Review by Shellie for Night Pilgrims by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro.
Shellie’s quick take: It’s a stand-alone historical fiction novel that has horror and romance elements with a vampire as the main character. Set in Egypt in the 1200s, the main character (Count Saint Germain assisting as a translator) and a group of European Christian pilgrims are searching for holy sites and relics in the African desert, in hopes of redemption or money.
Shellie’s description: Sidi Sandjer’min (Count Saint-Germain’s name with an Egyptian twist) has been living at a Coptic monastery with his helper and friend Ruthier, assisting the monks and their visitors with their medical needs. He knows many languages and is an apothecary and a physician with knowledge that is advanced for the time.
Due to an edict passed by the ruler of Egypt that forces European inhabitants of the country to leave the land, Sandjer’min and Ruthiers decide their best option to avoid any persecution is to join a band of Christian pilgrims on their travels to visit churches and monasteries, as they are heading into the more remote areas of the Ethiopian highlands away from the main tributary of the Nile river. Set during a time without our modern conveniences, there is ample room for hardships and excitement and the story delivers.
With the faith of the zealous at its core, this is a novel which examines the place of religion in creating the world’s history and political climate during the 1200s.
Shellie’s thoughts: This is my first Count Saint Germain novel even though it is the 26th book in the series. Happily, I was not lost at all by reading this latest novel since the book stands completely alone. And according to Tor’s blog, all the novels in the series are that way; you can start anywhere in the huge collection and not feel lost or slighted.
I devoured this novel in a few days, which is a rarity for me. It was intriguing and has well-developed characters, romance, darkness, intrigue, medical predicaments, historical detail, geographic information and an exciting story line. What may put some readers off is that the main character is a vampire, fearing that there will be all those traditional vampire characteristics that so many readers are bored with. However, the vampire aspect is only a slight part of the story line. I would consider this book foremost a historical fiction book and it’ s really light on the vampire theme. Adding to the interest for me is that Count Saint Germain is an old, wise and kind vampire.
This is an entertaining book that I recommend for historical fiction lovers, horror readers, vampire aficionados (even though it is light on traditional vampire darkness) and anyone looking for a comprehensive and attention-grabbing read. 4 stars for this historical horror novel. I will be reading more from this series and will consider Chelsea Quinn Yarbro a go-to author when I am interested in a guaranteed good read.
Tor Books | 7/30/2013 |Hardcover | 416 pages
CHELSEA QUINN YARBRO has been nominated for the Edgar, the World Fantasy, and the Bram Stoker Awards. She has been named a Grand Master of the World Horror Convention and a Living Legend by the International Horror Guild. Author of many novels of horror, dark fantasy, mystery, and more, Yarbro lives in Berkeley, California. http://www.chelseaquinnyarbro.net/
Some link from Tor’s Blog for the book and series - Where to start in the epic Saint Germain Vampire Cycle and an excerpt from Night Pilgrims.