Review of THE VAMPIRE TAPESTRY by Suzy McKee Charnas (see her website)
Orb Books, August 2008
He appears to be an intellectual, a professor. But Afrikaner Katje knows she sees something else--a predator. She's convinced Professor Edward Weyland is a vampire. Unlikely as it would seem, she's right. Ultimately, when Weyland decides to make her his victim, Katje strikes back, shooting and wounding him. Injured, Weyland falls into the hands of a group who propose to make him a circus sideshow or, ultimately, the center of a new religion. But Weyland is tougher than they imagine, and more convincing. He escapes from them, but can he really escape from all of the hunters?
Weyland prides himself on his differences from ordinary humans, on his cool, his rational approach to life, his unwillingness to yeild to sappy emotions, but over time, with the help of a psychologist who he needs to persuade his college he's sane, then with the help of music, he begins to lose his firm grip on pure intellectualism. Clearly this is a weakness--how much does a vampire dare empathize with his prey?
Author Suzy McKee Charnas strips away the veil of magic and the mathematical illusion that vampires could spread their virus with every bite and envisions a vampire that depends on humans for sustenance, who must live among humans, yet who fears the bonfires and the attacks of enraged humans. It's an intriguingly different take on the vampire myth, and Weyland makes for an interesting and strangely sympathetic character.
I confess I had moments where I considered putting this book down. The opening scene, from Katje's point of view, was fairly weak as Katje was unsympathetic and lacked motive. Still, something about the story drove me to continue, and Charnas managed to re-grip my interest. I found the scenes written from Edward's point of view strongest and definitely enjoyed the twist at the end.
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