Saturday, September 23, 2006

Roman Dusk - Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Roman Dusk
A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Horror / Vampire / Historical

No good deed goes unpunished. It’s the third century, A.D., and Saint-Germain, known in this time as Ragoczy Germainus Sanct-Franciscus, is residing in his villa outside the walls of Rome. Since he is a Foreigner, there are different laws that apply to him in Rome. It seems that soon, the crumbling Roman Empire may be empowered to seize his villa and lands. But his current concern is serving as a witness as his friend Septimus Desiderius Vulpius signs the documents needed to finalize his late uncle’s will. Corruption is rampant, and officials are always looking for ways to line their own pockets. In this case, Batsho, the official overseeing what should have been an ordinary transaction seems to take particular notice of Sanct-Franciscus.

His suspicions aroused, Batsho goes so far as to hide a spy within the household of Sanct-Franciscus. Although he has no idea of Sanct-Franciscus’ true vampiric nature, this poses a grave threat. Batsho has hopes of charging the Foreigner with failing to pay taxes and possibly treason. As punishment, Sanct-Franciscus could be burned to death. Not even a vampire can survive immolation. Adding to the danger, two opposing, but equally fanatical, early Christian sects begin to pose a real threat to those who continue to worship the many gods and goddesses of Rome. Sanct-Franciscus must not only manage to save himself from death by fire, he must also somehow remove his friends from the same threats.

Ms. Yarbro excels at historical research, and these novels can be read and enjoyed as historical novels with paranormal elements, or as paranormal/horror novels set in historical times. Either one is more than a worthwhile endeavor. This meticulous attention to detail allows the reader to get a real feel for what life was like during the final days of the Empire. The lyrical language and formal speech cadences complete the historical feel. Saint-Germain, or Sanct-Franciscus, as he is called here, remains a lonely, tragic, but ultimately sympathetic figure, moving through centuries more or less alone. Highly recommended.

Rating: 9
September 2006
ISBN# 0-765-31391-X


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