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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, creepy, and addictive
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...
Published on May 19, 2002 by Kelly (Fantasy Literature)

versus
53 of 60 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A spiralling descent into the insanity of creative genius
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...
Published on August 22, 2002 by Glen Engel Cox


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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, creepy, and addictive, May 19, 2002
By 
Kelly (Fantasy Literature) (Columbia, MO United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the first Powers book I read..., January 6, 2000
...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
3.0 out of 5 stars A spiralling descent into the insanity of creative genius, August 22, 2002
By 
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. But Crawford is hunted, not only with guilt for the deaths of those close to him, but also by strangely erotic dreams, and hounded by the sister of his second wife. His escape from both of these are interlocked with the poetry and lives of the Romantics. You mention fantasy to some people, and they have a hard time not relating it with Tolkien or Dungeons & Dragons. Powers' fiction isn't one style alone. The Stress of Her Regard is a perfect example of this. Not only does it predispose some knowledge of the work of the three poets, but it also has horrific undertones that threaten to explode into the forefront a la Stephen King.
Powers' previous novels have also played fast and loose with historical characters, but those characters have always remained in the background, as if Powers was wary that the "real" characters would destroy the fabric of his half-real fantasy world. In The Stress of Her Regard, though, Powers bravely tackles using the historical characters to become major forces of the storyline. In fact, the intriguing ambiguous yet always exciting Byron steals the book from Crawford, who seems to be a rudderless boat on a swift moving river. And although Byron falls victim to the lamias, his struggle and fall are the stuff that climaxes are built of, rather than Crawford's selfless struggle to rescue his wife's sister.
Not as pyrotechnic as The Anubis Gates, nor as perverse as Dinner at Deviant's Palace, nor as playful as On Stranger Tides, what distinguishes The Stress of Her Regard is the consistent tone of the novel--a spiralling descent into the insanity of creative genius, and the redemption of love.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Bizarre and Unusual, March 21, 2001
By 
Martha E. Nelson (Watertown, Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
In my 41+ years of reading, I will admit that there are few times that an author has truly caught me off guard and offered me a genuinely surprising book. Tim Power's The Sress of Her Regard is tuly exceptional--it is an alternative "biography" of the Romantic poets, a scary and sometimes gory vampire story, a distinctly odd and profoundly affecting love story, and a literary tour de force. It was housed with science fiction in my local library, but I think this does it an injustice (with no offence meant to those who love science fiction). It transcends a great many boundaries. It was lyrical, creepy, thought-provoking, and has made me re-read and re-think Keat, Byron, and Shelley. I wish it was still in print. It is a book I would love to own and share with others. (I will warn you that it is often not easy to read and not for the young or squeamish amongst us.)
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of Powers' Best, November 2, 2004
You will either read every Tim Powers novel you can get your hands on or bog down within the first hundred pages of the first one and never pick up another. His novels are always densely plotted and intentionally obtuse at the beginning. You will find yourself scratching your head and wondering just what in the hell is going on in the story, and just why the hell you are wasting your time. Trust me though, if you push through the wall, you will be rewarded with masterful narratives. Like similar writers Neal Stephenson and Iain Banks, Powers manages to pull the threads together, and once he's revealed enough, the action takes off as well.

"Stress" may well be Powers' most ambitious novel from a literary standpoint. The book treats multiple subjects: love, ambition, literary pretension, mental illness, politics, freemasonry (although obliquely)...oh, yeah, and vampires. Lots of the strangest, vilest bloodsuckers you'll ever find in fiction, and they have a taste for poets' blood. I won't attempt to explain how all of this fits together, but it does, and brilliantly.

