have grown to more complex people, and the Suzanna Hampton's voicing of them furthers this complexity. Greta is still the stand out character, exhibiting all the altruism and dedication to healing that the best medical professionals do, especially in the midst of our Covid-19 pandemic.

5 people found this helpful

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Mummies and the end if the world

Angles attacking angles, hell fighting for heaven and vampires who offer prayers to avoid the apocalypse. what more could one want. Tour de force!

4 people found this helpful