Dark of the Sun
Around 535 AD, the volcano Krakatoa erupted violently, splitting apart Java and Sumatra and causing havoc around the world for many years. At this time, the merchant vampire Saint-Germain begins a trek that will take him from China to Transylvania. From the very beginning, the reader is yanked out of his world and transported to China. Yarbro tracks the travellers’ progress westward in believable fashion by masterfully choosing historically factual references to everyday life: clothes, language, objects, currencies.
The vampire’s name evolves from Zangi-Ragosh to Racogzy Franciscus and his ghoulish companion from Ro-Shei to Rojeh. This name transformation, and the maps, helps us maintain our bearings through the constant changes and transformations of the voyage. The letter added in each chapter also makes us more aware of the dire post-eruption effects: famine, cannibalism, violence, social instabilities and the growing influences and conflicts between the churches. The vampirism aspect, although present, is never sensationalized or overwhelming, making this more a travel than horror tale The serene, solid main characters and storytelling provide an effective contrast to the atrocities and devastation depicted and keep the reader entranced and happily captive.