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The Priest of Blood (Vampyricon) Mass Market Paperback – 29 Aug 2006

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; Reprint edition (29 Aug 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441013740
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441013746
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.8 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,497,188 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By zim on 11 Dec 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A must read will go for the full series. Well written
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 28 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Clegg Raises the bar for Vampire Fiction 7 Oct 2005
By Mark Justice - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Fans of Douglas Clegg's novels of contemporary horror should take note: THE PRIEST OF BLOOD is neither contemporary nor is it strictly horror. I would classify it as fantasy/alternative history with a large dollop of terror thrown in.

THE PRIEST OF BLOOD follows Aleric, a peasant boy in medieval France, who lives at the edge of a great forest filled with practitioners of an ancient religion, among other mysteries.

Aleric's existence is a harsh one-he lives in the most abject poverty with his siblings, his father has disappeared and his mother is the village whore. The only positive influence in Aleric's life is the presence of his grandfather, an old soldier who teaches the boy how to train birds and who shares with him tales of the Old Ways.

Aleric's talent with birds-particularly falcons-leads him to a position within the castle of the local Baron. There, Aleric becomes known as Falconer and falls in love with the Baron's daughter. That relationship-forbidden on many levels-leads to Falconer's conscription into military service as a soldier in a Crusade to the Holy Land, where his life will end and his afterlife will begin.

THE PRIEST OF BLOOD is the first volume in a series called THE VAMPYRICON, so it's no surprise what sort of creature Aleric becomes. What is noteworthy is how Clegg melds historical detail with the very human story of Aleric. In fact, the first half of THE PRIEST OF BLOOD is nearly devoid of supernatural elements, yet may be the most gripping writing Clegg has ever produced.

Cleggs opens the door to a number of interesting concepts here, including the nature of Vampyrism, which is different enough from the variations that have come before to keep it interesting. The inexorable march of Christianity across Europe is another theme Clegg explores, as we watch the old religions and their followers trampled under the onslaught of the one God.

THE PRIEST OF BLOOD ends on something of a cliffhanger, one which will make most readers anxious for the sequel. Grab itif you can, and join Clegg on the ground floor of what looks to be his most remarkable work yet.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
A surprisingly original take on vampire fiction 6 Jun 2009
By Angela R. Sasser - Published on
I found this book at a library sale and expected the quality of a cast-off secondhand, having never heard of Clegg's work before. Imagine my surprise when I started reading and found it to be a real page turner! Every page made me wonder "Just what on earth could happen next to this poor guy?" The suspense of an uncertain future with a hard luck character and his descent into vampirism are far less romantic and cliche than the back summary would have you believe.

This book is dark, gritty, and far more down to earth than I expected with fairly believable characters and some interesting plot twists. It's very different from other vampires books I've read with its touch of Celtic mysticism and period medieval atmosphere that make it a unique setting, though I believe Clegg could have pushed the atmosphere even more by researching and showing more specific battles of the time. Still, as a servant for the main character, it makes sense that they would not be too involved in the politics rather than the rough and tumble bloodshed of war.

As for the vampirism in this novel, it's not so much erotic as it is animalistic, a pleasant change from stereotypical dark vampire behavior. There is a level of eroticism to this book, but nowhere near the level of something more purposefully erotic like the Kushiel series. The vampires in this universe seem much more a part of the natural world with their pack mentality and distinct change from human to animalistic thinking. This characterization seems inconsistent at times, but I trust Clegg will explain such things in the later additions to this series.

Despite some rather awkward moments of digression in the narrative and strange metaphors alluding to barbed cat phalli, I found this book to be highly entertaining and will be looking up the rest in the series.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Clegg could get me to read anything 2 Feb 2006
By Craig Clarke - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If anyone was going to get me to read a sword-and-sorcery tale about a vampire -- two subgenres that I feel have just about been beaten to death -- it would be Douglas Clegg. Ever since reading his short story collection, The Nightmare Chronicles (must-reading for any horror fan, especially any horror writer), each successive book of his has solidified his place on my list of favorite writers, even through a couple of mild disappointments (more detailed opinions can be found in those specific reviews).

