cover image Agyar


Steven Brust. Tor Books, $18.95 (254pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85178-1

Brust has concocted a marvelous fantasy, a vampire novel in which the word ``vampire'' never appears. Jack Agyar is, if not quite immortal, very long-lived. He writes the story of his life on an old typewriter in the attic of an abandoned house in an Ohio university town where he lives with the ghost of an ex-slave named Jim. In Brust's world, vampires don't necessarily kill their victims, but, rather, feed off them for lengths of time. Through one of those victims, Agyar meets Susan, an enchanting young dancer with whom he is shocked to discover himself falling in love. Meantime, the vampire who made Agyar plans to set him up for a murder she commits and he finds himself less and less willing to do her bidding. The plot may seem elementary, but Brust is a master stylist who creates such intricate characters that plot is almost irrelevant. (Brust adds the initials P.J.F. after his name. They stand for Pre-Joyce Foundation, a group whose members, among them Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, and Jane Yolen, believe that James Joyce ruined modern literature.) (Mar.)