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The Stress of Her Regard Paperback – August 22, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 427 pages
  • Publisher: Tachyon Publications (August 22, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1892391791
  • ISBN-13: 978-1892391797
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #250,247 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set early in the 19th century, Powers's ( On Stranger Tides ) seventh novel is a horror story that wonderfully evokes the period. On the stormy night before his wedding, Dr. Michael Crawford, in an ill-advised moment while drinking and carousing with two of his friends, slips his intended's ring on the finger of a statue of a woman in the inn's courtyard. The next morning the statue has disappeared. Disturbed, Crawford purchases a new ring and goes to his wedding. The night's celebrations are followed by a morning infinitely more horrifying than the previous one--Crawford awakens to find his bride murdered. Doubting his own sanity, he flees England, becoming aware that he is pursued by a lamia --a malignant female spirit. He seeks help from his friends, the poets Byron and Shelley, who, it turns out, have experience with such a monster. Strewn with literary personages and allusions, the book is entertaining on several levels, but most particularly as a chilling horror-adventure.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Good serious fantasy doesn’t come much better than The Stress of Her Regard.”
Oxford Times

“Strewn with literary personages and allusions, the book is entertaining on several levels....”
Publishers Weekly

“Powers’s framing of a vast, mysterious conspiracy, with ancient supernatural powers, hidden riddles, and secret societies, rivals anything written by Umberto Eco....”
Blogcritics Magazine

“Intricately laced plots, theories of magick advanced and practical, and strange-but-true historical incidents.”
Green Man Review

“...well-written and overflowing with imagination....”

"Tim Powers is a genius."
—Algis Budrys, author, The Death Machine

“Doing what Powers does best, by interspersing a dozen plot lines and characters with a bucket-load of paranormal and tying them up perfectly, he has conjured a tale that could be taken from the history books and taught as fact, and no one would even bother to challenge it. The unfortunate truth is that it’s not real, and that’s what it makes it all the more amazing.”
SF Crowsnest

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Kelly (Fantasy Literature) VINE VOICE on May 19, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I thought I was sick unto death of vampire novels until I read this one. _The Stress of Her Regard_ reminds me of Anne Rice at her best, some years ago, except with more action and less description of the carpeting.
The story centers around the nephelim, Lilith's brood. Seductive, serpentine, and deadly, they are succubi and vampires, draining blood and vitality from their hosts even as they inspire them to creativity. One of these beings attaches itself to Byron and Shelley's circle of expatriate poets, and the drama begins.
We see this through the eyes of gynecologist Michael Crawford, who gets drunk and puts his wedding ring on a statue's hand at the bachelor party--and finds his wife murdered the morning after the wedding, in a scene reminiscent, probably intentionally, of Dr. Frankenstein's wedding night. Suspected of the murder, he flees to the Continent, where he becomes Byron's personal doctor. Traveling with the controversial lord, he will become entangled with poets, wannabe poets, fetishists who *want* to be vampire victims, and the mentally ill sister of his dead wife, who wants to see him dead. Along the way, he learns more about the creature to whom he is "married", and tries to break his ties to it, as mysterious deaths begin to occur.
This is a creepy and atmospheric novel that I could not put down. I read at night until I couldn't stay awake any longer, then got up and read in the morning. This is an enthralling novel of ancient evil, troubled love, birth, and death, which will stay with you.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By on January 6, 2000
Format: Hardcover
...but not the last by a longshot.
I've enjoyed reading fantastic fiction (mainly SF, but with a touch of fantasy here and there) all my life, and this novel forced me to redefine my concept of what it means to have one's mind blown. Although the main character is a fictional doctor who is haunted by an accidental "marriage" to what may be one of the "giants in the earth" mentioned in Genesis, he crosses paths with several of the Romantic poets, who never struck me as "historical figures" in the way they were written. They were just as human as the protagonist, and just as terrified by the fate that pulled them together. That fact, along with the author's fine eye for period detail, did a lot to keep this story grounded in some sort of "reality" when the supernatural fireworks began.
In this novel, as with others such as "The Anubis Gates" and "On Stranger Tides," Powers picks out colorful characters from history--people who lived strange lives, and about whom we know little--then, taking care not to contradict anything we do know, he "fills in the gaps" in some pretty incredible ways. I liked the term another poster used: "gonzo history."
I should mention that this story, while ultimately very hopeful, goes through some dark, *dark* places, and with its moments of horror and eroticism, it's probably not a good choice for younger readers.
Because of the historical angle, many readers will already know the fates that await certain characters, but even those moments are suprising, and brilliantly executed. BTW: If you're reading, Mr. Powers, thanks for letting Shelly go out with such a bang. When the couple were on the beach, and she said, "I can see it! It's coming!" I got such a chill that I had to put the book down and just savor it for a moment.
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53 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Glen Engel Cox on August 22, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you have yet to discover Powers, what a treat awaits you! For those of you who have read his earlier work, such as The Anubis Gates and On Stranger Tides, I know I'll be preaching to the converted when I say that Powers is one of the most exciting authors writing fantasy today. He is one of the progenitors of the "gonzo" fantasy, a style in which the author uses actual history for the majority of the plot, but inserts fantastic elements that explain actions left mysterious by time and which will provide the details of the story. K.W. Jeter and James P. Blaylock, friends of Powers', have also written stories in this style, and Bruce Sterling and William Gibson are working on one called The Difference Engine. But gonzo fantasy is Powers' ballgame, and he's still batting 1.000.
The Stress of Her Regard is set in the time of those three happy-go-lucky but yet melancholy poets, the Romantics. No, not the rock group, but Lord Byron, Percy Shelly, and John Keats. Powers has once again picked his time period and historical people well--there are few people as full of life and mystery as these three poets. Byron, Shelly and Keats were the original Beat writers, travelling the world and putting what they saw into their fiction and poetry long before Jack Keroauc.
The main character isn't a poet, though, but a doctor named Michael Crawford. Having already suffered the death of his first wife and his younger brother, the book opens with Crawford's marriage to his second wife and her brutal death beside him in bed on their first night as man and wife. Blamed for his wife's death, and laboring under the absence of his own memory of that night, Crawford flees into hiding.
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