Chelsea Quinn Yarbro,
Dark of the Sun
(Tor, 2004)

Saint-Germain is wholly unlike any vampire whose story I've read. He is so completely realized, so fully defined, that he is far more believable even than many of the humans I've met.

Though part of a long and well respected series, Dark of the Sun is the first Saint-Germain I've read. Throughout the series' history I'd guess he's had the opportunity to develop, but this only causes me to want to trace him back to his origin.

Impecably mannered, gracious and generous without exception, he is the perfect gentleman, though I'm not sure he would be so appealing in real life. Although the character does not lack depth, there is a reservation of emotion that is at times off-putting -- though after 2,000 years on the fringes of humanity, perhaps excusable.

The novels of Saint-Germain take place throughout various periods in time, and are known for being scrupulously researched and lushly detailed. In the latest offering, a largely unexplored, bizarre historical event causes upheaval in the mid-500s A.D., a natural disaster so destructive it blots out the sun for nearly two years and yellow snow falls year-round. The eruption of the volcano Krakatoa in Indonesia had such far-reaching consequenses as to be felt as far away as South America.

A lack of written records from the time posed significant challenges to author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, though no glaring inaccuracies are noticeable in the text (at least to me, though I can make no claims to being a professional historian). Detailing the exodus of Saint-Germain and his travel companion/assistant, Rojeh from China, along the Silk Road, and finally back into the Roman Empire of his home, the storyline is compelling, the details and challenges are probable, and this world is facinatingly real.

I love vampire stories. In fact, the variety of legends that inspire them attract me as no other "supernatural" beings can. Why have most of the world's major civilizations recorded vampire myths? And why do they all match up so well? It's so common, it's creepy.

So I'm a little disappointed by the significant normalness of Saint-Germain. The story would tell just as well minus all vampire attributes, upon which Yarbro dwells only in brief details. But certainly this is only a passing complaint, and barring that, there is nothing to disappoint any reader upon picking up this volume.

I will be starting right back at the series beginning. I'm hooked.

- Rambles
written by Katie Knapp
published 8 January 2005

Buy it from