The Night Eternal Hardcover – October 25, 2011
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Amazon Guest Review: Stephen King on The Night Eternal
Stephen King is the author of more than 50 books, all of them worldwide best-sellers. Among his most recent are the Dark Tower novels, Cell, From a Buick 8, Everything's Eventual, Hearts in Atlantis, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, and Bag of Bones. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
The Strain trilogy opened with an authentic wow moment: a Boeing 777 arrives at JFK airport with all but four of the passengers dead in their seats. The flashlight beams of the first responders “registered dully in the dead jewels of their open eyes.” Not much later these corpses begin to rise from their morgue slabs, and a plague of blood-hungry predators overwhelms New York. The first hundred pages of The Strain is a sustained exercise in terror that held this reader in spellbound delight, because del Toro and Hogan write with crisp authenticity about both the fantastical (vampires) and the completely real (New York City, with all its odd nooks and crannies).
What began in The Strain comes to a sublimely satisfying conclusion in The Night Eternal. Del Toro and Hogan have taken Dracula, the greatest vampire tale of them all, and deftly turned it inside out. In Stoker’s novel, Bloodsucker Zero arrives in England on a sailing ship called the Demeter. As with the Regis Air 777, the Demeter is a ghost ship when it reaches port, the eponymous Count having snacked his way across the ocean. The difference is that Dracula is confronted by a heroic band of vampire-hunters who eventually drive him from England by using modern technology—everything from diaries kept on wax recording cylinders to blood transfusions. In The Strain Trilogy, the body-hopping Master—who arrives at JFK in the person of Polish nobleman Jusef Sardu—uses the very technology that defeated his honorable forebear to destroy the civilized world. Big corporations are his tools; modern transportation serves to spread the vampire virus; nuclear weapons usher in a new era of pollution and atmospheric darkness.
Only jolly old England escapes; the wily Brits have blown up the Chunnel early on, and remain relatively vampire-free. At moments like this, the reader senses del Toro and Hogan tucking their tongues in their cheeks and having a gleeful blast.
When speaking of the New World Order in Henry the Sixth, Shakespeare has one of his characters say, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” As The Night Eternal opens, the Master (currently having traded the body of Sardu for that of rock star Gabriel Bolivar) doubles down on that, ordering his minions to kill not just those in the legal profession but all the CEOs, tycoons, intellectuals, rebels, and artists. “Their execution was swift, public and brutal. Out they marched, the damned, out of the River House, the Dakota, the Beresford and their ilk…in a horrific pageant of carnage, they were disposed of.”
With the exception of heroic pawnbroker/scholar Abraham Setrakian (who almost destroyed the Master in Volume Two, The Fall), the winning cast of human characters from the previous novels are all present and accounted for: Nora Martinez, who has traded in her scientist’s microscope for a silver sword; Vasily Fet, who now exterminates vampires instead of rats; Augustin “Gus” Elizade, once a gangbanger and now a hero of resistance. There’s also the less-than-admirable but fascinating (in a repulsive way, it’s true) Alfonso Creem, with his insatiable appetite and his vampire-repelling mouthful of silver teeth.
And there’s Eph Goodweather, the epidemiologist around whom all these others revolve. When The Night Eternal begins, two years after the Master has used nuclear weapons to create vampire-friendly darkness all over the planet, Eph has fallen on hard times. His undead ex-wife stalks him relentlessly (he is, after all, one of her “Dear Ones”), his son has become a rifle-toting, obsessive-compulsive acolyte of the Master, and Eph himself has started popping Vicodin and oxycodone. Nora has left him for Vasily Fet, and Eph is viewed with distrust by those who used to rally around him. Justifiable distrust; he keeps showing up late for meetings and vampire-killing gigs.
Fet has managed to purchase a rogue nuke (it’s wrapped in garbage bags and looks like a trashcan), and the resistance fighters have a sacred book that may—if deciphered—lead them to the Black Site where the Master’s earthly life began. If they can destroy that holy soil, they believe the vampire plague will end.
There’s a certain amount of perhaps dispensable hugger-mugger about vampires in Rome and archangels in Sodom, but the main attractions here are the resistance fighters’ fierce dedication to their cause, and Eph Goodweather’s slow and painful realization that if he destroys the Master, he may also destroy his son Zachary, the last person on earth he truly loves. Heroes of tragic dimension are rare in popular fiction, but Goodweather fills the bill nicely.
After a small (and perhaps unavoidable—see Tolkein’s The Two Towers) letdown in The Fall, The Strain Trilogy comes to a rip-roaring conclusion in The Night Eternal. The action is non-stop, and the fantasy element is anchored in enough satisfying detail to make it believable. All the New York landmarks, such as Central Park’s Belvedere Castle and The Cloisters, are real. And while you’re discovering such essential vampire facts as the undead’s inability to cross running water without human help, you’ll also find out that the stone lions outside the New York Public Library have names: Patience and Fortitude. Plus, come on, admit it—there’s something about seeing vampires massing for an attack in a Wendy’s parking lot that makes them more real. The devil’s in the details, and this is one devilishly good read full of satisfying scares. --Stephen King
From the Back Cover
From the authors of the instantNew York Times bestsellersThe Strain and The Fall comesthe final volume in one of the mostelectrifying thriller series in years
It’s been two years since the vampiric virus was unleashed in The Strain, and the entire world now lies on the brink of annihilation. There is only night as nuclear winter blankets the land, the sun filtering through the poisoned atmosphere for two hours each day—the perfect environment for the propagation of vampires.
