Communion Blood: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain Paperback – Oct 6 2000
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Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's regal vampire Ragoczy, the Count Saint-Germain, crushes our perceptions of the stereotypical bloodsucking, murderous vampire. Unlike his undead brethren Dracula and Lestat, Saint-Germain values life, and he is the very paradigm of humanity and tenderness.
In his long and sometimes overwhelmingly lonely life, Ragoczy has lived through France's 14th-century Black Plague (Blood Roses), Ivan the Terrible's bloody reign (Darker Jewels), and the First World War (Writ in Blood). In Communion Blood, Count Saint-Germain travels from Transylvania to Rome to help out a distressed friend. It is the 17th century, a time when the pope had absolute power, and his "Little House," (The Inquisition), was a law unto itself. A vampire would be viewed as the ultimate heretic, but Saint-Germain puts his own fears aside as he offers legal advice and support to his good friend and fellow undead Niklos Aulirios, who is involved in a bitter legal dispute.
For over 1,300 years, Niklos was the faithful manservant of Olivia Clemens, until she died the True Death. Although she bequeathed everything to Niklos in her will, a young German, Ahrent Julius Rothofen, has challenged the will. He claims to be a relative of Olivia's late husband, but the vampires know this "husband" was purely fictitious. Rothofen also happens to be part of Archbishop Siegfried Walmund's entourage, a powerful allegiance of men who use the church to further their political ambitions and personal wealth. These are not men to vex, particularly if one happens to be a vampire.
As she has done so well throughout her series, Yarbro weaves Saint-Germain's personal dramas into a larger historical picture. We learn much about the complicated politics and religious divisions of 17th-century Europe, and we are treated to a fascinating snapshot of the music, arts, and fashions of the era. This is all laced with enough horror, supernatural intrigue, and erotic vampire sex to remind us that Saint-Germain, despite his humanity, is really not of the natural world. --Naomi Gesinger --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The tyranny of the Inquisition in 17th-century Rome leaves no one safe, especially those unfortunate enough to possess property desired by powerful members of the Roman Catholic Church. When she died 30 years ago, Olivia Clemens, an old friend of Yarbro's gentleman-vampire hero the Count Saint-Germain (Writ in Blood, etc.), bequeathed her estate to her loyal servant, Niklos Aurilios. Now Niklos's ownership of the ample lands is threatened by Ahrent Julius Rothofen, a member of Archbishop Siegfried Walmund's entourage. Rothofen claims to be a long-lost son of Olivia's husband, though in fact Olivia had no husbandAbut to reveal that fact would open her life to deeper scrutiny than Niklos and Saint-Germain will allow. Saint-Germain agrees to plead Niklos's case in court. He earns even greater enmity from the clergy when he shelters Cardinal Cavaleria y Vacamonte's runaway sister, who is trying to escape an arranged marriage to the archbishop's pox-ridden brother. While sidestepping threats from his enemies, Saint-Germain finds time to take a lover, the beautiful soprano Giorgianna Ferrugia, and to write her an opera with baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti. As usual, Saint-Germain's vampirism forms only a minor footnote to the story. Yarbro's painstaking researchAdetailed in author's notesAyields a finely wrought tapestry of lives in grim historical context. The author captures vividly the brutality and greed that powerful Romans hid behind a facade of elegance and piety. Those new to the count, as well as his loyal admirers, will enjoy this richly textured tale of political intrigue spiced with hot blood. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
To the Abbe of Sanct' Parasceva, in Transylvania, the greetings of Niklos Aulirios in Roma, in the hope that the worst of the fighting now going on in the Carpathians that we hear reported here in Roma has passed you by; Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews
Or sixteenth, if you also count "A Flame in Byzantium", "Crusader's Torch", and "A Candle For d'Artagnan", the spinoff series about Atta Olivia Clemens, an earlier vampiric "childe". This book is, after a fashion, a sequel to "A Candle for d'Artagnan".
The book is set in seventeenth century Rome, 30 years after Olivia's death, and somewhat more than that after "Mansions of Darkness". The plot and historical settings were interesting enough, if not Yarbro's best; the love interest, for a change, was neither traumatized, killed, nor psychotic, and even the secondary female character, who WAS traumatized and a bit difficult, was at least not completely psychotic. It was interesting to see, for a change, that the diligence of the church investigators actually worked to Saint-Germain's advantage.
The only real problem with this book was that the writing was inexcusably sloppy. I've long since accepted the fact that there are going to be errors in any mass-market paperback, and in spite of the fact that we pay "quality paperback" prices for the current run of Saint-Germain books, they are basically mass-market paperbacks in Sunday-Go-To-Meeting clothes. And Yarbro has always tended to be a tad on the sloppy side about her proofreading, but I can accept a typo or three per book without getting all worked up over it.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book also continues the examination of the lack of power of women over their own lives throughout history.
The Count knows that his cherished Olivia had no husband. However, Ahrent is part of Archbishop Walmund's retinue, which means he has powerful connections. That threat fails to deter the honorable vampire who alienates the Archbishop further when he helps a young lady escape from marrying the brother of the holy man. Though he knows he needs to show more caution, Saint-Germain continues to do what he feels is right in spite of the danger posed by the Church.
The latest entry in the long running Saint-Germain novels continues the excellence of its predecessors. The story line remains fresh due to the emphasis on the characters and the era rather than just another vampire tale. The myriad of tidbits woven into the plot adds a historical feel rarely seen in a novel. Chelsea Quinn Yarbro keeps her lead protagonist from becoming stale almost as if this is his first appearance, but he still retains his basic charming traits. Ms. Yarbro continues her tradition of providing the best of the "vampiric" tales because she understands it's not the gore or a bushel of victims. It's the authenticity that counts.