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Vampyre [Paperback]

Tom Holland
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Feb. 3 2004
The Secret History of Lord Byron... Legendary poet Lord Byron comes to life with incendiary brilliance in this spellbinding blend of gothic imagination and documented fact that paints an unforgettable portrait of the nineteenth-century romantic genius as the world's most formidable vampire. Wandering in the mountains of Greece, Byron is drawn to the beauty of a mysterious fugitive slave; soon he is utterly entranced, and his fate is sealed. The supreme sensualist embarks on a life of adventure even his genius could not have foreseen; chosen to enjoy powers beyond those any vampire has ever known, Byron enters a dark, intoxicating world, traversing centuries of long-lost secrets, ancient arts, and scorching excesses of evil. But Byron's gift is also his torment: an all consuming thirst that withers life at the root, damning all those he loves... With its impeccable scholarship and breathtaking storytelling, THE VAMPYRE is a wonderful combination of fact and fantasy, both compelling and also strangely plausible...

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'...Byron himself would have been pleased by such an eerie, erudite addition to his myth' -- TIME OUT

'A powerfully atmospheric tale' -- COMPANY

'A tour de force of scholarship and gothicity' -- LOS ANGELES TIMES

'Ingenious and entertaining' -- SUNDAY TIMES

About the Author

Tom Holland lives in London.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Damned to Everlasting Infamy Aug. 12 2008
Format:Paperback
George Gordon, better known as Lord Byron, is one of England's most famous 'Romantic' poets. He was born in 1788, the son of John Byron and Catherine Gordon, but inherited his title and property of his great-uncle in 1798. He travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia Minor - his trips abroad included Albania, Greece and Italy - particularly when he was in trouble at home. (He piled up debts, his marriage collapsed after little over a year and caused a great deal of scandal with a series of illicit love affairs - his romantic entanglement with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, was particularly noteworthy. In fact, it is believed that Augusta's daughter was fathered by Byron, rather than by her husband). After his marriage to Anne Milbanke failed, Byron left England in 1816. He settled in Geneva for a while - where he became friendly with Percy and Mary Shelley - before moving on to Italy. In 1824, he sailed to Greece to help in their fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire. However, Byron caught and died from a fever before seeing any action.

"The Vampyre" tells Byron's life story, though from a slightly different angle. Byron, as it turns out, never actually died and the book sees him telling his story to Rebecca Carville. He covers what he feels to be the key period of his existence, beginning with the trip to Greece where he became a vardoulacha - a vampire - and finishing with his faked death in Greece. Although the story is (obviously) embellished, Holland clearly had done his research before writing this book. It features Byron's most notable love affairs, his friendships with John Hobhouse and the Shellys, even the feeble contribution of his rather pitiful doctor, Polidor.
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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Damned to Everlasting Infamy Feb. 9 2008
By Craobh Rua - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
George Gordon, better known as Lord Byron, is one of England's most famous 'Romantic' poets. He was born in 1788, the son of John Byron and Catherine Gordon, but inherited his title and property of his great-uncle in 1798. He travelled extensively throughout Europe and Asia Minor - his trips abroad included Albania, Greece and Italy - particularly when he was in trouble at home. (He piled up debts, his marriage collapsed after little over a year and caused a great deal of scandal with a series of illicit love affairs - his romantic entanglement with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh, was particularly noteworthy. In fact, it is believed that Augusta's daughter was fathered by Byron, rather than by her husband). After his marriage to Anne Milbanke failed, Byron left England in 1816. He settled in Geneva for a while - where he became friendly with Percy and Mary Shelley - before moving on to Italy. In 1824, he sailed to Greece to help in their fight for independence from the Ottoman Empire. However, Byron caught and died from a fever before seeing any action.

"The Vampyre" tells Byron's life story, though from a slightly different angle. Byron, as it turns out, never actually died and the book sees him telling his story to Rebecca Carville. He covers what he feels to be the key period of his existence, beginning with the trip to Greece where he became a vardoulacha - a vampire - and finishing with his faked death in Greece. Although the story is (obviously) embellished, Holland clearly had done his research before writing this book. It features Byron's most notable love affairs, his friendships with John Hobhouse and the Shellys, even the feeble contribution of his rather pitiful doctor, Polidor. In all honesty, I enjoyed how Holland wove Byron's `real' life into the story more than the vampire angle...in fact, the thought of a vampire playing such a key role in the `creation' of Frankenstein was something I found quite funny. All in all, a very readable story, though it won't necessarily keep you awake at night.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A potentially great book let down by patchy writing April 9 2013
By Australian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The central story to this book makes for absorbing and entertaining reading: adaptation of the Byron history into a vampire novel. And Holland does it brilliantly.
However, the artifice that frames this "inner" story is appallingly written and pretty irrelevant. Clumsy and quite silly. The resolution of it utterly pointless.
But as a whole novel, I do recommend it. It's worth persisting with the initial dreadful writing to get to Byron's story. Which is a great read!
5.0 out of 5 stars One of The Best Vampyre novels.... Jan. 23 2014
By Carmen Lorena - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is one of the best Vampyre novels I have read in a long time! Bought it, mine was destroyed, so I purchased it again on Amazon for my Library! Thanks!
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! Dec 18 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys Vampire novels. It is not for younger readers and has some adult language and scenarios, but it is a great read. Provocative and unique definitely.
4.0 out of 5 stars A good inventive vampire novel Sept. 21 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
It took me a few chapters to get properly sucked into this book. But once I had, there were sufficient unexpected plot twists and revelations to keep me turning the pages right up to the very end of the book.

The story is based on the premise that Lord Byron was/is a vampire who faked his own death and remains alive some 200 years later. The book is his life story told from his own perspective in the form of a monologue that he delivers to a frightened young woman. In this respect the book resembles Anne Rice's book Interview with the Vampire. There are also some similar themes to those found in Rice's books: grappling with one's conscience, self-disgust, the loneliness of immortality and so on - what we might call the basic existential issues of the bloodsucker. However, in my opinion, there is enough that is different, inventive and original in this book to make it a worthwhile read.

All vampire novels create their own set of rules and constraints that restrict a vampire's behaviour and way of life. I thought that rules that Holland's vampires labour under were novel and inventive, in some cases having especially cruel and tragic consequences. I won't go into detail because these gradually emerge as the book unfolds and I don't want to spoil it for you. The fact that Byron is a historical figure adds interest too, as the plot is (loosely) constrained to follow Byron's own life-story, and offers its own vampiric twist on various real events and relationships. So Byron's marriage, his numerous affairs, his self-imposed exhile from England, and his friendship with Percy Shelley are all woven into the plot of this story (we even get Holland's version of the evening of ghost stories that led Mary Shelley to write the novel Frankenstein).

So, a good, well-constructed, well-paced plot (with maybe a bit of a slow start) with numerous twists and turns, some inventive twists on the nature of vampiric condition, a bit of horror, some sex, some cruelty and some tragedy, quite a bit of death (well, a vampire has to eat after all), along with some vampire angst, plus a reworking of Byron's life story. If that sounds like your cup of tea, buy this book. I enjoyed it.
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