Some of Powers' early work was only okay, like "Drawing of the Dark," for instance. As he's matured, though, he's really become a master of tight plotting. This ranks up there with his best, including "The Anubis Gates," "Last Call," and "Declare."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than English class, May 24, 2000
For all of you who didn't pay attention in school, especially during the section on Romantic poets, Tim Powers will make you regret that. In this novel, he puts forward the concept that the best of the poets (Keats, Byron, Shelley) were inspired by this vampire type thing. Intertwined with that is the story of another man who finds himself married to the vampire and all the consequences that entails. This story has to be one of Powers' creepiest and even if the plot isn't as totally convoluted (yet sensible) as Last Call or Anubis Gates, it's still darn good, his eye for period detail is uncanny, the amount of research he must have done is staggering because everything feels right. I've no idea what the poets were like in real life but I have a feeling that they were not unlike the portrayals here. We'll never really know but this is good enough. But here he shows his typical sense of imagination, with enough ideas for three full novels. It's a bit darker than his other books and a little heavier on the gorier side of violence but it's everything that you would generally expect from an author this good. Oddly enough it's out of print though I don't see why, they brought back Drawing of the Dark recently, now if they would only bring this, On Stranger Tides and Dinner at Deviant's Palace, I think there will be a lot of happy people out there. But that's just one opinion.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last: justification for 6 years of college, August 1, 1998
By A Customer
One of the most intriguing uses of the vampyre legends to grace the heavily-gothed (that's an adjective BTW) bookshelves. For those of us who were never satisfyingly blown away by Rice's depictions of charismatic bloodsuckers, Powers offers us a delicious mythology (yum, yum). Then, he weaves the mythology through the realm of the Romantic Poets. See? I knew there was a reason for memorizing exquisite odes and suffering (through? with?) self-tortured heroes such as Byron. Why? So I can unravel all the cool allusions throughout the book (Oh, so that's where Byron got the idea for "Manfred"...) For the groundlings who haven't delved into Norton's Anthologies the better half of their adult lives, you don't have to "get" all said allusions to enjoy the novel, but for the poor schmu--er, diligent scholars who still harbor a passion for Shelley & Co. `The Stress of her Regard' will send you (us) scrambling for those well-highlighted sections of colleg! e texts. I fell in love all over again. Great fun. Stands up to the multiple-reading test (dig it each time).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerizing, December 25, 2002
By 
ts "tshaw242" (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This book blows me away. Tim Powers is a master at taking real or historical fact and twisting it just enough (but not too much) so convincingly, that I almost accept that his version of events is the true story. That this is the true story that was too disturbing or fantastical to be told in text books. I'm not going into plot cuz you can read that elsewhere, but the scope of Powers imagination is a dazzling and breathetaking thing to behold. When I finished reading the last page, I had that weird feeling you get when you have fallen and smacked your head pretty hard..but not enough to fall unconscious, where the world is suddenly still and calm and waiting for your next move. I can't recommend this book more, though I don't think everyone will experience it in the same way I have.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest novel ever written., May 12, 1999
By A Customer
As soon as I saw that this was out of print, I took my old paperback copy and sealed it in a Ziploc bag. For fantasy fans, this is Tolkien for adults. For horror fans, this makes Anne Rice and even Mary Shelley herself seem like adolescents telling ghost stories over a campfire. For fans of historical fiction, this will blow away anything you've read before. This book is engrossing and sophisticated at the same time. It's a fantasy novel that won't make you feel at the end as if you've wasted your time in a mindless escape.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tim Powers at his best!, August 3, 1995
By A Customer
"The Stress of her Regard" is simply Tim Powers finest work. As in other Powers books, this one takes several historical figures (Byron, Shelley, Keets, and others),
an vivid description of the setting in time and place, a bit of historical detail, and some wonderful fantasy and blends them together in an unforgetable book.
"The Stress of her Regard" tells the story of Byron, Shelley, an heroic OBGYN, the terrible muse who "gives" them their poetry, and their attempts (sometimes half-hearted)
to be free of her.
Another wonderful Powers' novel is "Last Call" which is set in modern day California and Nevada and tells the story of Buggsie Seagal, Poker, Tarot cards, Las Vegas, and
how they all relate to the Fisher King.
If you like well thought out novels which draw a huge number of (often strange) bits of fact and fantasy together the novels of Tim Powers will be sure delight you.
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The Stress of Her Regard
The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers (Paperback - August 22, 2008)
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