Tuesday, October 11, 2011

One Vampire Down

Triple Threat Tomeful Tuesday Triumph touted by Theodric the Alliterator!


Yes, forgive me, I got carried away.  This is just a note that the first book of the October read is complete, all 467 pages of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's 1981 novel of her recurring character, Count St. Germain.  The cover art and back blurb lead the reader to believe that the whole thing is set in China during the time of Jenghis (her preferred spelling) Khan's invasions.  Not even half the book is, which came as something of a shock.  St. Germain flees China as it is crushed under the Mongol's boot.  His flight through western China and Tibet takes up a good chunk of the book, and then the final section of the book is set in Northern India, in a small Hindu Raj under the Delhi Sultanate.  If you have not gotten your fill of Thuggee from Gygax's Death in Delhi or from Spielberg's Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, you would not have know it, but Path of the Eclipse has you covered.

In spite of the curve-ball, I enjoyed the book.  Vampire lore probably doesn't have any new twists that can be put on it at this point, though I imagine that back in 1981, Yarbro's attempts to put twists on it still seemed pretty fresh -- not as fresh as it would have before 1973, but still before the endless baroque alternatives we have been presented which at this point made freshness impossible.  Maybe my definition of Horror needs its boundaries re-surveyed, but it is hard for me to think of this as Horror.  I'd call it, Dark Historical Fantasy.  I don't plan on keeping it in my library (which is bursting at the seams), but I don't think I'd mind picking up a further St. Germain novel to read in the future.

Replica of the Kalighat Temple Kali at a Kali Puja Pandal at Behala, Kolkata by Jonoikobangali

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