Now, for purposes of discussing "classic" vampire stories, I am discounting for purposes of this review (1) YA books like the Twilight series and (2) the very popular paranormal romance/urban fantasy novels that may have vampires as characters. 3. Complete Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice: I read these books when they first came out and while I would not rate them as highly today, they were undoubtedly revolutionary in creating the popular image of vampires as sex symbols while maintaing a dark, violent and very unique mythos regarding their origin and behavior. Honorable mention to I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (see my recent review), Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon, DRACULAS and Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons (which may actually need to become a benchmark book at some point as it is certainly a one of a kind vampire tale). Second, and my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PART OF THE BOOK, are the interlude sections told from the viewpoint of Vlad Tepes (historical basis for Dracula). In addition, Vlad, while exploring his past spends significant time discounting the fairly tales told by Stoker and Michael Beheim (who wrote in the 15th century a poem called Story of a Bloodthirsty Madman Called Dracula of Wallachia) which had a big impact on creating the legend of Vlad. The book is certainly a good read and the sections dealing with Dracula are stuffed full of amazing.
It also features an excellent introduction by Simmons himself, in which he recounts a visit to post-Ceauescu Romania in search of the real Dracula (Vlad Tepes). It is the brutality of this life which Dan Simmons so expertly places onto the pages as he paints his story of a mother's fight to recover her stolen child. Kate Neuman is a thirty-something immunologist working the grim halls of Bucharest's District One Hospital, and it is fair to say the grind is bringing her down. Kate's work brings her into contact with a sickly infant, and by chance it is discovered that blood transfusions (even when given the wrong blood) reverse the child's crippling illness - at least in the short term. Circumstances lead to Kate adopting the child, and then returning home to the United States with her 'new' son. Shortly after learning the bizarre nature of her son's illness, Kate is attacked and Joshua stolen away from her.
I have had an issue over the years remembering which Dan Simmons book I liked and which one I didn't. Well, after about an hour of listening, I realized that this was the book that I did not like. All these years later and I still don't like it.
When I read the introduction to this book, I was really excited. But I just couldn't get myself to enjoy reading it.
After establishing the plausibility, he creates several tense scenes and likable characters before beginning a journey with them that had me reading this book non-stop. Certain authors write with the end game in mind from page one and this reads like it.
Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life." Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Coloradoin the same town where he taught for 14 yearswith his wife, Karen, his daughter, Jane, (when she's home from Hamilton College) and their Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Fergie.