Night Blooming

Written by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Review by Suzanne J. Sprague

Vampire Hiernom Rakoczy de Santus Germainius fits easily into human society. Having observed history for nearly 3,000 years, Rakoczy is renowned for his knowledge and is summoned to Charlemagne’s service in 796. After proving his loyalty, he is commanded to escort the pious Gynethe Mehaut, a young albino woman cursed with the stigmata, to a hearing before Pope Leo III who will determine her fate.

Yarbro’s vampires are more sensual than brutal. Besides the need for blood, Rakoczy does not exhibit the traits normally associated with vampires. He need not eschew the sunlight, seems unaffected by religious icons, and brings pleasure to the women he dines upon. Gynethe, however, is confined by her sensitive skin and religious dogma and is persecuted by the church for her afflictions. The insidious relationship between the clergy and Charlemagne and the inhumanities inflicted in the name of Christianity are vividly depicted through the correspondence that heads each chapter as well as the narrative.

This novel, the 15th installment of the Saint-Germain vampire series, is recommended. Although references are made to characters and events in previous books in the series, this book can be read alone and will tempt the reader to explore the backlist.