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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reissued at last, 22 Aug. 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: A Taste Of Blood Wine (Paperback)
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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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any vampire lover, 22 Jan. 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: A Taste of Blood Wine (Paperback)
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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Taste Of Blood Wine trilogy, 2 Sept. 2005
This review is from: A Taste Of Blood Wine (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising, 31 Mar. 2011
This review is from: A Taste of Blood Wine (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars twighlight for horror fans, 7 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: A Taste of Blood Wine (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars finally back in print!, 24 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: A Taste of Blood Wine (Blood 1) (Book Wine Sequence) (Paperback)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing!, 20 Jun. 2007
This review is from: A Taste of Blood Wine (Paperback)
This book was amazing, so vivid and very well written. Reading it in bed before sleep, i had to force myself to put it down, and then had to turn the light back on to carry on cz it was so clear in my mind i couldnt sleep! (then only stopped because i got distracted by reliving experiences cz of what was happening in the book)

Kristian is like lord of the vampires, he tries to control them all.

Karl, a vampire, comes to work in a science lab in Cambridge of the 1920s. He cannot help but be drawn to the professors daughter Charlotte, and the two helplessly fall in love.

But it cant work for what he is, and as his secret slips out, life becomes more dangerous for the both of them, as each others' ties bring them further away, and can there be a happily ever after for this vampire and human?
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5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining vampire novel, 30 Oct. 2013
This review is from: A Taste of Blood Wine (Blood 1) (Book Wine Sequence) (Paperback)
Freda Warrington's A Taste of Blood Wine is an excellent vampire novel. It's one of the finest vampire novels ever written. It's a modern and undisputable classic of vampire fiction.

Before I write more about this novel, I'll mention briefly that it's great that Titan Books has republished Freda Warrington's A Taste of Blood Wine, because it has been out-of-print for a long time. Titan Books will also republish the other Blood Wine novels (A Dance in Blood Velvet and The Dark Blood of Poppies) and next year they'll publish a new Blood Wine novel (The Dark Arts of Blood).

It's possible to say that A Taste of Blood Wine is almost like a combination of Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire and British quality drama series about life in the early 20th century (Brideshead Revisited etc), but this isn't a totally accurate description of the contents of this novel. It just gives you an idea what to expect from this novel. If you enjoy reading about vampires and life in the early 20th century, you're in for a real treat when you begin to read this novel.

Here's a bit of information about the story:

- The story begins on the battlefield. Karl moves around the battlefield and meets his maker, Kristian. Kristian wants Karl to return to him, but Karl doesn't want to come back. Karl defies Kristian and says that he feels nothing for him. Kristian gives Karl a chance to return to him of his own free will, but threatens to hurt those that Karl loves and leaves him alone on the battlefield.

- Karl travels to England and meets the Neville family and becomes fascinated by them. He wants to learn things from them. Dr. Neville invites Karl to join his research team.

- Charlotte, Dr. Neville's daugter, is a shy young woman who has spent her whole life avoiding attention and parties. Charlotte's life begins to change, when she meets Karl. Charlotte and Karl meet each other often and they become obsessed with each other...

That's all I'll write about the story, because I want to avoid writing too many spoilers. It wouldn't be fair to reveal everything, because the author has several surprises in store for her readers.

The characterization in this novel is excellent, because the author writes vividly about the characters. She reveals new things about the characters and their lives in an intriguing way as the story unfolds. She uses the characters to explore feelings of passion, guilt, fear and betrayal.

Here's information about some of the characters:

- Karl is a charismatic vampire who doesn't believe in God. He's an especially interesting character, because he's both caring and dangerous. He acts in his own way and takes people into consideration. I enjoyed reading about him and his past. It was fascinating to read how he became a vampire and what it did to him. Karl wants to be free of Kristian.

- Kristian is Karl's maker. He's a domineering and arrogant vampire who believes in God. He wants to control all the vampires that he has created. He doesn't like science, because it offends his religious beliefs.

- Charlotte is a shy and reserved young woman who isn't interested in social life. She doesn't want to be the centre of the attention. She only wants to help her father, Dr. Neville, with his academic research. Slowly, her life begins to change as she realizes that she has feelings for Karl.

- Fleur and Madeleine are Charlotte's sisters. They're free spirited and strong women. They're total opposites of Charlotte and aren't afraid of parties and social gatherings.

- David is Charlotte's brother and will soon be married to Anne, who's Charlotte's best friend. He was in the war and saw terrible things.

- Anne is Charlotte's best friend. Anne supports Charlotte in several ways and gives her advice. She loves David and expects him to treat her equally.

- Edward, who is David's friend, is an interesting character, because he's sensitive to certain things and can sense certain things. He has problems with his nerves, because he was in the war.

I enjoyed reading about Charlotte's slow transformation. At first she was shy, insecure and a bit unhappy. She wasn't actually in control of her own life, because her sisters and aunt had a huge influence on her. The author writes wonderfully about how Charlotte's life begins to change as she falls in love with Karl and begins to think about her life and feelings. It was great to read about how Charlotte had to deal with the problems that her love towards Karl caused her and her family.

Freda Warrington writes fantastically about the relationship between Charlotte and Kristian, and keeps things interesting by gradually deepening their relationship. Their relationship isn't an easy relationship, because Kristian's fellow vampires and Charlotte's relatives cause them problems. What makes this relationship especially difficult is that Karl is a vampire and he has to control his natural urges when he is with Charlotte. He also fears that he may cause harm to the Neville family by being near them.

It was amazing how easily the author created an erotic and seductive atmosphere and wrote about Karl and Charlotte's feelings towards each other. It was easy to believe that they truly cared for each other and wanted to be together. This seductive and erotic atmosphere reminded me a lot of the atmosphere in Anne Rice's vampire novels.

