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Darker Jewels: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain Paperback – January 15, 1995


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Darker Jewels: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain + Better in the Dark: A Novel of Count Saint-Germain + Mansions of Darkness: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain (St. Germain)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books (January 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312890311
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312890315
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In her rich and complex tale of the further wanderings of the immortal vampire known as Ferenc Rakoczy, Hrabia (Count) Saint-Germain, Yarbro ( Ariosto ) brings to vivid life the dark and bloody 16th-century court of Ivan IV or, more commonly, Ivan the Terrible. In an attempt to gain Russian aid in the war against the Turks, the Polish king Istvan Bathory sends Rakoczy to Moscovy, hoping the count's alchemical skill will win over the half-crazed czar. Despite Russian xenophobia and almost hysterical efforts to discredit him by his fellow envoy, Jesuit Father Casimir Pogner, Rakoczy initially advances in his objective, even marrying a Russian noblewoman at the czar's behest. After Ivan's death, however, the count finds himself in the midst of fierce intrigues over control of the feeble-minded czarevitch Feodor due to his friendship with the half-Tartar regent Boris Godunov. Underlying this absorbing and historically accurate work is a deep melancholy, reflecting both the immortal vampire's lost past and the tortured workings of the Russian soul.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Yarbro's protagonist, Ferenc Rakoczy--the Count Saint-Germain--is a sympathetic vampire, not a monster. He resembles other recent portrayals of vampires as urbane, cultured gentlemen persecuted by society because of their "blood." They also have a great deal of sex appeal, and their victimization of women is as much sexual as parasitic. Yarbro's newest book about the Count, part of a series that includes Out of the House of Life ( LJ 11/15/90), Blood Games ( LJ 2/1/80), and Hotel Transylvania ( LJ 11/15/78), is set in Russia during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. At this time, the country is extremely distrustful of strangers from the West, who arrive seeking trade opportunities. The czar dominates all aspects of daily life, even forcing the Count to marry a local girl. Throughout this adventure, the Count maintains his appearance as a civilized gentleman, despite the minor slights and great cruelties visited upon him. He is an endearing character, and this entertaining read is recommended for most public libraries.
- Kathy Armendt Sorci, ITT Research Inst., Annapolis, Md.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

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Darker Jewels is a historical novel featuring a vampire.
R. Kelly Wagner
If you are familiar with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain books, then you will once again marvel at the historical setting of this tale.
Jon Weber
Also as usual, her plot is excellent and her main characters are a delight.
James Yanni

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Yarbro gives yet another winning tale of Saint-Germain for all his loyal followers. Set in the Russia of Ivan the Terrible, Yarbro has done meticulous research to bring the ideas and period to life. Saint-Germain finds his one and only wife, a surprise to all who know the Count and his reclusive ways. His first book as a diplomat, it is beautifully written and looks deep into the minds and hearts of fifteenth century Russia. One of her best to date.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
I first picked up this book because it was set in pre-revolutionary Russia (which I love). It looked mildly interesting, and I was facing a long ferry ride. Did I ever get the surprise of my life! I have never been a big fan of vampire fiction, but after I read this book I couldn't get enough of it! The Count is a fascinating character, the historical plot is real, something readers can relate to and understand, and I cried my eyes out at the end. I have since read every single Chelsea Quinn Yarbro book in my library (hint: try 'False Dawn,' it's amazing)and have branched out into other authors like P. N. Elrod, L. J. Smith and Anne Rice....but the Count remains an old favorite.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
In 1586 Count St. Germain is sent as head of an embassy to the Russian court of Ivan the Terrible. Although he is a reluctant participant and aware of the political and power-hungry jealousies around him, St. Germain does his best to fulfill his mission, even making the "dark jewels" that seem to calm the mad Tsar's mind. As a "reward" he is ordered by the Tsar to marry a terrified young woman with a tragic past. Slowly and gently, St. Germain gains her trust. (Their scenes together are both humorous and tenderly erotic.) Despite the jealous hatred surrounding him in the dark mediveal Russian court, St. Germain also makes a few loyal friends who come to his rescue when he is finally ensnared by his enemies and horrifically tortured. The descriptions of life in mediveal Russia are well drawn and the story compellingly told.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Yanni on February 7, 2003
Format: Paperback
Or eighth, if you count "Out of the House of Life", which is primarily a book about Madeline de Montalia, but includes some of Saint-Germain's history. Or eleventh, if you also include "A Flame In Byzantium", "Crusader's Torch", and "A Candle For d'Artagnan", which are almost entirely about Olivia Atta Clemens, and therefore properly a spinoff series of their own.
The series to date (the date of the writing of this book, not the writing of this review) is: "Hotel Transylvania", set in the mid seventeen hundreds in France; "The Palace", set in Florentine Italy in the time of Botticelli; "Blood Games", set in the imperial Rome of Nero (and slightly beyond); "Path of the Eclipse", set around 1200, in China, India, and the middle east; "Tempting Fate", set in Germany between the twentieth century's world wars; "The Saint-Germain Chronicles", a collection of short stories set from 1880-1981; the aforementioned "Olivia" trilogy (Olivia was Saint-Germain's love interest in the book "Blood Games") set respectively in 6th century Byzantium, late 12th century Europe, and 17th century France; the aforementioned "Out of the House of Life", which features Madeline (the love-interest from "Hotel Transylvania") in early 19th century Egypt, with occasional flashbacks to Saint-Germain's days in ancient Egypt, circa 1000 B.C.E.; and this book, in many ways the best of the lot.
This book is set in late 16th century Russia, during the reign of Ivan IV (The Terrible) and that of his son, Feodor. As usual, Yarbro's historical research is impressive; I'm not sufficiently educated on the subject to vouch for any of her books' history, but it certainly feels right, and meshes with what little I DO know from other sources. Also as usual, her plot is excellent and her main characters are a delight.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jon Weber on July 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one remarkable book delving in and around the times of Ivan IV of Russia in the late 1500's. Ferenc Rakoczy, (the Count Saint-Germain) is sent with an embassy of priests representing King King Istvan Bathory of Poland. Their mission is to ally the two countries for future attempts of invasion of the Turks. The Russian Czar is feared to have become mentally unstable after the death of his son and both the Russians and Poles fear the potential dangers this could create.
If you are familiar with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain books, then you will once again marvel at the historical setting of this tale. One can't help but get absorbed into the life, the struggles, and sorrow of the times.
Ferenc Rakoczy, the close to 4,000 year old Vampire, blends in very well into the development of the story as he is not like Vampires that you'll find in other books. As he is described in this book: "All that death had given him was durability and strength far beyond that of the truly living, a degree of control over animals, superior night vision, and one specific thirst. The rest - the skills, the learning, the music, the compassion - he had acquired for himself in many long years and painful lessons".
This book does an excellent job at depicting the political and religious unrest of the times, the influence of the various European countries, the Orthodox and Roman Catholics, and the Turks. It's easy to get mesmerized with the story as it unfolds. Not only do you get an exceptional novel with a compassionate Vampire, but you are left with a history lesson you may never had the opportunity to discover.
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