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4.7 out of 5 stars
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4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 22 August 2002
I'm so glad to see that this excellent trilogy is back in print, even if it is just as an import for now - hopefully whoever has the UK rights will realise what they are sitting on and make these great books available to a wider readership. Freda Warrington is one of the best and most unjustly neglected horror and fantasy writers today - surely we should be nurturing homegrown (UK) talent of this calibre?
The trilogy beginning with 'A Taste of Blood Wine' is one of the best vampire series, in my opinion bearing comparison with Anne Rice's work (although Warrington takes a very different approach). And unlike Rice, Warrington knows when to stop trying to wring out the last drops from the material (no endless sequels retreading the same ground).
'A Taste of Blood Wine' introduces the vampire Karl and his relationship with the (human) Neville family, which becomes complicated through the intervention of other, more malevolent vampires, and through his growing bond with Charlotte Neville, the underdog of the family. The story takes its time at first to build up characters and atmosphere, and then ricochets through several great plot twists before rounding off with a satisfying yet open-ended finish.
This first book could easily have stood alone, but I'm glad Warrington decided to continue - in the other two books of the trilogy ('A Dance in Blood Velvet' and 'The Dark Blood of Poppies') she introduces and develops a compelling character - the vampire/demon Lilith. Let's hope we see the rest of this trilogy reissued soon (along with most of the rest of Freda Warrington's work which is shamefully out of print).
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on 22 January 1999
If you simply adore the kind of darkly sensual vampire novels given to us by Anne Rice and her contemporaries, then you will love this book. The characters, Charlotte, the strange, lonely, yet compelling woman who falls for the gorgeously tender vampire, Karl. Kristian, the manipulative, despotic 'mad monk' of the vampire world, arrogant Pierre, fiesty Ilona, are all skillfully crafted and, in their unique and often disturbing ways, appealing. I believe that Charlotte, especially, will strike a chord with many of us who wish to see a female character that is neither a fainting, fragile, flower or a scary amazon. She is a paradox skilfully and sensitively sculpted, a real woman ! Freda Warrington is a brilliant author who deserves as much acclaim as Anne Rice among vampire afficionados and lovers of dark fantasy everywhere. Her concept of the Crystal Ring adds a particular spice to the vampire myth as well as an interesting origin theory. This is a true delight. Ignore the hokey dracula cover art (surely they could have found something better ?), and get this book. Look out for the other books in the trilogy - A Dance in Blood Velvet and The Dark Blood of Poppies. You won't regret it !
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on 24 August 2013
I read this when it was in print originally and somehow lost my copy so have been waiting patiently for it to come back into print-so very delighted that it finally is and I purchased it straightaway (and pre-ordered the next one).
A vampire novel unlike others, though reading this now I do wonder if some writers took "inspiration" from Warrington...

A true synopsis would contain too many spoilers so I will keep it brief. Karl, a vampire, becomes involved with a human family through his thirst for knowledge, and the inevitable meeting of his world with theirs has far-reaching consequences, some fatal and some rather unexpected...
Lovely writing style, story moves along nicely, no dead space or over-the-top descriptive passages here. I found myself rooting for Charlotte the main human character and thoroughly enjoyed how she grew as the book progressed.
Just an excellent book all-round, can't wait to read the rest!
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on 7 February 2012
this is the first book in a trilogy, the next two being "a dance in blood velvet" and "the dark blood of poppies", but like all 3 can be read on its own or out of sequence. despite the book covers on this series i wouldn't class these stories as primarily erotic or paranormal romance because there is far more to them than that. there is a central romance between the 2 major characters but also a plethora of other relationships (non-romantic and romantic) with the other reaccuring characters. set from the end of ww1 freda warrington offers her own take and explaination on the vampire mythology quite unique to her. don't let the time period influence you though as what's more important are the believable circumstances and fully developed characters and plot lines. if you loved anne rice's vampires you'll love these too. if you thought rice's vamps were too goth then you'll also love these as they're even more human but not in a goody goody way (this is really a horror book as well as a fantasy-thriller-drama). it's also a bit "twightlight" saga for grown-ups. just wish warrington would do another vampire series/follow-up perhaps set in a later time period (or earlier as there's definitely room for some historical/genorigins).
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on 2 September 2005
Make no mistake, this trilogy rates as the best within the vampire genre. I don't say this lightly either, especially when you consider how this sphere of fiction has been milked for all it's worth. I have been a fan of vampire fiction and lore--in print and on screen--for over 30 years. Although Anne Rice wrote 'Interview..'(which is a wonderful novel in its own right), in the 70's, I believe subsequent titles in her series have not only possibly been influenced, and are inferior to, Warrington's, but have helped to diminish the appeal of the genre by flooding the market and tinkering with the legend to the extreme. However, that said, Freda is an exception and must, at some stage, consider dipping her pen into the arena again, to show the rest how it is done so perfectly....so 'believably'. I must admit to being ignorant of Warrington's fantasy writings, and was beginning to think she was either dead or had bowed out gracefully. Time for a resurrection!
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on 26 January 2015
I enjoyed this book and am now reading the second in the trilogy. It is an interesting take on the Vampire myth - if it is a myth! In this vein I think the Scott Mariani series is better and would recommend it to readers who like this genre.
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on 25 May 2013
This story has been in my life since I was young and it is as beautiful now as it was upon first reading it; Fred Warrington has a breath taking way with words that's more like poetry than prose. The romance is elegantly paced and believable, Karl is a sympathetic character and Charlotte a well written heroine and as their worlds collide there is a great supporting cast that will allow you to utterly immerse yourself in the world of vampires and Englishmen.

I would highly recommend the book and the sequel A Dance in Blood Velvet which is very hard to find in print or extremely expensive to purchase but luckily coming to kindle soon.
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on 10 March 2014
A wonderfully imaginative take on vampirism, with beautifully observed characters and an engaging plot. The series never quite reaches these heights again. Highly recommended for any fans of intelligent vampire fiction.
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on 31 March 2011
I first read this book in my mid-teens and I have long recalled it as a book that held me completely mesmerised. I have finally read it again, more than ten years later. Would I love it as much as I did the first time? I really did.

The brief synopsis can't possibly do this book justice. It's a complex, detailed portrait of a human family, the Nevilles, and a ring of vampires; the two become dangerously tangled over the course of this book. George Neville is a scientist, with one son (a veteran of the first world war), and three daughters. The middle daughter, Charlotte, is his assistant in his scientific research - and his substitute for his dead wife, her perfect mother. This role has always smothered her, left her unable to express her true self; until she meets Karl, a vampire who is still quite able to feel all the human emotions he ought to have left behind.

Karl intends no harm at all to the Neville family; he only wants to study science. But his presence draws other vampires after him. And besides, he cannot resist Charlotte's mixture of passion and vulnerability... Their love threatens to destroy both Charlotte and her family; and none of them can escape Karl's eternal enemy, Kristian.

This beautiful book is extremely well plotted, and offers a glittering feast of complex, believable characters. But it's not only that: Freda Warrington's prose is stunning. She presents the story in sumptuous, graceful language that's as seductive as the vampires she portrays. This author is one of the greatest we have in fantasy and horror; she deserves much greater acclaim.
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on 6 January 2016
I have a very old copy of this, and bought this one for a friend. Was very gratefully received :)
Excellent twist on the vampire story. Excellent condition. immediate despatch. Can't fault anything
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