Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Repentant

If you enjoy reading about "monsters" who transform from evil to good, or in some cases at least not-so-bad, you'd like THE REPENTANT (2003), edited by Brian M. Thomsen and Martin H. Greenberg. This compilation of thirteen original stories isn't exclusively a vampire anthology but, rather, ranges over all the most familiar types of humanoid monsters. It includes works by many major authors, such as Jody Lynn Nye, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, James Lowder, and Thomsen himself. The categories, with three or four stories in each, are: Werewolves and Witches (I'm not sure why they're lumped together, since the editors could surely have found enough items to fill two separate sections), The Dead (walking dead other than vampires), The Undead (vampires), and The Demonic (including one Lovecraftian entity). As indicated by the book's title, all the creatures in these tales are in the process of atoning for the "evil" of their existence.

The vampire section showcases works by several big names. Tanya Huff's "Sceleratus" narrates a flashback to an episode when vampire Henry Fitzroy clashed with the Inquisition in Italy. In P. N. Elrod's "Slaughter," good guy vampire Jack Fleming deals with one of his kind who gives the rest of them a bad name. "Intercession," by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, features her millennia-old character, Count Saint-Germain, in the seventeenth century. In editor Thomsen's contribution, "A Hollywood Tradition," a vampire regales a journalist with secrets behind the myths of the film industry.

Although there's no extensive editorial commentary, the anthology begins with a short general introduction, prefaces each category with a few introductory paragraphs, and provides a brief biography of each author. Lovers of monsters with consciences should make sure to check out this book.

Margaret L. Carter

Explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

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