There has been a mass extermination of humans, the best and the brightest, the wealthy and the influential, orchestrated by the Master—an ancient vampire possessed of unparalleled powers—who selects survivors based on compliance. Those humans who remain are entirely subjugated, interred in camps, and separated by status: those who breed more humans, and those who are bled for the sustenance of the Master’s vast army.
The future of humankind lies in the hands of a ragtag band of freedom fighters—Dr. Eph Goodweather, former head of the Centers for Disease Control’s biological threats team; Dr. Nora Martinez, a fellow doctor with a talent for dispatching the undead; Vasiliy Fet, the colorful Russian exterminator; and Mr. Quinlan, the half-breed offspring of the Master who is bent on revenge. It’s their job to rescue Eph’s son, Zack, and overturn this devastating new world order. But good and evil are malleable terms now, and the Master is most skilled at preying on the weaknesses of humans.
Now, at this critical hour, there is evidence of a traitor in their midst. . . . And only one man holds the answer to the Master’s demise, but is he one who can be trusted with the fate of the world? And who among them will pay the ultimate sacrifice—so that others may be saved?
- Publisher : William Morrow; First Edition (October 25, 2011)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0061558265
- ISBN-13 : 978-0061558269
- Item Weight : 1.22 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.21 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #373,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I really enjoyed the first two books, but the third book fell short for me. Fet and Gus were the only two people that I cared about at that point because the rest of the characters, whether it was through their attitudes or their storyline, became boring and unlikeable. I did finish the book, but I found myself wishing that it was shorter or that I was closer to the end, it wasn't holding my attention like the first two in the series.
Speaking of the ending, I won't give it away but it was very predictable.
If you enjoy the show (hopefully it's fairly similar to the books!), then please give the book series a try! I know the third book may fall a little short in quality but as a whole the series is very interesting and well researched. The first two books build an amazing world inside your head and you'll want to find out what happens next, just be warned that the third book may disappoint slightly.
I felt the first two books were great. The events carried me through and I almost read the series in one sitting. I felt the same way about book 3, until I got to the ending. I felt that, by the time I got to the ending, there were so many holes that I was left wanting. Sure, the story ended, but the plot at the end was riddled with questions. I actually felt that I should have not read book three and just waited for the third season for some closure.
What I feel killed book three for me was when after the nuclear bomb detonated. Michael (the murdered one) shows up with the other angel and takes the combined form of the Master (Ozryel) and resurrects him. Ozryel, along with the other ancients, were responsible for the woes experienced by the human race. Heck, the Master was responsible for innumerable deaths and suffering of human beings. And then what?? They fly back up to heaven. That's it.
The Epilogue was nice, but it couldn't fill the whole I felt after reading that the angel was let back into heaven. Made no sense to me. If I would have known about that kind of ending I would have stopped at book 2. Next time I'll check the reviews.
Now I really did enjoy the ending of the book, I am very glad that this was a trilogy and not something longer. I was speaking with a few friends whom had read the trilogy recently and they felt that it should have been a series, and gone much more into depth as to what else was going on in the world. But I greatly disagree. In many ways, I would classify this story as fantasy horror, of course not the high fantasy of the might and magic style, but it certainly follows a similar strain (pun intended) of following chosen heroes, as they fight against all odds to defeat the all-powerful antagonist. Yeah there is much more going on in the grand scheme of things, but these heroes are who we follow.
It hard to comment to deeply on the story without giving something away, but I can say that I really enjoyed first off that the book had jumped ahead several years in time, so that what we get, is a book which is much much different in tone, mood and approach then the other two books. The writing is great, you get a nice sense of this gothic bleakness which the world has become, as the writing depicts the darkened and sick sky, and the desolation of the city and earth left behind. It has a similar feel to watching a well-made film about WW2, which I think was intentional on the authors parts, and rightly so!
At the end of the day, I really really enjoyed this trilogy. I can see myself in a year or more, picking them up again and having another read! But I have to admit, I feel satisfied, but almost like watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy. They are damn good, and you love them all, but when the credits finally role on the last film, there is a part of you that is glad it is finally over! lol.
I would highly recommend this trilogy, and I would suggest that you read them before you watch the TV series, if you are wondering why I say this, read my review of the first and second book. I explain it there.
Was an exciting and fun Ride! Thanks Del Toro and Hogan, you fellows did some good story telling!
Top reviews from other countries
This final part is somewhat unlike the previous instalment, and very unlike the first book, which owed a lot to the ideas that Stephen King explored in the wonderful 'Salem's Lot'. In fact, it struck me that 'The Strain' was a bit like 'Salem's Lot' expanded out of small town America and imposed on the whole world. This time, bravely entering the head vampire's lair with wooden stake, holy water and crucifixes won't cut it. This monster isn't even unduly concerned by daylight ... but he is worried about a very old book.
Enjoyed the whole trilogy, with the first book, 'The Strain', as is so often the case, carrying most shocks and creepiness.