Hotel Transylvania – by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Hotel Transylvania, by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro (Saint Martin's, 1978):

Though not so well known to non-specialists as Rice's characters, Yarbro's Saint-Germain is probably the best-loved of contemporary vampires. If Rice's fiction may be characterized as epic, Yarbro's is romance.

Against her meticulously researched historical backgrounds, intimate exploration of human (whether living or Undead) emotions and relationships claims central importance. Saint-Germain may be described as Dracula with a difference.

Another Transylvanian Count who lives on blood, sometimes transforms his victims into his own kind, casts no reflection, and rests on a bed of his native earth, Saint-Germain embodies the opposite of the unholy evil Stoker ascribes to Dracula.

Rather than recoiling from Christian symbols, in Hotel Transylvania Saint-Germain wields a consecrated Host to repel a coven of Satanists. He cannot transform into animal shape, as Dracula can (though he can control animals), but in most ways conforms to the powers and limitations of the traditional vampire.

Like Stoker's Dracula (and Saberhagen's), Saint-Germain can function by daylight. Yarbro postulates that he suffers little or no discomfort from the sun as long as he wears shoes with his native earth in the soles. This author's answer to the question of why a vampire who can feed on animals needs human blood resembles Saberhagen's theory.

To Saint-Germain, the taking of blood is an erotic experience, making this character the quintessential Demon lover. Drinking blood offers him no satisfaction unless his partner attains sexual fulfillment. After several novels and a collection of short pieces, Yarbro retired Saint-Germain and devoted a trilogy to one of his “converts,” Olivia, who exemplifies a self-reliant woman attempting to maintain her independence in the patriarchal world of ancient and medieval Christendom.

Out of the House of Life (TOR, 1990) returns to Saint-Germain and his great love, Madelaine. This book explores Saint-Germain's early years as the vampiric “mascot” of a healing temple.

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