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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's epic of the vampire Ragoczy, the Count Saint-Germain (including Mansions of Darkness, Darker Jewels, and Writ in Blood) has slowly gathered a dedicated readership, while each installment has garnered increasing critical praise. For new readers, Blood Roses is perhaps the most accessible in the series. In 14th-century France, Saint-Germain is caught amidst the devastation of the Black Plague. Though he is unaffected by the disease, his resistance draws the suspicion of each new town he visits--even as he uses ancient Egyptian healing techniques to save lives. Yarbro's impressive novel offers the flavor of the late Middle Ages while flawlessly integrating the elements of horror and the supernatural that mark this eloquent series. One wonders, for example, if the letters and documents that Yarbro integrates into the text are embellishments of the real. But, as with all the Saint-Germain novels, the most satisfying aspect of the narrative is the author's complex rendering of her central character. With the exception of Anne Rice, few writers have as effectively captured the wearied soul of a being living through the great expanse of human history. --Patrick O'Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

As an exiled foreigner living in the village of Orgon in the midst of 14th-century France, the 3000-year-old vampire Saint-Germain (Mansions of Darkness, etc.) has enough trouble at the best of times convincing the locals that his unusual habits and interests are no threat. It's bad enough to be a man of culture and learning during the Dark Ages without being thought a minion of Satan. Yet even the purest motives aren't enough to withstand the suspicion of the church when Saint-Germain uses his medical skills to heal the Vidame Saint Joachim of a wound no other healer has been able to diagnose. When the church accuses Saint-Germain of helping to spread the plague, the vampire is forced to flee as his lands and goods are seized. In the disguise of an itinerant jongleur, he finds himself attached to a noble house where his learning and sympathetic manner make him first confidant, then secret lover of the Lady Huegenet. Yarbro moves her story along swiftly, filling each page with the period detail for which her work has become known. As is also customary with her writings, the well-told tale is less about vampirism than about the texture of life during a pivotal moment in time long past. Agent, Donald Maass.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: St. Germain (Book 11)
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (October 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312872488
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312872489
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,279,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A professional writer for more than forty years, Yarbro has sold over eighty books, more than seventy works of short fiction, and more than three dozen essays, introductions, and reviews. She also composes serious music. Her first professional writing - in 1961-2 - was as a playwright for a now long-defunct children's theater company. By the mid-60s she had switched to writing stories and hasn't stopped yet.

After leaving college in 1963 and until she became a full-time writer in 1970, she worked as a demographic cartographer, and still often drafts maps for her books, and occasionally for the books of other writers.

She has a large reference library with books on a wide range of subjects, everything from food and fashion to weapons and trade routes to religion and law. She is constantly adding to it as part of her on-going fascination with history and culture; she reads incessantly, searching for interesting people and places that might provide fodder for stories.

In 1997 the Transylvanian Society of Dracula bestowed a literary knighthood on Yarbro, and in 2003 the World Horror Association presented her with a Grand Master award. In 2006 the International Horror Guild enrolled her among their Living Legends, the first woman to be so honored; the Horror Writers Association gave her a Life Achievement Award in 2009.

A skeptical occultist for forty years, she has studied everything from alchemy to zoomancy, and in the late 1970s worked occasionally as a professional tarot card reader and palmist at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco.

She has two domestic accomplishments: she is a good cook and an experienced seamstress. The rest is catch-as-catch-can.

