A DANGEROUS CLIMATE
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

 


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The 21st Saint-Germain Book
Tor, Oct 2008
Reviewed by Joy Calderwood

The vampire Saint-Germain has been sent to the Russia of Peter the Great. He is pretending to be a Hungarian Count because the real Arpad Arco-Tolvay has inconveniently gone missing. The real Count has a Polish wife, and Saint-Germain and Zozia are acting on behalf of the King of Poland.

The city of Saint Petersburg is being built out of a swamp, on the orders of the Tsar. Disease and weather are often deadly, while Saint-Germain must protect not only his disguise as the Count, but also his disguise as a human. His skills with water drainage equipment are useful to the Tsar, and his insight is useful to the king of Poland.

An unknown someone has targeted Saint-Germain for death for reasons that are never fully explained, but that is to be expected in Saint-Germain's life. Because of the attack he finds the care-house, a hospital for anyone of rank in the primitive surroundings of Saint Petersburg. He feels comfortable here, in the company of friends and using the centuries of study he has put into medical learning. The care-house becomes the focus of his days. By contrast the upper-class social life of the foreign ambassadors is a minefield which Saint-Germain negotiates with the grace of long practice, if not always with enjoyment. Very different kinds of danger come from the Tsar himself, and from Saint-Germain's Polish "wife" and her brother.

I see a marked shift of approach from ROMAN DUSK of this series, which I reviewed most recently. In ROMAN DUSK, vicious enemies abounded and Saint-Germain and his friends were in deadly danger most of the time. A DANGEROUS CLIMATE has what feels to me to be the perfect balance of friendship, intrigue and danger. And let's not forget the gift that author Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has for bringing to life whatever setting she puts Saint-Germain into.

A DANGEROUS CLIMATE gives us a vivid, involving combination of research, intuition and psychology. As in the rest of the series, Saint-Germain is the admirable hero of a rewarding and intelligent read.

Dec 2008

 

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