What makes this novel especially interesting is the fact Freda Warrington explores immortality, vampire life and religious beliefs within the context of romantic horror and dark fantasy. In my opinion the author writes fluently about immortality and religion - she isn't afraid of exploring what immortality and religion mean to vampires and how they feel about these things.

Freda Warrington uses the characters of Karl and Kristian to explore themes of domination, obsession and freedom. The relationship between Karl and Kristian is extremely difficult, because they're totally different kind of vampires and have different values. The conversations between Karl and Kristian are fascinating, because Karl doesn't believe in God, but Kristian does and thinks of himself as the right hand of God. They have fights and disagreements about religion and how they should their lives. Their fights always end in Karl leaving Kristian and Kristian doesn't like it, but hopes that Karl will someday come back to him of his own free will. Kristian can be seen as the lord of the vampires, because he's a powerful vampire. He is obsessed with controlling his vampires and wants them to adore and love him. If the vampire don't obey him, he punishes them cruelly and brutally.

The conversations between Karl and Kristian aren't the only interesting conversations in this novel. There are also a few other conversations that are intriguing and enjoyable. I found it interesting that Karl and Dr. Neville discussed about science and religion.

Combining social life, romance and vampire lore is difficult, but Freda Warrington has managed to do it perfectly. It's great that she paints a vivid and believable picture of England in the early 20th century. She shows to her readers how important parties, birthdays and social status were for people during that time and what kind of obligations people had.

Freda Warrington's rich prose highlights the happenings and makes the readers immerse themselves in the story. The beautiful prose flows effortlessly and beautifully as the story unfolds and several things are revealed to readers. The author's descriptions of the places, characters and happenings are excellent, and the romantic scenes are exquisitely passionate and full of erotic power.

There's wonderful originality in this novel. The vampires are capable of walking in daylight, because sunlight doesn't harm them. They can also touch crosses and visit churches etc, and they can take energy from people and drain them of their life force. It was great that turning a person to a vampire wasn't as easy as in several other novels, because more than biting was needed to transform a person into a vampire.

The Crystal Ring is an interesting and truly original invention. Only vampires are capable of accessing this dimension and they use it often to move from one place to another. Although vampires use The Crystal Ring, it can be a dangerous place for them if they stay there for too long. Reading about the Crystal Ring and the Weisskalt was interesting (I'm not going to reveal what Weisskalt is, but I'll mention that it's a place inside the Crystal Ring).

Although there's originality in this novel, good old-fashioned vampire elements are also an important part of the story. For example, the vampires need blood to survive and they can influence people with their supernatural presence (people are easily fascinated by vampires, because they think that they're beautiful and intriguing).

There may be readers out there who are interested in knowing if A Taste of Blood Wine is dark fantasy or horror, so here's information about the categorization. In my opinion A Taste of Blood Wine lies somewhere between horror and dark fantasy, because it contains elements of both genres. This novel also contains plenty of romantic elements, but it isn't paranormal romance. I think that several readers may try to categorize this novel as paranormal romance because of the romance between Charlotte and Karl, but they shouldn't do so, because this novel is a combination of dark fantasy and horror elements.

I think that A Taste of Blood Wine has been an important role model for modern vampire novels, urban fantasy novels and also for paranormal romance novels. Although this novel can be been as a role model for modern paranormal romance novels, it's in a league of its own when compared to the quality of them. A Taste of Blood Wine is totally different from paranormal romance novels, because it's a quality novel with romantic scenes and the author never lets the story sink to the low quality level of paranormal romance novels.

I enjoyed reading A Taste of Blood Wine, because it was a good and well written vampire novel. When I started to read it the story hooked me immediately and I read it as fast as I could. I'm looking forward to reading the sequels, because it'll be interesting to find out what happens in them. (I also intend to read the author's other novels.)

I can highly recommend A Taste of Blood Wine to everybody who loves vampire novels and stories, because Freda Warrington is a gifted storyteller and writes good prose. I'm sure that this novel will also appeal to readers of paranormal romance, because the author has a lush and romantic writing style that resonates with readers who are interested in romantic stories.

If you're interested in vampire novels and want to read quality, please do yourself a favour and read A Taste of Blood Wine. It'll remind you of how good, thrilling and romantic vampire novels can be. It has everything you could ever hope for from an entertaining vampire novel: horror, suspense, romance, passion, plot twists, supernatural elements and captivating storytelling. A Taste of Blood Wine is a novel that will appeal to all readers who love vampire fiction.

Excellent entertainment!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Vampire Series, 11 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: A Taste of Blood Wine (Blood 1) (Book Wine Sequence) (Paperback)
This was originally written well before everyone became obsessed with vampires. I love how this book builds the characters so well, you can believe they exist. The romance in the story feels real, not sickly sweet. A Taste of Blood Wine is a must read. Freda Warrington has an incredible imagination and her writing puts a vivid image in your mind as you read.
Even if you haven't read a vampire book before, give this one a try!
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5.0 out of 5 stars new genre for me, 13 Jun. 2014
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Fantasy novels are not what I normally read but thus book was recommended to me. I found it a real page turner, I wanted to know what happened next to both the humans and the vampire, and cared about them as the story unfolded. The main woman is well draw with a complete inner life of her win, not the vapid creature in a flimsy dress of hHollywood creations. Indeed she works in a science laboratory, which is well described. There are lovely touches of humour, and ironic references to the Vampire genre. A book for grown ups with real issues about the choices we make in life, our morals codes, and freedom.
Will defiantly read more by this author who should be wider known and recognised.
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A Taste of Blood Wine (Blood 1) (Book Wine Sequence)
A Taste of Blood Wine (Blood 1) (Book Wine Sequence) by Freda Warrington (Paperback - 3 May 2013)
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