Saturday, April 15, 2017

Vic the Vampire

Children's chapter book VIC THE VAMPIRE: SCHOOL GHOUL (1990), by Hanya Bloom, is the first novel in a series that also includes (as far as I can find on Amazon) three other books, subtitled SCIENCE SPOOK, FRIENDLY FANGS, and VAMPIRE COUSINS.

As first-person narrator Mike begins the fourth grade, a strange but friendly new boy, Vic Alucard, joins the class. His family has recently moved from Transylvania (which the kids, including Mike, mishear as Pennsylvania). He's pale with red lips and wears a black cape over his black jeans and purple shirt. His family lives in a large, spooky house and keeps bats, a fierce-looking but affectionate dog, and a giant spider as pets. Vic and his sister Viveca eat raw hamburger, while their parents don't seem to eat at all, and Vic brings a thermos of thick, red liquid to school. He's allergic to garlic and flees in panic from getting his picture taken or being sprayed with a hose.

In keeping with the typical children's novel tropes, Mike has to cope with a class bully, in this case a girl named Missy. Although her sidekick, Clint, occasionally resorts to physical violence, Missy's bullying takes the form of insults and pranks. Naturally, she's the first to accuse Vic of being a vampire and spends the whole book trying to expose him. Mike, meanwhile, struggles with the problem of whether his new best friend could really be a vampire and whether that's a reason to fear him. The class organizes a fall carnival, in which Vic and his family play a vital role, where Mike finally has to come to terms with Vic's nature.

VIC THE VAMPIRE, aimed at a sightly younger readership than Mel Gilden's delightful Fifth Grade Monsters series, doesn't feature the witty pop culture allusions that make Gilden's stories fun for adults as well as kids. Still, if you're looking for fiction to entertain vampire-loving children, with a diversity-friendly message of openness toward people who seem "different," Bloom's series fits that niche.

Margaret L. Carter

Explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Goldcamp Vampire

Elizabeth Scarborough's humorous historical novel THE GOLDCAMP VAMPIRE OR THE SANGUINARY SOURDOUGH (1987) is narrated by Valentine Lovelace (nee Pelagia Harper), a newspaper editor and writer of dime novels. After the death of her dissolute but well-liked father, her father's mistress, Sasha Devine, invites Valentine to accompany her as companion and general gofer on a trip to the Yukon gold fields, all expenses covered (but salary to be paid at some later date). To Valentine's surprise, the journey includes the coffin of a certain Mr. Lawson, whose grieving partner wants him transported to the Yukon. On the voyage north and in Dawson City, Valentine gets arrested for murder, fakes her own death, and poses as a Spanish dancer, among other predicaments. Along with other eccentric characters, she meets Sasha's "admirer" (owner of the saloon whose dance company Valentine joins), Vasily Vladovitch Bledinoff, a Romanian Count who emigrated to Russia and thence to the Yukon.

The humor springs from Valentine's cluelessness in contrast to the reader's full awareness of the significance of mosquito bites on the neck, aggressive bats, sensitivity to crucifixes, multiple disappearances on board the boat, and a mist flowing out of the nonexistent "Mr. Lawson's" casket. For most of the book, she attributes the fatigue, illnesses, and inexplicable deaths to a Deadly Miasma. Even when she realizes the "mosquito bites" on the dancing girls' necks are inflicted by Vasily, she thinks he's just a womanizer with perverted notions of seduction. She awakens to the truth only when someone brings a copy of a recent novel by that Irish writer, Bram Stoker, to the saloon and reads the first three chapters aloud. She also encounters werewolves, a were-moose, an old enemy from her past encounter with a dragon god in Texas (in a prior novel I haven't read), a young aspiring writer named Jack London, and her father's ghost. Vasily turns out to be not so much evil as cheerfully amoral, but even after discovering that his bite induces sensual pleasure, euphoria, and addiction, Valentine has no desire to become a vampire.

The witty first-person narrative and fast-paced adventure keep the reader from getting emotionally involved with the characters who fall into deadly peril at the claws and fangs of monsters. There are moments of horror and suspense, but we can't seriously fear for Valentine when she has obviously survived to tell the tale. This fun, lightly scary romp concludes with a "Biographer's Note" summarizing the heroine's later life as a writer, world traveler, and adventurer. If you like humorous takes on traditional horror tropes, pick up THE GOLDCAMP VAMPIRE.

