I was surprised when I finished this book to realise it was a fantasy masterwork rather than a sci fi masterwork, if anything it bares striking similarities to "I Am Legend", at least in its portrayal of vampires as something other than reanimated corpses or cursed undead.
While the existence of vampires, their possible reconciliation with mankind or continued existence as predators with dillusions of grandeur or supremacy, is essential to the plot it is also a spellbinding tale about Abner Marsh, unlikely and accidential hero, man of his word, riverboat captain and in some ways "everyman".
Marsh doesnt have any strong opinions about slavery, politics, things of that nature but his direct encounters with the vampires, experiencing debates about superiority and inferiority between mankind and the vampiric other he thinks again about slavery in the run up to what becomes the American civil war.
The Fevre Dream is the name of Marsh's riverboat which he gets as part of a deal with a strange nocturnal mysteryman, it is a dream realised for Marsh and becomes something of an obsession and before the book is concluded the reader is reminded and given cause to reflect in the most brilliant way. Other reviews have rightly considered have a lot to do with friendship (anyone who enjoyed The Changing Seasons, The Shawshank Redemption and The Body/Stand by Me would appreciate this book) but its also about dreams, Marsh's riverboat dream across his lifetime, the dreams and leitmotifs of the other characters, dark and light.
This book proved to be compelling, the pace is perfect, the descriptions exacting and never over done, I'm confident that if you give over the time to reading it you'll find it rewarding. One of those rare books which when you're finished you can say you didnt just read it, you "lived it".
Read this years ago. Felt the need to re-read because, although I couldn't remember the story v.well, just knew it had made a lasting impression and was good.. So glad to find it on Amazon. It was like reading from new all over again, one of those 'can't put down' books. Strong characters, intense, moving story. So well written. Lots of lovely detail about the world of river life and paddle steamers too, you sort of imagine you're there amongst them all (hoping you don't bump into the 'you know whats'). Don't normally read vampire lit. any more. Seen the films, been there, done that etc. This was altogether different and very clever. Felt real loss when I'd finished it. Is now patiently waiting in my bedside table drawer - till next time! George RR Martin had a winner with this one. Fully Recommend
When you pick up a novel by a famous author, it's hard not to have preconceptions about the style and subject, so having read (and watched) the entire Game of Thrones series I expected another epic world in Fevre Dream. Written 14 years before Game of Thrones, this was actually his first fantasy novel and is a marked departure from his earlier science fiction books.
Instead of spanning continents, Fevre Dreams is contained in one small stretch of river in the deep south of America. The descriptions of the setting are, however, every bit as evocative as "the Wall" and "Kings Landing": you can feel and breathe the heat, humidity and closeness.
Instead of competing dynasties, the novel is focused on two men, closely following their dreams and troubles over the years and into old age.
And instead of a wide cast of high profile lords, ladies and warriors, the lead character is an ordinary working man. His emotions are so vividly described that it's impossible not to feel every high and low along with him.
This is a brilliant and original book, far more thought provoking than most fantasy genre novels that I have read.