Read Blood Games by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Free Online
Book Title: Blood Games|
The author of the book: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
ISBN 13: 9780446613798
Date of issue: April 1st 2004
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 35.98 MB
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Reader ratings: 6.1
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Vampire novels actually used to be pretty difficult to find before TWILIGHT came out and renewed everyone's interest in vampires. I remember combing the shelves for them at various used bookstores and only coming across three in as many years of searching: PEEPS by Scott Westerfeld, MIDNIGHT PREDATOR by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, and WRIT IN BLOOD by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. All three are good books, but PEEPS and MIDNIGHT are both young adult books, whereas WRIT IN BLOOD is a bloated historical epic set just before WWI. As a teenager, reading a book like that feels more like work than pleasure, especially given the lengthy details and advanced vocabulary that would make someone who aced the SAT weep.
The books follow a pretty basic formula. It's a reinterpretation of the history of the Comte of Saint-Germain, a historical figure who reputedly claimed to be 500 years old. Yarbro ran with that concept and made him a vampire instead, placing him at various points of historical interest in our timeline. We see him interact with the people in these places as a foreigner, with his lovers, his enemies, and his friends, as he attempts to grasp a political foothold without actually becoming overly involved. The last book I read in this series, THE PALACE, took place in Renaissance Italy, with the Medicis and the Borgias and the terrifying Savonarola. This book takes a total U-turn in the timeline, going back to Nero's Rome, with gladiators and emperors.
In BLOOD GAMES, Saint-Germain is living in a palazzo on the outskirts of Rome. He's well-liked by those in power because of his contributions to the venatio, the events where Roman gladiators and imprisoned victims were forced to battle wild beasts to thte death. If you're curious, you should read the Wikipedia article - I referenced it several times while reading this book just to be sure that I understood all of the vocabulary words, because I am that dedicated.
At a party held by the hedonistic Petronius, a friend to Saint-Germain, he sees an impossibly sad looking woman sitting all by herself. He learns that she is Atta Olivia Clemens, the wife of a powerful Roman senator, Cornelius Justus Silius. Be prepared to hate Justus like no other character you have ever encountered before. He makes Jeoffrey from Game of Thrones look like a member of the Brady Bunch. He sends for the most brutal gladiators under his wife's own name, forcing her to submit as they rape her while he watches before he takes a turn himself. Because if she doesn't, he says, he will call upon all his debts and disgrace her impoverished family before the eyes of Rome. When that isn't enough, he threatens to kill them, sends her slaves to fight to the death in the arena, and exiles her sickly mother to a distant estate where he destroys all her attempts to contact her daughter - he doesn't even tell Olivia when she dies.
BLOOD GAMES has all the features of the Saint-Germain series that I don't really care for - excessive descriptions of costumes, long letters written in very small cursive font, and political intrigue that wears on for just too long to be entertaining. But it's also got some new things that actually surprised me. Saint-Germaine seems a lot more impulsive and impassioned in this book. Yes, the King of the Gary Stus actually loses his temper and makes mistakes that result in the deaths of people he holds dear. At one point, he suffers grievous injuries. Since he's about six hundred years younger here than he was in the previous book, it makes sense that he'd feel younger, and he does. He's much more sexual (although still no peen action) and much more hot-tempered.
I also really enjoyed the focus on the Circus Maximus and how the gladiatorial arena was used for power, vengeance, and political ambitions, frequently in a single sweep. It felt like Yarbro did a lot of research into the games, and the participants who worked both behind the scenes and in the spotlight (either voluntarily or against their will), and considering that this book was written years before the internet was a thing, that makes the attention to detail that much more impressive and daunting. I wasn't expecting the brutality or the blood-shed, of which there is tons, and because of Olivia's barbaric treatment, there are unpleasant descriptions of rape, as well. Yarbro shows how Rome could be ahead of its time in some ways and yet utterly barbaric in other ways.
BLOOD GAMES may actually be my favorite book by her so far. I'm a sucker for Ancient Rome.
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Read information about the authorA professional writer for more than forty years, Yarbro has sold over eighty books, more than seventy works of short fiction, and more than three dozen essays, introductions, and reviews. She also composes serious music. Her first professional writing - in 1961-1962 - was as a playwright for a now long-defunct children's theater company. By the mid-60s she had switched to writing stories and hasn't stopped yet.
After leaving college in 1963 and until she became a full-time writer in 1970, she worked as a demographic cartographer, and still often drafts maps for her books, and occasionally for the books of other writers.
She has a large reference library with books on a wide range of subjects, everything from food and fashion to weapons and trade routes to religion and law. She is constantly adding to it as part of her on-going fascination with history and culture; she reads incessantly, searching for interesting people and places that might provide fodder for stories.
In 1997 the Transylvanian Society of Dracula bestowed a literary knighthood on Yarbro, and in 2003 the World Horror Association presented her with a Grand Master award. In 2006 the International Horror Guild enrolled her among their Living Legends, the first woman to be so honored; the Horror Writers Association gave her a Life Achievement Award in 2009. In 2014 she won a Life Achievement Award from the World Fantasy Convention.
A skeptical occultist for forty years, she has studied everything from alchemy to zoomancy, and in the late 1970s worked occasionally as a professional tarot card reader and palmist at the Magic Cellar in San Francisco.
She has two domestic accomplishments: she is a good cook and an experienced seamstress. The rest is catch-as-catch-can.
Divorced, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area - with two cats: the irrepressible Butterscotch and Crumpet, the Gang of Two. When not busy writing, she enjoys the symphony or opera.
Her Saint-Germain series is now the longest vampire series ever. The books range widely over time and place, and were not published in historical order. They are numbered in published order.
Known pseudonyms include Vanessa Pryor, Quinn Fawcett, T.C.F. Hopkins, Trystam Kith, Camille Gabor.
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