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Out of the House of Life: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain (St. Germain) Paperback – November 15, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Learned, lustrous-haired Madelaine de Montalia, dead over a century but reborn to the vampire life, joins an expedition of French antiquarians to excavate Egyptian ruins at Thebes, 1825-1828, in this ponderous novel, the seventh featuring the Count of Saint-Germain, the immortal vampire ( Hotel Transylvania ). From offstage, the Count sends letters to his adored Madelaine, recalling his thousand-year stint in ancient Egypt when he labored first as a captive demon (chained in Judea and given to Queen Hatshepsut) in the House of Life--a hospital/mortuary--then as slave, servant, physician and, finally, as "Sanh Zhrman," high priest of Imhotep. Madelaine imbibes the fluids of men she visits in dreams as well as (discreetly and in the flesh) those of her lover, the blue-eyed German Dr. Falke. Meanwhile she is besieged by lecherous misogynists and by the bribery of local officials, the theft and sale of choice treasures, the blatant plagiarisms that are all part of the game of archeology. Unfortunately, these promising story materials founder in a plotless narrative, talkily expressed in pseudo-Victorian style.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Yarbro is best known for a series of historical novels about the Comte de Saint-Germain ( Blood Games, LJ 2/1/80; Hotel Transylvania, LJ 1/15/78), a scholarly, humane, and centuries-old vampire. Here she alternates the story of his early life in Pharaonic Egypt with that of Madelaine, a 19th-century French beauty, herself a vampire, and lover of the count. Madelaine joins an archaeological expedition in the hope of discovering the ancient site of the House of Life where Saint-Germain toiled for 800 years. Usually Yarbro easily evokes a sense of time and place. Unfortunately in this novel, the rich history of Egypt never comes to life. Worse, the Muslim characters who populate the modern period are little more than caricatures. A disappointing book from a writer who has done so much better.
- Patricia Altner, U.S. Dept. of Defense Lib., Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1990 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 5)
  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books (November 15, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312890265
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312890261
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,044,262 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

4.4 out of 5 stars
5 star
64%
4 star
29%
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7%
See all 14 customer reviews
This book is one of the best in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint Germain vampire series.
Linda S.
As with many of Ms. Yarbro's novels, information, love, and horror are mixed in a heady combination that makes for delightful reading.
l.mccaleb@ensemblesolutions.com
Montalia also discovers temporary love, and a means to quench her thirst, with the handsome mortal Dr. Falke.
Jana L. Perskie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Julia Walter VINE VOICE on December 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have read all the St. Germaine ( and Olivia) novels (well, not the brand new _Communion Blood_)and the collection of short stories too. This is my favorite for St. Germaine's recollections in the form of long letters to Madeline about when he first lived in Egypt. It is in this book that we find out details about what made him become a *good* vampire who values life.
This is contrasted with Madeline's struggle to be accepted as an Egyptologist.
I recommend it very highly. (And unlike some series of books there is no correct order to read these books in. Just read them as they come to you, but read them if you are interested in historical fiction with a _very_ long view. These books are much more about that than traditional horror novels.)Julia Walter
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book takes us back and forth, by means of St. Germain's letters to Madeline de Montalia, between his life in ancient Egypt and Madeline's archeological digs in the 19th century. I found St. Germain's recollections fascinating as he sometimes painfully recounts his transformation from a imprisoned "demon" in Babylon to the high priest in "The House of Life" (an ancient "hospital" for the dying.) St. Germain vividly recalls memorable patients and how his interactions with them slowly changed him from an uncaring bitter slave to a compassionate healer/priest with a strong sense of responsibility for the weaker humans around him. Madeline's story is more conventional as she tries to gain more understanding of her great love St. Germain through his letters and participating in an archeological dig at the ancient House of Life. Madeline is handicapped by her very youthful appearance and the fact that she is pursuing a man's career in a male-dominated culture. She finds love and great danger in Egypt. This book is a must to understand St. Germain's character and background.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Leah DosSantos on December 21, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Ever since the publication of the first Saint-Germain book, I have been hooked on Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's books. I have often wondered how she remained a relatively obscure author, given the popularity that Anne Rice has enjoyed with her vampire series. While Rice is a great author, she lacks the historical research that goes into Yarbro's books... perhaps that's a liability for some romance readers who want instant gratification, without savoring a well crafted book, for this is what Out Of The House Of Life truly is! As another reviewer remarked, I, too,have learned more of history through this remarkable lady than anywhere else, College education included! This book goes back 6,000 years, and traces the roots of St. Germaine's history- the ignoble savage, slowly, over centuries, becoming the strong, sexy, and secure vampire with a heart of gold. I especially liked learning so much about Egyptian history in this novel, and found it refreshing. Unlike her earliest novels, I recently found that Yarbro's later books have become all too predictable-- poor misunderstood vampire stands up for the underdog, and becomes persecuted once again. Same scenes, same predicable outcomes. This novel shines out from the most recent, in that, it has more to say than that. The action doesn't get bogged down for lack of a plot this time. Too bad Yarbro didn't learn from this one, and stay on this track.. I can't say the same for books about St. Germaine published right after this one, and certainly not for the ones just before it, either.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By l.mccaleb@ensemblesolutions.com on February 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book provides glimpses into Ancient Egypt from several perspectives. The main story of the book concerns the intrigues surrounding a 19th century archaeological expedition including Madelaine de Montalia, St. Germaine's great love, as contrasted with St. Germaine's own 3000-year-old recollections of life in ancient Egypt when he lived "Out of the House of Life". As with many of Ms. Yarbro's novels, information, love, and horror are mixed in a heady combination that makes for delightful reading. One of the major joys of her vampires is that they are not "demons" or inherently evil--often the worst evils are perpetrated by the short-lived humans with whom they must interact. If you are interested in a great vampire novel or in Ancient Egypt, this novel is a must-read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By James Yanni on December 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Or seventh, if you discount the three books that focused on Olivia. Or first (and as of this writing, only) in the Madeline series. Depends on how you look at it.
About a fifth of this book, I would estimate, is about Saint Germain himself, in the days of ancient Egypt, and some of his most formative moments. The rest of it centers on Madeline de Montalia, his former lover and vampiric "daughter", in the early ninteenth century, on an archeological dig in Egypt. The plot and characterization are excellent as usual for Ms. Yarbro; the pattern begun in the previous book (A Candle For d' Artgnan) of the editing being somewhat sloppier than in previous books is continued here; these were the first two books of the series to come out in "quality" or trade paperback editions, rather than mass-market, and frankly the editing in the previous books was better. Apparently, someone considers "quality" to be defined by the size of the book and the type of binding, rather than by efficient editing. There are about a dozen places in the book where there is a wrong word used, or a word missing, or an extra word inserted, or similar sloppinesses. Still, the book is well worth the read, and comes highly recommended.
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