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on 21 March 2000
I have been the proud owner of a hardback copy of The Children Of The Night for almost ten years and still go back to read it again and again. The story is set in the modern day and uses historically accurate accounts (told in the first person) of the infamous Vlad Tepes aka Dracula. It is the ideal starting point for any reader who is interested in the 15th century ruler, both captivating and disgusting in the true accounts of his escapades, though still addictive. The story is basically thus- an American, Kate Neuman while working in a Romanian orphanage, adopts a sick child with a seemingly unknown and incurable disease. After extensive trouble with corrupt authorities she gets him back to America for treatment and begins to personally investigate his disease only to have him snatched in the dead of night and her lab destroyed, her workmates and ex-husband murdered. She enbarks on a perillous journey, using gypsies and criminals to aid her covert re-entry into Romania in a bid to reclaim her adoptive child with explosive results. I wont spoil it by telling you the ending. You'll just have to read the book to find out.
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Dan Simmons is simply a wonderful writer. In this unusual horror/thriller, the author combines the miracle of modern medical technology with the legend of Count Dracula, also known as Vlad the Impaler. Well-written and well-researched, the book provides a page turning, interesting twist to traditional vampire lore.

Amidst the desolation of post Ceausescu Romania, orphans are left to rot in state run institutions that are little more than places for them to die a slow, lingering death. An eminent American doctor, research hematologist Kate Neuman, becomes enamored of one little baby boy with an unusual medical condition that she feels can only be addressed in the United States. So, she impulsively adopts him, names him Joshua, and leaves the country with the assistance of a Franciscan priest, Michael O'Rourke.

Once ensconced back in the United States, Kate discovers something about Joshua's condition that provides a medical explanation for the Vampire legends of old. He has a rare genetic mutation that requires periodic blood transfusions for him to live. This condition, however, may also provide the key to cure a host of immunological diseases. Someone or something, however, wants the baby back in Romania and will stop at nothing to get him. For Joshua is a very special little baby, indeed.

The author is brilliant in his description of post communist Romania, A desolate, dreary apparatchik of Soviet demagoguery, one feels the oppression that permeates this Eastern European country. There is a miasma over it that reeks of something evil and powerful. The descriptive language used by the author is quite evocative, making the book highly atmospheric. Although the action at the end of the book may strain credulity at times, it does not diminish the enjoyment the reader will derive from reading this book. On the contrary, it will keep the reader riveted to its pages.
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on 30 August 2004
Pure gold.
If you like your fiction peppered with reality and grit, a healthy dose of real, believable, true science and of course horror then you can do better than this.
This book is Simmons best, I'm not a huge SF fan and have not gotten into his more popular hyperion books, but if you like the 'old school' Simmons, horror with a damn good story you can stop looking right now.
This book weaves a link between AIDS and real vampires in such a way you finish the book forgetting its fiction and thinking well, it sits so perfectly it must be true.
Pure genius, if only Simmons could do some more in this genre that he perfects so well.
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on 27 June 2011
The most interesting aspect of this book was the author's scientific explanation of how a vampire's system deals with the ability to re-animate itself to live longer. Other than that the rest of the book turns into a B-movie type of run-around where the good guys chased after the bad guys. Simmons's book tried to straggle both lines of horror and thriller but sadly failed in the latter. In the end it grew very tedious and i almost gave up. If you want to read a great take on the vampire genre try Robert McCammon's They Thirst: an infinetly better book.
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on 26 November 2013
Excellent thriller giving a plausible scientific explanation of vampirism. The drabness and helpless mood of Romania, post Ceausescu, are convincingly portrayed.
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on 1 April 2003
The historical accounts in the book are accurate, the Romanian language,the maps, everything. If Dan Simmons did not do his research in Romania itself, you would never have guessed. This book inspired me to seek out the answers myself -- I spent two years in Romania as a Peace Corps volunteer primarily because of this novel.
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on 31 January 2015
Bought for my husband - he loved it
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