Like most people, I am much more willing to be experimental with an author who has already proven himself to me, than one with whom I am mostly unfamiliar. I have previously been vocal about my dislike of medieval fantasy, so I was ready for reading The Priest of Blood to be a real test of my will, but I determined to give it the old college try. (Clegg's juggernaut marketing campaign -- involving contest prizes like cups and pens, including one shaped like a syringe filled with "blood" -- had certainly succeeded in guaranteeing that his book was at the front of my mind for several months.)

I need not have worried. Clegg's skill at entertaining with words is such that, before I reached the bottom of page four, I was fully swept up in his tale ("kept secret for more than eight hundred years"), and his terrific use of foreshadowing kept me turning the pages. By the time I got to the puzzle, my favorite part, I was turning pages at top speed.

The Priest of Blood is the story of young Aleric Atheffeld, a falconer of humble birth (Aleric's mother sells her body for food and money to support her children, none of whom share the same father) who -- through a combination of skill, innate talent, and luck (if you can call it that) -- perseveres through a series of trials involving family, love, and revenge to become the chosen one ("Maz-Sherah") of an age-old tribe of nosferatu.

Born a bastard, destined to serve not be served, Aleric is sent from the woman he loves (after a hot love scene beneath statue of Virgin Mary) to fight in the Crusades only to end up imprisoned in an ancient tower, where he has his blood drained ecstatically by the beautiful blonde Pythia. Three nights later, he awakens full of moral questions, sharper vision, and a barely satiable bloodthirst. And that is only the first half of the book.

The Priest of Blood was simply a joy to read. Though full-time childcare responsibilities kept me from ripping through it in a day, I made time for it whenever possible during every spare moment. Clegg takes the "blood-drinker" legend and adds his own surprising twists (like a limited life span) in essence creating a new mythology -- and this is only the beginning! There are at least two more books in the series planned, and I've already made space on my bookshelf next to this one for its successors. (In the meantime, Clegg is also working on an Arthurian trilogy of novels centering around Mordred, another legendary illegitimate, beginning with Mordred, Bastard Son.) Clegg's new foray into dark fantasy is better than I ever expected. Although I've read a good selection of his works prior to this one, I've never come across such lyrical description from him. It's as if The Priest of Blood has allowed his inner poet to shine through unabated.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Very good story 18 Oct 2005
By Poe - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Wow!!! This is my first Doug Clegg novel, however it will not be the last. The guy really knows how to weave a story together. I loved every bit of it. Clegg is as good a storyteller as any one that I have read. Check this book out, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. This is the kind of tale that can be read over and over again. I just ordered The Necromancer also, and I will be posting my review of it soon. Enjoy.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Clegg at the top of his form... 20 Nov 2005
By Beverly J. Rowe - Published on
Format: Hardcover
To say that it is typical Clegg wouldn't be accurate, because nothing that he has written is typical....every book is entirely different from any other that he has written. Expect the unexpected in Clegg's first fantasy novel.

Aleric Atheffelde was born to a village whore who is accused of witchcraft and summarily executed. Aleric doesn't know who his father but learned about old ways and training falcons from his grandfather. He gains employment at the royal court as a predator trainer and earns the name Falconer. He rises quickly in the court hierarchy. When his forbidden love for the Baron's daughter is discovered, he is punished by a severe beating and is sent to the Holy Land, as a conscripted soldier, to war against the Saracens. That part of the novel is a great historical read, without supernatural elements.

Then he meets arch-vampyress, Pythia, who inducts him into the vampyre clan. The other vampyres become convinced that Aleric is the one to restore their former powers, and end the decline of their kind, but he must confront the legendary Priest of Blood. Aleric and members of his new vampyre tribe travel to the legendary vampyre necropolis of Alkemara, where the Priest of Blood is king. Their hair-raising adventures with strange creatures enroute to Alkemara keep the tension high. These demon-god vampyres are a far cry from Dracula, and Clegg's unique blend of myth and history makes an intense reading experience.

I loved this novel from Bram Stoker Award winner, Douglas Clegg. You can always count on him for a story that will keep you reading all night, but with all the lights on and the doors firmly locked. The characters that Clegg creates, and the world he sets them in is vivid and feels realistic. He sets the stage well for the next volume in the Vampyricon series, with enough of a cliffhanger to make you eager to get your hands on volume two.
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