Lori's Book Nook

Archive for February 2009

NO, this is not a blog post about Twilight. Oh, spare me that agony. I did read the first book, lent to me by a co-worker, on a bus trip. It was a relatively fun, mindless 2 hours to the end of the book…but it was like eating cotton candy, absolutely no sustenance.

And it is not a post about Anne Rice, although I enjoyed her vampire books. I especially enjoyed the history of each vampire. Fun, sexy books.

Who I would like to talk about is the author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. A good friend of mine intercepted me after the above-mentioned bus trip, told me, if you want vampire fiction, here is where to go.  That was 2 months ago. She has since lent me 5 of Yarbro’s books, all of which I’ve devoured…but I’m only getting around to writing about them now. My apologies.

The website states the over-arching focus of the books much more succinctly than I ever could:

The books of the Saint-Germain Cycle combine historic fiction, romance, and horror and feature the heroic vampire first introduced in Hôtel Transylvania as Le Comte de Saint-Germain. In this initial novel, the character — cultured, well-traveled, articulate, elegant, and mysterious — appears in the court of France’s King Louis XV.

A ‘heroic vampire’ makes for a very readable series (of which I’ve only read 1/4…there are 20+ books so far!). Then, the conflict is in the human world around Saint- Germain as he maintains his life.

As Chelsea Quinn Yarbro explains:

The second level of questions arose from the relationship of vampires to humans — must the relationship be exploitative? And must humans abhor vampires? The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was worth trying to use a vampire as a metaphor for humanism: a person living an unnaturally long life might become alienated from humanity, as a means of avoiding the pain of spending most of your time saying permanent good-byes. Or it was just possible the vampire would, through his very alienation, seek to be part of human experience, which offered a great many more dramatic possibilities.

So, the books follow the efforts of the vampire Saint-Germain to live in each age. Of course, because of his accumulated wealth and knowledge, he finds himself embroiled in public life and that brings its own difficulties. The stories recount his activities in this public sphere, with any sucking of blood kept to the sidelines.

The most fascinating aspect of these books is that the horror and danger in a Saint-Germain novel come from the humans, not the vampire.

Any other Yarbro fans out there?


Book Discussion Pages

Here on the Book Nook you can discuss: The Fifth Business by Robertson Davies, as well as the next two books in the Deptford Trilogy, The Manticore and World of Wonders, and if that's not enough for you, see what's up on the forums at BookTalk.org!