Margaret L. Carter

Explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Vampire Is Just Not That Into You

Reading material for lovers of the undead during the month of Valentine's Day: THE VAMPIRE IS JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU (2009), by "Vlad Mezrich," self-proclaimed vampire, one of several silly/satirical "guidebooks" for women who want to date vampires (men attracted to undead seductresses are on their own, I guess), is the best I've seen. For one thing, the author actually seems to know a fair amount about the subject, even if his examples and advice come mostly from paranormal romance, especially of the TWILIGHT type. The text is profusely illustrated in red and black with numerous drawings and a variety of fonts. Vlad supplements his comments with bar graphs, pie charts, flow charts, multiple-choice questionnaires, and sidebar boxes quoting personal testimony from vampires and their girlfriends as well as a therapist and a vampire-slayer (with advice about "protection"). This layout and print style could get annoying at great length but works fine for this short (176 pages with lots of white space), fast-reading book.

Some topics covered: How to tell an authentic vampire from a wannabe. Best places to meet vampires. What a vampire looks for in a woman. How to decode his dialogue and interpret his kisses. Dating etiquette. Appropriate gifts for vampires. Meeting his friends and family. Fill-in-the-blanks vampire poetry. Celebrating major holidays. Dealing with the centuries of age difference. Surviving the eventual break-up or, conversely, preparing for transformation into his eternal mate. That's just a sample of the many subdivisions. There's even a brief recipe section (real recipes, e.g. Bloody Mary and blood sausage, with the "vampire version" as alternatives).

One thing I'd like to see, and would include if I wrote such a guide, would be a comparison of different breeds of vampires. In both folklore and literature, vampires come in many different types with a wide variety of traits, powers, and weaknesses. They're not all supernatural undead who shun daylight. A romantic fling with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Count Saint-Germain or P. N. Elrod's Jack Fleming would be quite a different (and probably safer) experience from dating Anne Rice's Lestat or Dr. Weyland of Suzy McKee Charnas's THE VAMPIRE TAPESTRY. THE VAMPIRE IS JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU is an entertaining book for hard-core fans. Although it's out of print, Amazon has many used copies for sale.

Margaret L. Carter

Please explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Love in Vein

Poppy Z. Brite, best known in the vampire realm as author of the novel LOST SOULS (1992), edited LOVE IN VEIN (1994), an anthology subtitled "Twenty Original Tales of Vampire Erotica." Her introduction promises "stories exploring the visceral connection between vampirism and eroticism." Contrary what the reader might expect from the subtitle, many of the tales don't feature highly explicit, graphic sex, but all exude dark sensuality. Contributors include such well-known SF, fantasy, and horror authors as Charles de Lint, Nancy Holder, Gene Wolfe, Barry N. Malzberg,Thomas F. Monteleone, Brian Hodge, and many others. (Nothing by Brite herself, oddly. Some editors disapprove of including one's own work in an anthology, an attitude that puzzles me. As a reader, I pick up an anthology edited by a famous author in anticipation of getting a story by that author as part of the bargain.)

The story I find most creepily fascinating, "Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu," by Norman Partridge, imagines an alternative ending to DRACULA, in which Quincey Morris takes Lucy's mutilated corpse back to Texas with him, planning to undo the vampire-slayers' work and make her his bride. Other memorable pieces include: Jessica Amanda Salmonson's "Arabian Nights"-inflected tale, "The Final Fete of Abba Adi"; "White Chapel," by Douglas Clegg, set in Southeast Asia, featuring a legendary serial killer and exotic gods; "The Marriage," by Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem, about a vampire who drains energy by feeding on bodily fluids, especially sexual secretions; "Queen of the Night," by Gene Wolfe, through the eyes of a boy brought up by ghouls; "The Alchemy of the Throat," narrated by a castrato boy soprano enslaved to a more-or-less benevolent vampire born in ancient Rome.

Brite also edited a follow-up volume, LOVE IN VEIN II (1997), also consisting of original stories—with one exception. The book begins with a reprint of Neil Gaiman's unforgettable "Snow, Glass, Apples," a very dark fairy tale of Snow White as a vampire and the Queen as a good witch striving to overcome the girl's evil. (Tanith Lee's older story "Red as Blood" has the same premise but a happy ending.)

