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Hotel Transylvania    by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro order for
Hotel Transylvania
by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2001)
Hardcover, Softcover

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* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's tales of the Comte de Saint-Germain refuse to die, just as her urbane, kind and very civilized gentleman vampire is destined to live forever in literature. First published in the late 70s, Hôtel Transylvania is the first novel in what has gone on to become an increasingly popular series. It's an entertaining blend of historically accurate narrative (for which all Yarbro's successive tales are renowned), interesting three-dimensional characterizations, and a deliciously gothic tale of what society's genteel and powerful men will do when given a taste of the dark side.

Paris of 1743 is the location of Saint-Germain's first adventure. There he has introduced himself to the city's wealthy and has entered their lives with an ease that only an ageless and incredibly intelligent man of the world could achieve. Word of the Comte's mysterious aura has preceded him, and while whispers of his 'strange proclivities' circulate, there are few who deny him access to their upper echelon world of soirées, balls and all night card games. He purchases a hotel, which he christens Hôtel Transylvania[:. Saint-Germain quickly turns it into an all night gambling establishment and also the subterranean laboratory for a group of international alchemists temporarily in his employ.
W]hile their efforts are underway, Saint-Germain discovers that an old adversary, the nobleman Saint Sebastien, and a loyal group of his followers are brutalizing and murdering young women, in a quest for wealth and immortality. The Comte is determined to stop them, even more so when he learns that his newest love, Madelaine de Montalia, has been targeted as Saint Sebastien's next virginal blood sacrifice. Here, however, is where this vampire tale is different from most. Though Saint Germain has all the preternatural abilities of his kind, he rarely uses these powers to achieve his purpose. Rather, he resorts to his intelligence, and the vast knowledge he's acquired in three millennia of existence, to turn the tables on an old enemy and to save the woman he loves.

Saint-Germain's debut in Hôtel Transylvania is just as readable today as it was twenty years ago. Very well written and infused with rich historical detail and a very likeable lead character in Comte de Saint-Germain, this novel is a treat for all readers and not just for those who enjoy a tale with a twist of the occult. This latest re-release is also sure to draw in a new generation of Saint-Germain fans.

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