STATES OF GRACE

Amid the religious and political unrest of 16th-century Europe, the vampire Saint-Germain finds himself torn between two women and facing danger from the Church and its spies. Living comfortably as a Venetian merchant, with his mistress, the talented musician Pier-Ariana Salier, Saint-Germain finds himself under investigation by the Inquisition. His publishing business in the Netherlands is accused of heresy, as is writer Erneste van Amsteljaxter.

Erneste's intelligence and goodness draws Saint-Germain to her, and he undertakes to keep both her and Pier-Ariana safe, even though his fortune is embezzled and he is accused of kidnapping and murder. Meanwhile, someone is attempting to destroy Saint-Germain once and for all.

The Saint-Germain novels continue to rank among the best vampire tales around. This is no ordinary bloodsucker, and his adventures across history are as compell-ing as ever. Yarbro's impeccable research brings Reformation Europe vividly to life. The book's structure—third-person narration interspersed with letters from those close to the vampire—keeps the reader at arm's length; we rarely get a glimpse inside Saint-Germain's head. Instead, Yarbro skillfully builds plot and character through the interpretations of minor characters, both friends and enemies. Fans of historical fiction and vampire tales alike should be enthralled. (Sep., 336 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum