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on 14 December 2004
I've read a lot of vampire fiction, and this is without doubt the best. Shepard's slick, metaphysical tale of vampire sleuthing clearly didn't appeal to the Anne Rice loving masses, but blows her glorified romance novels away on every level. Closer in spirit to Peake than any modern vampire writer, Shepard none the less dishes up blood, sex and top-of-the-food-chain cruelty in grand measure while succeeding in the tricky juggling act of making his vampires both strange and sympathetic.
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From the first line to the last the prose is entrancing; a delicious blend of descriptive and declarative writing that superbly evokes not only the nature of the vampiric protagonists but also the fantastical Castle Banat within which this extraordinary tale unfolds. It will draw you in and, in all likelihood; you'll find yourself so hooked that you will find it difficult to extricate yourself from the almost mesmeric pull of its pages.

It's a story with seemingly disparate elements that Shepard manages, convincingly, to meld into a seamless whole: part traditional vampire lore, part whodunit, part coming of age narrative and part love story.

It's magnificent, beating recent attempts to add to the gothic canon into `that' hat!
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on 2 February 2012
The myth of the vampire entirely revisited. A black castle in transsylvania, long bloody fangs, dark cloaks, you got it. L Sheppard manages to create a full consistent (though fictionnal) world, with rules, rites and punishments. the reader follows a fresh vampire lost by century old customs, who gets manipulated, seduced, tricked by fellow vampires as wicked in their social relations as they are cruel and ruthless towards humans. the plot stands well and never cease to amaze. There are no loosy parts, every detail counts, This is where a great book differs from just an ordinary one.
Just too bad that no sequel came after the Golden.
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on 1 February 2016
when every reviewer is giving the book 5 stars there's a reason - there are some books which you would like to shout about to the rooftops - and this is definitely one of those. Given the huge flood of vampire / horror novels always coming onto the market it becomes more and more a crying shame that one of the best is so little known. It would comfortably sit within my list of top 20 sci fi books ever - and probably in the top ten.

If only Lucius Shepard had written a sequel to this
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on 1 March 2000
It has everything: Sherlock Holmes style detective work, horror steeped on horror, despair, triumph, an anti-hero. What more can any true horror fan want? Shepard paints a vivid picture of true terror and a huge smear of horror which will keep you up nights and nights. You'll come back to this book again and again. Forget Salem's Lot, this is a vampire novel with vampires at the top of the food-chain, spitting and kicking peasants in the face.
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on 1 March 2000
It has everything: Sherlock Holmes style detective work, horror steeped on horror, despair, triumph, an anti-hero. What more can any true horror fan want? Shepard paints a vivid picture of true terror and a huge smear of horror which will keep you up nights and nights. You'll come back to this book again and again. Forget Salem's Lot, this is a vampire novel with vampires at the top of the food-chain, spitting and kicking peasants in the face.
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