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Gehenna: The Final Night (Vampire: The Masquerade) Paperback – January 14, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From the Author

Ari Marmell has been writing more or less constantly for the past ten years, though he’s only been paid for it for the past three. (Whether that makes him determined or simply pigheaded is a matter of perspective.) He is the author of multiple roleplaying game supplements, for both the World of Darkness and everyone’s favorite fantasy game system. He likes both games very much, and doesn’t care that you don’t. Vampire: Gehenna, The Final Night is his first novel. Ari lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife George, two cats, and seven different neuroses. (If you’d like to adopt one of the neuroses, they’re looking for good homes.)

What do you say—who do you thank—in your first published novel? If Philippe gave me an entire chapter for it, I’m not sure I could say everything I want to. So, in brief, or as brief as I can, heartfelt thanks: To Ryan, Ron, Gary, both Jasons, Jamie, and Jerel, who gamed with me for many a year and encouraged me to write if that’s what I wanted to do. To my mother, Carole, for all the mother-type reasons. To my sister, Naomi, for brutal (and ultimately helpful) honesty. To my wife, George, for patience above and beyond the call. To Philippe Boulle, for encouraging what was good and helping correct what was—well, less good. To Professor Robisson (who will never see this and wouldn’t remember me anyway, but I’m doing it because I told him I would), for being honest and for being wrong.

All of these, and many more, mean more to me than I can say. But as this is my first published novel, there’s one that really needs special attention.

To my father, Howard, who taught me even from childhood that stories come from somewhere. That they don’t have to end when the credits roll or the cover closes. Without him, and the lessons he taught without (I think) ever realizing he was teaching, God knows what I’d be doing right now—but it wouldn’t be writing.

Thanks, Dad.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: White Wolf Publishing (January 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1588468550
  • ISBN-13: 978-1588468550
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #543,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

On March 22, 1974, Ari Marmell was hatched out of an egg laid by a rooster on the night of the full moon. Due a mix-up, he wound up in the infant ward at a hospital in New York, where he was claimed as a (relatively) normal human and taken home. He and his family fled New York barely a year later, either because his father received a job offer in Houston, or because they were chased by angry mobs with pitchforks; reports are unclear.

For the next 27 years, Ari lived in Houston. His father told him bedtime stories when he was in preschool and kindergarten, stories without which he might never have become a writer. He received his first roleplaying game--the red Dungeons & Dragons boxed set--at age 9, and the AD&D Players Handbook followed less than a year later. He spent very little time on class work or studies for the next, oh, 13 years, instead spending his efforts on far more important things like fighting orcs, riding dragons, and rescuing extremely beautiful princesses.

Ari went to college at the University of Houston. He began in the Psychology program, but quickly changed his major to Creative Writing. It was in the first week of class that he met his wife-to-be, who goes by the name of George. (No, it's not short for Georgia, Georgette, Georgiana, or anything else that could possibly make sense.) It was also in college that he wrote his first novel, one that he is now determined will never see the light of day, and charitably calls a "learning experience."

In short, Ari graduated in late '96, married George in March of 1997, honeymooned in New Orleans, worked several jobs he hated for the next several years, and quit the last of them in 2000 due to ongoing health issues. During this time, he wrote four more novels, two of which are actually pretty decent. It was also during this time that he managed to break into the roleplaying industry, having attracted the attention of Justin Achilli (developer of Vampire: The Masquerade) with a project submission inspired by his trip to New Orleans.

He and George moved to Austin in mid-2001 so George could attend graduate school while Ari continued to work as a freelance writer. They live there today, along with a large orange cat named Leloo and a smaller gray cat named Pippin who seems unable to grasp the notion that strings, ribbons, and plastic bags do not make up a viable part of the food chain. His first published novel, Gehenna: The Final Night, appeared on shelves in January of 2004.

Today, Ari is shifting his focus from freelancing to more fiction and novel-writing. His second novel, Agents of Artifice, was released by Wizards of the Coast in February of '09. His third novel, The Conqueror's Shadow, was released by Spectra in February 2010. (This was his first published non-tie-in novel.)

