cover image Mansions of Darkness: A Novel of Saint-Germain

Mansions of Darkness: A Novel of Saint-Germain

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Tor Books, $24.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85759-2

The long-suffering vampire Count Saint-Germain turns up in 16th-century Peru in this latest installment (after Darker Jewels) in a series that began with Hotel Transylvania in 1978. Although Saint-Germain hopes to live quietly in this land where a monolithic Church is systematically destroying the remnants of Inca culture, his eccentric interests immediately mark him as an outsider. The local clergy believe his medical knowledge is evidence of witchcraft; those rumors are inflamed when Saint-Germain befriends a woman said to be the last of a once-powerful family of Inca priests and nobles. Side plots present priests vying for supremacy in the Church hierarchy and fortune-hunting Spaniards seeking legendary Inca treasure. As usual with Yarbro, the tone here is old-fashioned, the pace slow, with mood and character, not action, of paramount concern. Saint-Germain's vampirism is low key; his presence acts mainly as a catalyst for the treacheries around him. Those who enjoy well-researched historical fiction will relish the detailed setting and the tangled plottings of the churchmen and secular agents whose mortal lives brush against that of the immortal undead. (Aug.)