Margaret L. Carter

Please explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Before the Count

BEFORE THE COUNT (2007), edited by Margo Collins, is an anthology for hardcore vampire literature enthusiasts. It has a slightly misleading, though catchy, subtitle, "British Vampire Tales, 1732-1897." Not all the contents count as "tales," since they include three nonfiction pieces and two poems. Not all are British; items originally in other languages are included. All of the latter, however, appear in translations available in nineteenth-century England, so they're interesting and useful for the book's purpose of collecting significant precursors in English to Bram Stoker's DRACULA.

John Polidori's "The Vampyre," the first known prose vampire story in English, is included, along with the "Fragment" by Byron that inspired it, even though they're readily available in many other editions. That choice makes sense for the sake of completeness. Many of the other contents, though, haven't been reprinted in other vampire collections that I know of and make this volume a welcome addition to a vampire fanatic's library. In addition to the vampire section of Dom Augustin Calmet's often-cited book, the nonfiction selections consist of two 1732 magazine articles about real-life cases reported from Eastern Europe. An 1835 translation of Goethe's poem "The Bride of Corinth" also appears. The heart of the anthology, for me, comprises four plays based on or inspired by Polidori's novella, materials I'd read about in many secondary sources but never seen in print before. All items appear in chronological order of their English publication.

I'm surprised the editor didn't include "The Mysterious Stranger," an anonymous 1860 story set in the Carpathians with a noticeably Dracula-like villain. It can be read here:

The Mysterious Stranger

The volume ends with Kipling's poem "The Vampire," published in 1897 and inspired by a painting of the same name. Despite the editor's explanation that she included this work as "proof of the continuing interest in vampires," I really don't know what it's doing here. It involves metaphorical rather than literal vampirism, it's frequently reprinted and readily available elsewhere, and it can't have influenced DRACULA. More relevant examples from the 1890s would have been Phil Robinson's "The Last of the Vampires" (1893), featuring a mad scientist and a bat-winged vampiric creature, and Mary Braddon's "Good Lady Ducayne" (1896), a tale of medical detection, altered consciousness, and blood transfusion with remarkable similarities to Lucy's case in DRACULA (although published too late to have significantly influenced Stoker, it illustrates that those tropes were "in the air" at that time).

Nevertheless, this inexpensive trade paperback would be a valuable resource for any vampire-lit completist.

Margaret L. Carter

Please explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Time of the Vampires

THE TIME OF THE VAMPIRES (1996), edited by P. N. Elrod and Martin H. Greenberg, is one of many Greenberg-packaged vampire anthologies. This one, consisting of all original stories, highlights the theme of vampires throughout history. The tales appear in chronological order according to the time periods of their settings. The volume begins in ancient Greece with "A Vision of Darkness" by Lois Tilton. Susan Booth's "Scent of Blood" narrates the Roman emperor Trajan's encounter with the "not-dead" in 106 A.D. in Romania (then known as Dacia). Two pieces center on the Arthurian mythos, "The Gift," by Teresa Patterson, and "Oaths," by Bradley H. Sinor. Elrod's own contribution, "The Devil's Mark," depicts a seventeenth-century witch hunt. Tanya Huff places Henry Fitzroy, the star of her vampire novels, in the nineteenth century in her lighter-toned "What Manner of Man." Several of this story's secondary characters bear the names of classic fictional vampires, confusing and a bit disappointing as it becomes clear they aren't vampires at all; the author has indulged in mere allusion-dropping. Some other stories feature Henry VIII, Napoleon, and the notorious early-twentieth-century preacher Aimee Semple McPherson. Another notable entry, "The Ghost of St. Mark's," by Elaine Bergstrom, links her Austra vampire clan with the London blitz.

Each story is followed by the author's brief explanation of its historical background or what inspired him or her to choose that setting.