Ari's forthcoming novels include The Warlord's Legacy (Spectra, early 2011), the Goblin Corps (Pyr Books mid- to late 2011), and Household Gods (Pyr Books, 2012). You can learn more about him, and keep up with his news and release schedule, at www.mouseferatu.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on March 14, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have read most (if not all) of the narrative fiction produced for the Vampire line and this is another well-written addition to my collection.
Cainite society begins to unravel as elders grow weak and begin to feed on neonates, while thin-bloods rise to power in cities once held by the Sabbat and Camarilla. Ancient powers awaken and stalk the night, leaving behind piles of dust and stories of a scourging desert wind and a roaming darkness from the Abyss.
Certain signature characters from previous stories are brought back to face the coming Apocalypse together. Beckett, Theo Bell, Lucita, and even Anatole figure prominently throughout the book. Other notable characters are given cameos, which help to further the plot and add a bit of flavour. The rise of the Thin-bloods is interesting, in that they provide hope that there could possibly be a remnant that survives Gehenna to rebuild from the ashes of the old. This is something spoken of by Beckett, to Jenna Cross, the Last Daughter - leader of the Thinbloods.
There is one character that is introduced early in the story, who is unfamiliar, but ultimately someone very important. The process of this discovery is executed well, so it isn't until you're close to the end that the realization hits you between the eyes!
I have to agree with some of the other reviewers, in that I too, wish the story could've been expanded on and potentially stretched out into a trilogy or series (like the Eastcoast Camarilla/Sabbat War).
I recently finished reading the Brujah Trilogy, which appeared to be a prelude to this book - so I half expected to see some of the plotline and characters from the end of that story to carry over to this one - but that did not happen. It left at least ONE question left unanswered for me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Baugh on February 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
I loved this book. The action is exciting, the characterizations are engaging and plausible, and the air of tragedy and of struggle for some final meaning is palpable. The story here fully captures Vampires' great themes of individuals caught in schemes altogether beyond their control, attempting to justify an existence anchored in ancient evil and requiring fresh harm to the world every time they feed, and no longer tolerated by the God whose anger made them in the first place. I finished the last section profoundly moved, just as I'd hoped for.
The overall story of Gehenna is beyond the scope of any novel. That's what the game book is for. What fiction can do, and what this book does particularly well, is show what the big picture means to selected individuals. The vignettes give us a good compact sense of Gehenna's meaning to a wide range of Vampire characters, and then the main story targets in with the depth necessary to do justice to an individual's terminal struggle.
This is an altogether elegant and suitable last act, and I highly recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Don Harris on February 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This novelization of the end of White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade was far better than I expected and I must say I put the book down with a "wow" on my lips. Mr. Marmell combined characters we know and love, with seat-of-your-pants action, to provide a gripping and moving story of The End. I'm almost tempted to buy the other two books in the series, despite my only being a VTM fan....
The only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is that it did not provide what everybody wants/expects at "end of the world" scenarios: Answers. Come on, if White Wolf and its crew are the true "gods" of this world they made, they could at least provide us some answers to the myths and half-truths they've hinted at over the years. Yes, the book allows us a taste of Caine, gives us at least one (possibly two) Antedeluvians, and hints at a couple more, but that's it. Just crumbs. I personally wanted to know just which Antedeluvians were "real" and which were myths. What about the Second Generation of Caine? Who officially sired which clan, who's behind the Jyhad, what caused Caine to curse his childer, and so on (and, yes, I'm terribly PO'd over the "official" answer concerning the truth about the Antedeluvians given in Vampire: Gehenna). I would've preferred just a tad more clarification...but still a damn fine story.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Willy Boy on February 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
First, I try to use a realistic rating system. Three stars is not bad it is average. If every book gets five stars, then there is no constructive rating.
I gave this book three stars because the writing is adequate and the story is engaging ... to a point. The author may have been given too momentous of a task. To handle all of Gehenna in one novel is ridiculous. Each clan deserves its own novel. Many of the characters that we have read about over the years are not even mentioned in this book. And some of the big ones who are mentioned are little more than foot notes (see Jan Pieterzoon and Victoria Ash). Even if we accept the premise that this is the end of the world and that all of these vampires are propably dead, it would be nice to read about their final deaths and more importantly how each character reacted to their fate. Did they accept their fate with grace, disdain, despair etc. ?
Finally, though the book tries to give a glimpse as to how the end of the world begins and more importantly the final truth about being a vampire, the length of the novel prohibits the writer from ever generating enough momentum to draw the reader into caring about the characters. Even the final revelation seems to be a little lackluster and succinct. I would have preferred to have waited another year or so and had more material to digest with an in depth look at those characters who have captured the imagination in former WOD books.
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