States of Grace

Written by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Review by Dana Cohlmeyer

Yarbro, author of more than twenty novels about the life of the Count Saint-Germain, gives readers a satisfying new chapter in the life of this much-written-about vampire in her latest book. Dividing his time in the early 1530s between Venice and the Spanish Netherlands, the Count, aware that his lavish lifestyle is attracting the attentions of jealous Venetian merchants, takes on a mistress: the talented musician Pier-Ariana Salier. In addition, the Inquisition is investigating his publishing business in the Netherlands, and he finds his employees in danger of being branded with heresy. While trying to protect them, he soon discovers that the man entrusted to protect it has embezzled a vast portion of his fortune; as a result, he is also under investigation for the man’s disappearance.

The characters and plot are both intriguing and unique. Much of the plot is moved forward by the use of letters instead of first-person writing. At times this became frustrating, as it made the story feel a bit clunky. But the descriptions of Venice, as well as the intrigue and suspicions that swirled around its society, are fantastic. Also interesting were the machinations and panic inspired by the Inquisition. The author has written much about this vampire, and this book is just another chapter in his time on earth. As such, it is a standalone novel that piques one’s interest in reading the others.