Disclosure: I have a story in this anthology, "Voice from the Void." Set in England in 1897, it stars Claude, one of my recurring vampire characters, as he interferes in a seance to liberate a lovely young psychic from her uncle, who uses her in his spiritualist racket. An actor who "hides in plain sight" by playing horror roles, Claude features as a major participant in CHILD OF TWILIGHT (sequel to DARK CHANGELING but able to be read on its own):

Child of Twilight

Margaret L. Carter

Explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Love Bite

LOVE BITE (1994), by Sherry Gottlieb, features a solitary vampire looking for a mate. Risha Cardigan, nicknamed Rusty, was converted in 1969 by a 300-year-old vampire, Gregor, who eventually committed suicide. Gottlieb's vampire mythos includes an unusual twist on the effect of sunlight. It doesn't destroy vampires in itself; however, it instantly advances them to their true ages. For most, that equals annihilation. As far as Rusty knows, she is the only remaining vampire. Transformation in this novel can't happen by accident. It's a deliberate choice and a lengthy, hazardous process. Rusty works as a photographer in Los Angeles and lives alone except for her long-time, devoted human servant, Elliott. Among many other tasks, he does her hair and makeup for her because of her lack of a reflection. Succumbing to loneliness, she places a personal ad: "What would you do to live happily ever after? Mythical creature seeks mate who can believe." In between winnowing the replies and meeting likely candidates, she continues her usual feeding habits, which result in two or three dead bodies per week. She slashes the victims' throats with a knife to disguise the bite marks. When one of her dates has to be killed, the connection threatens to lead the police to her.

The other principal viewpoint character, homicide detective Jace Levy, investigates the serial killing spree and gets acquainted with Rusty, whom he knows as Risha (so he doesn't immediately link her with the personal ad). A strong attraction develops between them. Jace, meanwhile, has started showing early symptoms of Huntington's disease, which killed his mother. The experienced vampire fan can easily guess where this relationship is destined to go.

The reader is clearly meant to sympathize with Rusty, and she's an entertaining, attractive character—except for her habit of serial murder. This moral dissonance becomes obvious as soon as one stops to think about it. Good cop Jace's reaction to discovering the truth about her is particularly jarring. A couple of points that call into question the logic of the plot, in my opinion: Why does she kill whenever she feeds, anyway? We're told that a single feeding drains at least half the blood in an adult body, often more, hence the victim's inevitable death. Three or more quarts of blood going into a human-size stomach in a few minutes' time? A vampire is a corporeal being, after all, and the book doesn't offer any magical explanation for this phenomenon. I have the same problem with a lot of "gasp, the body was completely drained of blood!" vampire fiction. Furthermore, if she's resided in the same area for years, regularly leaving throat-slashed corpses around, why is the police department just noticing them now?

At the time of the book's publication, Gottlieb lived in southern California, and for many years she owned the Change of Hobbit bookstore. LOVE BITE displays her intimate knowledge of the Los Angeles setting. Pop culture references pepper the text (including a mention of Ellen Datlow's vampire anthology A WHISPER OF BLOOD), and there's even a cameo appearance by Ray Bradbury. The novel was adapted as a TV movie (which, as far as I can find, isn't available on DVD).

Margaret L. Carter

Explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Barnabas Collins

"Marilyn Ross" (a pseudonym for Canadian author Dan Ross) wrote thirty-two DARK SHADOWS tie-in paperback novels, all published in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The sixth, BARNABAS COLLINS (1968), was the first to feature the iconic vampire. Every subsequent book in this series included his name in the title. The Barnabas paperbacks were original stories, not adaptations of TV episodes. In BARNABAS COLLINS, he still plays the role of villain or at best antihero, only becoming the "good guy vampire" we know and love in later books. After a framing prologue that consists of a conversation between Victoria Winters and Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, in which Elizabeth reminisces about her grandmother Margaret Collins, the main story takes place in the early twentieth century with Margaret as protagonist.

