Dan Simmons:Children of The Night

This is my first Dan Simmons novel, but I've heard a lot of "hype" about him up till now. Well, this certainly wasn't disappointing.

Marketed as fiction, clearly marked as involving vampires, I'd call this a clear case of SF. Simmons came up with a perfectly plausible scientific explanation of vampirism, which is that it's a combination of several immune-system deficiencies with a retrovirus that can cannibalize others' blood to build up the host's immune system. Maybe a professional immunologist could poke holes in his explanation, but it seems fine to me. Simmons also conveys the atmosphere of post-Ceaucescu Romania(which is, indeed, where vampires hang out, or at least congregate on special occasions)quite well.

Vlad Dracula, the ancient patriarch, is dying. As he dies, he periodically relives memories of his past life(apparently painstakingly researched to tell the real story)...meanwhile, a child is being prepared for the Investiture, a ceremony which will pass on Dracula's heritage in some way not specified in the book.

Then Kate Neuman, an immunologist working for the relief effort in Romania, adopts the child Joshua and takes him home to the States, where she quickly discovers that, normally sickly, he thrives on blood transfusions...she and several other researchers quickly try to find out how he does it, isolating the retrovirus with high hopes for an AIDS cure.

The vampires(or strigoi, as the Romanians call them)retrieve the child; Kate pursues, aided by two men whose motives she doesn't fully know...and the finale is truly spectacular, almost cinematic. By turns harsh and cruel, hopeful, and tense, this is a whirlwind of a book that you'll probably like even if you're not a vampire book fiend.

%A Simmons, Dan
%T Children of The Night
%I Warner Books
%C New York
%D Copyright 1992
%G ISBN 0-446-36475-4
%P 451 pp.
%O Paperback, US$5.99, Can$6.99

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The Den of Ubiquity / Aaron V. Humphrey / alfvaen@gmail.com