cover image Sustenance


Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Tor, $29.99 (480p) ISBN 978-0-7653-3401-5

Not even the vampire Saint-Germain can avoid the paranoid tendrils of the early Cold War in this detailed period piece that’s heavy on history but light on speculative elements. The latest in Yarbro’s long-running series (after Night Pilgrims) finds her undead protagonist doing his best to ease the pain of a “coven” of American expats; the collective term sadly has no tie to actual witches, which would have enhanced the otherwise minimal supernatural elements. Soon Saint-Germain falls for one of the group’s members, Charis Treat, a woman cut out of her life by both her husband and her country. Alternating points of view and epistolary sections paint a vivid description of fear, threats, and power during a time when not even fleeing to Europe could prevent persecution. Watching Saint-Germain’s careful web protecting his secrets (and his new friends) fray in the face of increased government scrutiny should give longtime fans and history buffs plenty to consider after reading. (Dec.)