Kirsten Reviews: Sustenance by Chelsea Quinn Yarbo
Sustenance by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
The vampire Count Saint-Germain protects Americans fleeing persecution—and becomes trapped in a web of betrayal, deceit, and murder in post-WWII Europe in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s SUSTENANCE
The powerful House Un-American Activities Committee hunted communists both at home and abroad. In the late 1940s, the vampire Count Saint-Germain is caught up in intrigue surrounding a group of Americans who have fled to postwar Paris. Some speak out against HUAC and battle the authorities.
Saint-Germain swears to do his best to protect his friends, but even his skills may not be able to stand against agents of the OSS and the brand-new CIA. And he has an unexpected weakness: his lover, Charis, who has returned to Paris under mysterious circumstances.
Sustenance by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro is the twenty-seventh book in her St. Germain series, and at this point, new readers may be daunted by the sheer scale of the series. But, with the basic premise understood, one can jump into this series at almost any point without losing too much.
In this outing, vampire Count Saint-Germain is protecting Americans fleeing persecution, , and who have attracted the attention of the House Un-American Activities Committee, which hunts communists both in the United States and abroad. In doing so, Saint-Germain finds himself embroiled in a murderous plot in Europe after the Second World War.
Although Saint-Germain has abilities beyond those of his human friends, much of the plot of this series revolves around the fact that even a vampire cannot rely on the supernatural, and must approach a problem through a combination of cunning, and at times, by seemingly fleeing in the opposite direction.
Such is the case here, but Saint-Germain must look into the reasons behind his lover Charis’ mysterious return to Paris, as well as deal with the newly formed CIA, and agents of the OSS.
If one is familiar with Yarbro’s books, then the preface of historical information will be expected, and for anyone new to the series, this background is both interesting reading, and sets up the events of the book. This section can also provide details about the fates of characters from previous books, and learn more about what exactly constitutes vampirism in Yarbro’s novels.
Overall, the book is well-written, with many plot threads that may not come together as neatly as some readers might like, but there is plenty to absorb, both about the history of a postwar landscape, and the characters, which makes it hang together more or less in one piece.
(Received a copy from the publisher)
1. Hotel Transylvania
2. The Palace
3. Blood Games
4. Path of the Eclipse
5. Tempting Fate
6. The Saint-Germain Chronicles
7. Darker Jewels
8. Better in the Dark
9. Mansions of Darkness
10. Writ in Blood
11. Blood Roses
12. Communion Blood
13. Come Twilight
14. A Feast in Exile
15. Night Blooming
16. Midnight Harvest
17. Dark of the Sun
18. States of Grace
19. Roman Dusk
20. Borne in Blood
22. A Dangerous Climate
23. Burning Shadows
24. An Embarrassment of Riches
25. Commedia della Morte
26. Night Pilgrims