Yarbro's romantic, colorful cycle of historical horror novels (Hotel Transylvania, Blood Games) focuses this time on Olivia, the noble Roman lady who became a lover of the vampire Count Sanct' Germain in the time of Nero. Hundreds of years later, in the sixth century, Olivia is forced to flee Rome as war flares. In the more repressive and vigilantly Christian city of Constantinople she is suspect as a foreigner and an unmarried woman of wealth. When her patron, General Belisarius, falls out of favor with Emperor Justinian, she has no protection from the zealous Court Censor. Although the fact that Olivia is a vampire makes little difference until the end, the book has a real, cumulative power as a portrait of an intelligent, cosmopolitan woman caught in a paranoid web of politics and religious persecution. Particularly striking are its connections between the personal and the historical, the most moving of which is the reaction to Justinian's ordering the burning of the Library of Alexandria, with its thousands of irreplacable ancient texts. (October 20)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1987 Release date: 10/01/1987 Genre: Fiction
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