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Writ in Blood: A Novel of Saint-Germain
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Tor Books, 543 pages

Writ in Blood
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
In addition to the dozen or so vampire novels of Saint-Germain and those featuring Atta Olivia Clemens, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has written a host of terrific novels over the years including Time of the Fourth Horseman (1976), Ariosto (1980), Nomads (1984), A Baroque Fable (1986) and Floating Illusions (1986). Her next novel is Sisters of the Night: The Angry Angel.

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Website
ISFDB Bibliography
Linköping SF Archive: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Thomas F. Cunningham

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Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has written a wonderful story, the only drawback being the number of words it takes to tell the story. Okay, to be fair, she is emulating a style that was popular at the end of the 19th century when the number of words the author wrote had a direct bearing on his/her payment. Some people enjoy this manner of writing, while others (like myself) find it somewhat tedious. Writ in Blood is a classic vampire story in the style of Bram Stoker's Dracula, so if you enjoy Stoker's style, you should appreciate Writ in Blood.

The story is set in pre-WWI Europe and Russia. Count Ragoczy (a.k.a. Count Saint-Germain) is living in Czar Nicholas' Russia and the Czar is deeply worried about the possibility of war breaking out. Ragoczy is drafted into special diplomatic service of the Czar. His mission will take Ragoczy to the crown courts of King Edward and Kaiser Wilhelm, plus a couple of side trips that have a direct impact on the Count's existence.

Working for the Czar in this capacity is a job filled with great personal risk to Count Ragoczy. To begin with, the Czar makes it abundantly clear that if the mission fails it will mean ruin and death for Ragoczy. The Czar has a real knack for "beating a dead horse" -- in fact, every character in the novel has this same tendency.

There are several different plots interwoven throughout the story. Weapons manufacturers and small countries looking to purchase arms could be taken out of today's headlines. There are also love interests and sub-plots involving lust and power, all revolving around the Count. In the end, the Count must protect himself and use all his skills to achieve the goals of his mission.

The characters are very well defined and developed, and the background is evoked in much detail. I learned far more than I wanted to. I offer a hearty recommendation of the story, but as for the novel, I can only recommend it with some reservations.

Copyright © 1998 by Thomas F. Cunningham

Thomas Cunningham is an independent corporate coach working in the software industry. Bad science fiction films give him a rash.


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