While her slightly older and rather stern husband, Jonas, immerses himself in the family's struggling shipping business, Margaret strives to keep the household functioning with a small staff and devotes herself to her sheltered daughter, Greta. Beautiful except for her "malformed" legs, the result of a birth defect, Greta is confined to a wheelchair. When "Cousin Barnabas" rents the Old House, she is instantly fascinated by his kindness and gallant manners. Barnabas, of course, visits only after dark, claiming to be busy with "experiments" during the day. He tells Margaret and her family the tragic history of his "ancestor" and the doomed Josette, and as he does with Maggie in the TV series, he becomes fixated on a supposed resemblance between Josette and Greta. We later learn that he indulges his obsession by hypnotizing one of the maids to play-act the role of his lost love. Jonas resents his daughter's idolization of Barnabas, but at first Margaret approves of the seemingly innocent happiness their broodingly handsome "cousin" gives her. Margaret of course has no reason to connect Barnabas with a large bat that invades her bedroom, although the reader can easily guess its true identity. The maids grow weak, get strange marks on their necks, and wander in the night without remembering they've left their beds. In short, the characters find themselves in a typical Gothic vampire novel.

Several years pass, while Greta's health declines even as she becomes more enchanted with Barnabas, and Margaret slowly comes to realize the truth about him. This novel portrays him as a Byronic villain-hero, charming and seductive but still ruthless in the pursuit of his desires. He has no compunctions about killing victims who hold no significance for him. For Greta, on the other hand, he seems to feel genuine love, or at least what passes for love in his mind at this point in his existence. Although we know he won't get destroyed, because he has to survive and show up at Collinwood as another "Cousin Barnabas" in the 1960s, the story offers plenty of suspense along the way.

Granted that this book and the others in the series are far from deathless (unlike their immortal vampire hero) literature, most fans of DARK SHADOWS would find them to be fun, nostalgic reads.

Margaret L. Carter

Explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

Monday, August 15, 2016

The House of Dracula

The late British author R. Chetwynd-Hayes is noted for his fiction about vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures, horror seasoned with dashes of dry humor that lend an ironic distance to the horrific events. Very prolific, he produced dozens of novels and short-story collections. His THE MONSTER CLUB (1975) was made into a movie starring Vincent Price and John Carradine. He takes an eccentric approach to the traditional motifs within his unique mythos. THE HOUSE OF DRACULA (1987) provides a delightfully ghoulish glimpse into his world and helpfully includes a "Draculain Genealogical Table" listing the children of Count Dracula (slain in 1896, as per Stoker's novel) by his three vampire wives and laying out the way inheritance of supernatural traits works in Chetwynd-Hayes's fiction.

His vampires can transform people into vampires (rarely) but appear to comprise a separate species in themselves. They can reproduce with ordinary humans ("Humes"), and each type of crossbreed has a different name, depending on the number of generations distant from the pure-blooded ancestor and the amount of vampire DNA in the mix -- in descending order, Vamlings, Mocks, Shadmocks, Maddies, Shaddies, Mongrels, and the lowest, Madvams ("the pack"), who resemble humanoid dogs. Each hybrid subspecies has its own paranormal power that makes it a terrifying threat to hapless humans who stumble into the preternatural realm.

THE HOUSE OF DRACULA ties into his other fiction but easily stands on its own. The stories contained in this book are framed as a compilation of unearthed documents about some of the descendants of Dracula (a follow-up to the author's 1986 collection, DRACULA'S CHILDREN). The contents: "Caroline": An eight-year-old boy, Simon, child of a merry widow who practically ignores him, meets a "night mummy" who comes from the half-ruined mansion next door and lures him into a nocturnal world where his latent powers unfold. Even before Simon meets the vampire Lady Caroline, he instinctively knows how to kill by "looking dead" at a barking dog. From Lady Caroline he learns his true origin and destiny. The first half of this story is told in the third person from various viewpoints. The second half is narrated in first person by George, the weak, somewhat dimwitted, but loyal suitor of Simon's mother; he comes across as a P. G. Wodehouse character trapped in a Hammer film. "Marikova": The humdrum, self-indulgent life of Derek Wallis, a reclusive, forty-year-old bachelor, is turned upside down when a beautiful woman in distress turns up at his door. He falls in love with Marikova despite her eccentricities. A vampire in flight from witch-hunters centuries in the past, she "time-jumped" and ended up in his neighborhood. When representatives of her father, a powerful vampire lord, come to "rescue" her, they insist Derek must die to prevent his exposing their kind's existence. Marikova persuades them to allow Derek the traditional twenty-four-hour head start before sending the pack to "absorb" him. "Karl": In the form of a tape-recorded diary, this tale narrates wheelchair-bound young woman Veronica's affair with Karl, who promises to make her walk again if she yields herself to him. Driven by hatred of all men (a vengeful reaction to an earlier disastrous relationship), she helps vampire-hunters capture Karl, only to have second thoughts. "Gilbert": William Wildeforce, a retired soldier, finds a comatose teenage boy in a secret room of the cellar below his house. When Wildeforce awakens the boy, Gilbert gives an account of his background and age that sounds like an outrageous lie or a delusion. When the evidence of Gilbert's true nature becomes impossible to deny, Wildeforce struggles with the choice of whether to continue sheltering the "boy" or betray him to a bounty hunter. "Louis": This final piece, in epistolary format as an exchange of letters between Hilda, on holiday at a seaside resort, and Liza, her friend back home, has little or no humor to lighten its quietly horrific events. When Hilda becomes enthralled by Louis, the titular vampire, his power gradually draws her ever further from the mundane world into an alternate realm where no one can reach her.

