16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
At last, a completely new and original take on vampires,
This review is from: Fevre Dream (FANTASY MASTERWORKS) (Paperback)No longer re-animated corpses possessed by demons, but a race of beings in their own right. Vampires live for centuries though they cannot survive for long in the sunlight; they are stronger and faster than humans; they possess the power to mesmerize humans into doing their bidding; and once a month, the "red thirst" comes on them, driving them to drink human blood.
One of the most powerful of these "vampires" has just become Abner Marsh's new partner. His name is Joshua York, and he needs transportation along the Mississippi (and a place to hide from the sun) so that he can search for others of his people who have fled the Old World for the New. Joshua believes he can save them: he has invented a drink that suppresses the "red thirst" thus making it possible for the "People of the Night" to live alongside humans for the first time.
But Joshua is about to find out that not all his people want to be saved. Some of them are, in fact, rather enjoying their existence as unkillable blood-drinking demons - notably the ancient, powerful bloodmaster Damon Julian, who may yet bring all Joshuas dreams for his people to a bloody end.
I've always loved vampire stories, and this one is exceptional. Comparisons with Anne Rice are, given the setting, inevitable. The rotting Louisiana swamps are a marvellous setting for any horror story. Martin conjurs up the same humid atmosphere of decay in the swamps and slums of New Orleans, contrasting it with the glittering beauty of the richer parts of the city - and, of course, the steamboats themselves - that Rice describes so vivdly; but he makes his protagonists a lot more interesting. No self-obsessed Lestat here, searching for his own personal redemption. (Or maybe not. You can never be quite sure with Lestat, can you? Anyway. I digress.)
Joshua is trying to save his entire race, searching for a way for them to live with humans before they die out - or are destroyed. Martin has created a whole mythology for the People of the Night, making them the hunted not the hunters, giving them a depth and character that far surpasses any other vampires in books or on screen. Along with some serious horror, lots of blood and the odd Byron quotation, this book becomes a story you're not likely to forget. I for one want don't want to.