Divorced, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area - with two cats: the irrepressible Butterscotch and Crumpet, the Gang of Two. When not busy writing, she enjoys the symphony or opera.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 17 customer reviews
If you like to read historical fiction, you will be thrilled to find any of these books!
jwalter@capital.net
This book is set in the mid-1300s at the time of the first wave of the Black Plague to sweep through Europe.
James Yanni
Ms. Yarbro's research and attention to historical detail alone would make me read her books.
L. L. Daugherty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Kelly Wagner on January 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the series of books about the Count St. Germain, an almost-immortal vampire. Those who already know that they like vampire novels, anything at all that features a vampire, can skip this review, and likewise, those who hate the whole idea of vampires can skip it. But for those trying to decide whether or not to read more of this genre, or whether the one vampire novel you've already read was a fluke, it may help to have some ways to categorize these novels. Thus: BunRab's Standard Vampire Classification Guide. First, most authors of vampire novels approach from one of the main genres of genre fiction; thus their background may be primarily in romance, or in science fiction/fantasy, or in murder mysteries, or in horror. Second, many vampire novels come in series; knowing whether this is one of a series, and where in the series it falls, may be helpful. Then we have some particular characteristics: - Is the vampire character (or characters) a "good guy" or a "bad guy"? Or are there some of each? - Are there continuing characters besides the vampire, through the series? - Are there other types of supernatural beings besides vampires? - Can the vampire stand daylight under some circumstances, or not stand daylight at all? - Does the vampire have a few other supernatural characteristics, many other supernatural characteristics, or none other than just being a vampire? (E.g., super strength, change into an animal, turn invisible) - Does the vampire have a regular job and place in society, or is being a vampire his or her entire raison d'etre? - Does the vampire literally drink blood, or is there some other (perhaps metaphorical) method of feeding? - Is sex a major plot element, a minor plot element, or nonexistent?Read more ›
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I am a Saint-Germain junkie.
So perhaps I am not as objective as I could be. Nevertheless, I loved this book.
In Blood Roses, CQY recaptures the style that made me like her older works -- the Palace, Blood Games, and Tempting Fate. The interplay between Our Favorite Count and Roger is back up to speed in this book. Ms Yarbro managed to avoid the pitfalls of her recent works -- relying too heavily on Saint-Germain's insider jokes about "my ...life" and "those of my blood". Instead, this is a fresh book, with sparkling women characters and a long historical perspective. Her research is excellent.
If only we could get those fabulous oldies back into print -- I would pay for at least two hardcover editions of Tempting Fate -- one to keep, one to lend. And Hotel Transylvania... well, I was able to stumble across that in a used bookstore, and it is certainly good enough for re-release. And how about the Palace -- oh, what a story!
Thanks, CQY, for keeping us in Saint-Germain novels. I can't wait for the next one.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Yanni on April 23, 2003
Format: Paperback
Or twelfth, if you count "Out of the House of Life", which is primarily a spinoff novel about Madeline de Montalia (former lover and vampiric "childe" of Saint-Germain), but which does include some flashback scenes from some of Saint-Germain's early history.
Or fifteenth, if you also count "A Flame in Byzantium", "Crusader's Torch", and "A Candle For d'Artagnan", the spinoff series about Atta Olivia Clemens, an earlier lover and vampiric "childe".
This book is set in the mid-1300s at the time of the first wave of the Black Plague to sweep through Europe. The romantic interest doesn't even appear until nearly two-thirds of the way through the book, which makes for an interesting variation on a theme, as does the way that romantic interest plays out. The setting reminded me somewhat of "Narcissus and Goldmund", by Herman Hesse, a book which made an impact on me long enough ago that I'd rather not think about how long it's been; perhaps I should re-read it, as I remember very little of the details of that book.
Unlike some other reviewers, I feel that on balance, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's writing has been steadily improving as she's progressed through this series; I enjoyed the early books ("Hotel Transylvania", "The Palace", "Blood Games", "Path of the Eclipse", and "Tempting Fate", in that order, are the first five books in the series) but found the writing to be significantly less developed than they have been starting with "Darker Jewels". This book fits the same pattern, although I don't find it QUITE as enjoyable as its predecessor, "Writ In Blood".
The series is not written in chronological order; from earliest to latest historically, the series to this point would be:
1.
Read more ›
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By jwalter@capital.net on January 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Let this be a note to Tor: I read everything I can get my hands on by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, in particular the Saint Germain novels. However, I usually end up borrowing them from the library and buying them used or remaindered because I can't afford a series of $15 trade paperbacks. Please, please print these in mass media paper!
I read the Saint Germain novels because I love his loooong view of history, not because it's horror. If you like to read historical fiction, you will be thrilled to find any of these books!
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