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Mortal Companion
Patrick Califia
Suspect Thoughts Press, 282 pages

Art: Shane Luitjens
Mortal Companion
Patrick Califia
Patrick Califia was born near Corpus Christi, Texas, the oldest of six children in a Mormon family. He is a bisexual transman and prolific author of essays, fiction, and poetry. He is also a licensed marriage and family therapist in the state of California, the divorced father of a three-year old autistic little boy, and a pagan minister through the Fellowship of the Spiral Path. He lives with a chronic pain condition, fibromyalgia.

Patrick Califia Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Alisa McCune

Mortal Companion is not for the easily offended or those who are not comfortable with explicit sex. Subtitled as "an erotic tale of love and vengeance" like no other, Mortal Companion delivers. Patrick Califia has created a world where everything is possible and nothing is taboo. This world is opened up to the reader layer by layer -- chapter by chapter -- until the final climatic end which leaves us panting and waiting for the sequel.

Mortal Companion introduces us to Ulric, a very depressed vampire. Life, as he experiences it has become drudgery. Nothing gives him pleasure -- even feeding leaves him wanting. One evening, in an unknown small town, Mary Beth Wolcott reveals herself. Ulric is immediately smitten and begins a sensual assault that Mary Beth is unable to resist. Ulric wins her heart and soul and makes her his mortal companion, renamed Lilith.

Lilith and Ulric begin a journey to San Francisco and to Ulric's past. Lilith learns how Ulric was the victim of the Germanic Knights of the Sepulcher. He was made a vampire by rape of the mind, body, and soul. This horrific beginning culminated in the rape and a feeding from Adulfa, Ulric's own half-sister. Adulfa swore vengeance on Ulric for his rape and forcing vampirism on her.

Adulfa is more then just a vampire. She began life as a shapeshifter. She is a reckless woman bent on seeking pleasure through domination of the body and mind. She has been planning her revenge against Ulric for hundreds of years and nothing will stop her. Lilith is her ticket to making Ulric pay for violating her.

Lilith and Ulric are aware of Adulfa's rage, but are so caught up within their insulated world they have a false sense of security. Ulric introduces Lilith to the BDSM community and a sex slave is born. Lilith gives herself over completely to Ulric. This trust is pivotal in what is to come.

Mortal Companion is an interesting and entertaining book. While the sex is explicit and violent at times, it has a purpose. Lilith and Ulric continuously switch roles. Neither is completely dominate over the other. It is clear that complete domination is not love, but sharing roles gives Lilith and Ulric a true, heart wrenching, undying love. While it can be argued this their undoing, it is beautiful to read of that kind of bonding. Each chapter switches character point of view effortlessly, giving the reader a voyeuristic journey. Each perspective -- male/female -- top/bottom -- draws the reader further into a San Francisco most have only heard of.

My favorite characters by far are the vampire cats; Luna, Anastasia, Charley, and Hecate. These cats guard Ulric's house in San Francisco and play a very important role in the ending of the book. Califia has created the cats with individual personalities and separates voices. Luna speaks so eloquently that her words are like poems within the book.

Copyright © 2004 Alisa McCune

Alisa discovered science fiction at the tender age of eight. She devoured The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and never looked back. She lives in Chicago with her husband, cat, and 5000 books. For more information please visit her website at

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