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Better in the Dark

– tekijä: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Muut tekijät: Katso muut tekijät -osio.

Sarjat: Saint-Germain Cycle (Saxony (10th Century))

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1863111,562 (3.79)5
Here at last is a long-hinted-at chapter in the undead existence of the immortal Count Saint-Germain: the story of Ranegonda of Saxony, one of the three great loves of Saint-Germian's life. 937 A.D. The Saxon fortress of Leosan is under the almost unheard-of rule of a woman. The Gerefa of the fortress has become a monk, leaving his sister, Ranegonda, to rule in his name as best she can--and to deal with his embittered, headstrong wife as well. Into this tense and dire situation comes Saint-Germain. Shipwrecked on the Baltic shore, near the true death, he is found by Ranegonda, whom he will come to love for the gift of blood she gives him, and for her own indomitable spirit.… (lisätietoja)
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näyttää 3/3
Not the best in the Saint-Germain series but readable and entertaining. ( )
  turtlesleap | Feb 23, 2012 |
The 8th published book in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's long-running series featuring the Count Saint-Germain, a vampire who, in the 1st published book, Hôtel Transylvania, was shown to be the "real" mystic/courtier/charlatan/adventurer/alchemist of 18th century Europe, Better in the Dark is set on the fringes of Otto I's (before he was Holy Roman Emperor and styled "The Great") Germania, in Upper Saxony, in a fictional fortress on the Baltic coast, in the third decade of the 10th century AD, and is the story of how Franzin Ragoczy, Comites Saint-Germanius, met one of the three great loves of his (undead) life, the (acting) Gerefa Ranegonda of Leosan Fortress.

Saint-Germain washes up on the Saxon shores near Leosan when his merchant ship goes down in a storm; he is discovered by the acting ruler of the fortress, Ranegonda, the sister of the Gerefa (the title would become "Graff," or "Count," in German, and "Sheriff" in English; p. 14) Giselberht, who has renounced the world to enter the local monastery in penance over the death of his first wife. Ranegonda inadvertently drips some blood on Saint-Germain, reviving him and binding him to her all at once. Saint-Germain is held for ransom at Leosan, but his various talents, intelligence, and attractiveness to Ranegonda (who is very unlikely to marry due to her lameness and smallpox scars; apparently the ideals of physical perfection, or at least physical utility, go a long ways back in the history of the Germanic peoples...) soon make his captivity a relatively light one. However, political jockeyings among King Otto's minions and rivals, the restive Danes (only recently ejected from Saxony), the displaced population of Bremen, made refugees by vicious Magyar raiders, a strange plague of madness and rot, the religious bigotry of many of the Saxons (and especially that of Leosan's monk, Brother Erchoboge), and the schemings of Giselberht's second wife, the ironically named Pentacoste, all serve to make life at Leosan unstable and uniformly unpleasant, and eventually combine to make it wholly untenable.

The Saint-Germain series is distinguished by the relative dearth of supernatural creatures and shenanigans: there are no wars between vampires and lycanthropes, no harrowings of hell, no bindings of demons, no vendettas with the fae, kindly or otherwise; while Yarbro's Saint-Germain is an alchemist, much of what he accomplishes can be explained, as here, as stemming from his theoretical and practical experience of medicine, botany, chemistry, and mineralogy spanning several millennia. (Except for that pesky stunt of creating gold, of course.) Indeed, Saint-Germain is scrupulously careful in creating other vampires, especially since he has triumphed over his initial centuries of literally bloodthirsty ravenings and gloryings in terror; he's long since learned to feed on the sexual satisfaction of his (nearly always female; though one does wonder about the provenance of his "gay" manservant Roger, called here Hrotiger...) partners as much as, if not more than, their blood; in Yarbro's world, apparently one will be turned into a vampire after one's death if one enjoys too many booty-knockin's with one. OTOH, male vampires are impotent, and all vampires are unable to conceive or bear children. And unlike, say, Dracula, Saint-Germain is not above living on the blood of animals, as he has to subsist on the blood of shoats for several months during his enforced stay at Leosan. In many, if not most, of the Saint-Germain novels, the ordinary humans far eclipse the vampires in black villainy.

