cover image Commedia della Morte

Commedia della Morte

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Tor, $29.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3104-5

The millennia-old vampire Saint-Germain faces the dangers of the Reign of Terror in Yarbro’s 30th historical horror novel (after An Embarrassment of Riches). Summoned to the rescue of his truest love, the young vampire Madelaine de Montalia, Saint-Germain travels with his occasional lover Photine d’Auville and her troupe of actors, including her resentful teenage son, through the guillotine-haunted cities of revolutionary France. The detailed historical knowledge characteristic of the series is evident in the contrasting idealism and corruption of the bloodthirsty French citizens and the daily challenges of the theatrical life, complemented by highly literate eroticism. Despite the chronic over-referencing of earlier books and a relatively low-key climax, effective suspense and a more active role for Saint-Germain make this latest tale a strong entry in a series that has been showing its age. Agent: Howard Morhaim, Howard Morhaim Literary Agency. (Mar.)