An omnibus volume called THE VAMPIRE STORIES OF R. CHETWYND-HAYES, published in 1997, is available at a very reasonable price in trade paperback.

Margaret L. Carter

Carter's Crypt

Friday, July 15, 2016

Prince of Dreams

Nicholas Gale, the nonhuman hero of Susan Krinard's PRINCE OF DREAMS (1995), is a member of a different species and a psychic vampire, feeding on the energy of dreams. His extrasensory power makes possible a deeply erotic intimacy with the heroine, psychologist Diana Ransom. Fearful of draining her energy to a harmful or fatal degree, he carefully ensures that the dream embraces they share have only a positive effect on her. In addition to the care he takes with his donors, only "skimming" their life-force and granting them consolation or pleasure in dreams, he's a philanthropist, a patron of the arts. This novel offers an early example of the now-familiar trope of a pair of vampire brothers, one good and one evil. Nicholas and his brother, Adrian, are the last of their kind. A totally destructive energy-vampire, Adrian disdains Nicholas's scruples about repaying human donors with comfort and peace. Because Adrian has no compunctions about draining his victims to death, his lifestyle, as with many similarly ruthless vampires in fiction, gives him an advantage in power over Nicholas.

In the prologue, set in 1891, Nicholas clashes with Adrian over Sarah, a woman he cared for, whom Adrian destroyed by completely draining her through sex (the reason why Nicholas confines his intimacy with his donors to their dreams). Nicholas chains and imprisons his brother in a cave in California. In the present day, Diana has recurring nightmares about the death of her sister, Clare, involving a sinister, vampire-like figure. Keely, her young cousin, an artist, disappears. In searching for her, Diana becomes acquainted with Nicholas, Keely's anonymous patron. Eventually, Nicholas discovers that Adrian has escaped. The "evil"—or at least deeply flawed—brother preyed on Clare and Keely and pursues Diana because they're descendants of Sarah. The remote possibility that Sarah's bloodline might hold a chance of mortality for their kind appeals to Nicholas and enrages Adrian. Nicholas is a rare example of an other-species vampire who wants to become human. Together, Diana and Nicholas become so powerful they can enter a dream world together and even pull an unwilling Adrian in with them.

Coincidentally, PRINCE OF DREAMS came out around the same time as Jasmine Cresswell's PRINCE OF THE NIGHT (1995) and Christine Feehan's DARK PRINCE (1999), all three titles framing vampires as aristocrats. Because the male belongs to a superior species (emphasized by the word "Prince"), the pairing conforms to the traditional relationship model of many older romances—dominant, protective male and protected, rescued female. In each case, the balance of power is restored because the vampire needs his human beloved for more than nourishment. In Diana, Krinard's Nicholas finds love, an end to loneliness, and deliverance from the pain of being the last of his race. She also delivers Nicholas from the guilt he suffers because of his need to drain energy from unsuspecting mortals. He fears his kind have become almost extinct because they "were never meant to live on this earth" and were an "affront against nature." Diana reassures him that his people have repaid humanity by using dreams to inspire "great artists and thinkers" through the ages.

By the way, few prospective readers would recognize this novel as a vampire romance from a glance at the original cover (shown above), with a half-naked man on horseback in the moonlight, even though this illustration does reflect the setting of the prologue.

Margaret L. Carter

Explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.