That said, the books can become tiresome, as Yarbro relies on the same tags to describe Saint-Germain -- one may well develop an aversion to the word "compelling" after reading a few Saint-Germain books, for instance -- and, for all the misdeeds that Saint-Germain spends his undead existence trying to live down (not the least being his centuries as a more typical revenant, alluded to more fully, if not exactly explored in depth, in Out of the House of Life), many of the books show him more as being acted upon than as an actor: it is perhaps this trait, combined with the relatively conservative treatment of the supernatural and erotic elements, that have made the Saint-Germain series more of a cult phenomenon rather than a mass market, cross-media sensation like some other vampire series I could mention.

The main draw for the Saint-Germain series, as here, is the depth of Yarbro's historical research; even one who is not particularly enamored of vampires (namely, Your Correspondent) can find himself reading yet another Saint-Germain book with some degree of pleasure and not a little envy at a professional writer who has managed to create a perfect niche for herself: research the hell out of a historical period that interests her for two or three years, with the help of various assistants and experts; bang out a genre book utilizing a fair modicum of said research; rinse; repeat. If I would approach the job slightly differently, I can't dispute that I'm jealous as hell of Yarbro's career, and would love to interview for something like it.

What ultimately drags Better In the Dark down is the setting: post-Carolingian/pre-Ottonian Europe was dark, brutish, intolerant, dangerous, and depressing, and no amount of historical fodder for cosplay can disguise that. The setting (and the characters' mindsets) ultimately overwhelmed my interest in the period or concern for Saint-Germain's plight; even his lady love, Ranegonda, is something of an authoritarian, close-minded prig: I couldn't believe that Saint-Germain would fall for her so completely -- it's almost as though her blood infected him with the madding, hallucinogenic plague swirling in and around Leosan. I'm not sure how Yarbro could've maintained her readers' interest in such a group of characters, but at minimum, she should've been able to let us see a bit more of what drew Saint-Germain to Ranegonda than merely her insecurity over her personal appearance and fighting capabilities and her anxiety over her future; existential vulnerabilities and loneliness do not necessarily a lovable character make. ( )
  uvula_fr_b4 | Mar 28, 2009 |
näyttää 3/3
ei arvosteluja | lisää arvostelu

» Lisää muita tekijöitä (1 mahdollinen)

Tekijän nimiRooliTekijän tyyppiKoskeeko teosta?Tila
Chelsea Quinn Yarbroensisijainen tekijäkaikki painoksetcalculated
Curcio, JoeKannen suunnittelijamuu tekijäeräät painoksetvahvistettu

Kuuluu näihin sarjoihin

Saint-Germain Cycle (Saxony (10th Century))
Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
Kanoninen teoksen nimi
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Alkuteoksen nimi
Teoksen muut nimet
Alkuperäinen julkaisuvuosi
Henkilöt/hahmot
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Tärkeät paikat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Tärkeät tapahtumat
Kirjaan liittyvät elokuvat
Palkinnot ja kunnianosoitukset
Epigrafi (motto tai mietelause kirjan alussa)
Omistuskirjoitus
Ensimmäiset sanat
Tiedot englanninkielisestä Yhteisestä tiedosta. Muokkaa kotoistaaksesi se omalle kielellesi.
Text of a dispatch carried by a messenger of the Holy See to the king of Germania, Otto.
Sitaatit
Viimeiset sanat
Erotteluhuomautus
Julkaisutoimittajat
Kirjan kehujat
Alkuteoksen kieli
Canonical DDC/MDS

Viittaukset tähän teokseen muissa lähteissä.

Englanninkielinen Wikipedia

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Here at last is a long-hinted-at chapter in the undead existence of the immortal Count Saint-Germain: the story of Ranegonda of Saxony, one of the three great loves of Saint-Germian's life. 937 A.D. The Saxon fortress of Leosan is under the almost unheard-of rule of a woman. The Gerefa of the fortress has become a monk, leaving his sister, Ranegonda, to rule in his name as best she can--and to deal with his embittered, headstrong wife as well. Into this tense and dire situation comes Saint-Germain. Shipwrecked on the Baltic shore, near the true death, he is found by Ranegonda, whom he will come to love for the gift of blood she gives him, and for her own indomitable spirit.

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