A dynamic, entertaining journey that takes vampire fiction back to its roots.

Vampire Jacques, The Last Templar


From the Rider of the Sun series , Vol. 1

Debut author 2-shirt begins a sprawling, epic trilogy of classically styled vampire novels, spanning centuries and exploring the extremes of good and evil.

This story begins rooted in truth: Jacques de Molay, the final Grand Master of the Knights Templar, was a genuine historical figure, sentenced to death in 1314 after he recanted his confession—offered under torture—to acts of depravity and sacrilege. In both the novel and in real life, the Templars’ treasure and King Phillip IV’s debts played a significant role in de Molay’s trial, but the similarities stop there. Rather than ending Jacques’ story with a burning at the stake, the book lends credence to the accusations of his demonic proclivities. Its version of Jacques submits his soul to Mithras, a dark god of great power. Jacques’ immortality takes him across Europe, taking vengeance against the royals and struggling against other mighty supernatural creatures, including his own vampire kin. Weeks and months quickly blur into centuries as Jacques has many other strange, frightening encounters, sometimes with famous figures of the medieval and Renaissance periods. But ultimately, his greatest challenges come from within, as he must weigh his dark gifts and Templar morality against a chance to recover his soul and fight for a real future. The weight of all these ideas and the time span of the story would drag many books down, but this novel is a delightful exception. The prose here is solid and confident, moving smoothly and easily between scenes of blood and violence and startling insights into characters, the complexities of vampire lore, and legends such as that of the Ark of the Covenant. Vampire fans are sure to delight in these rich details, but lovers of historical fiction will also be captivated by the depictions of everything from the French aristocracy to the wilds of Russia’s Ural Mountains to Leonardo Da Vinci’s workshop. The struggle over Jacques’ soul may feel overly familiar to some readers, but the novel’s tight pacing and breadth of focus more than make up for it.

A dynamic, entertaining journey that takes vampire fiction back to its roots.

Pub Date: July 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-69-237769-7

Page Count: 210

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

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While a few weeks ago it seemed as if Praeger would have a two month lead over Dutton in their presentation of this Soviet best seller, both the "authorized" edition (Dutton's) and the "unauthorized" (Praeger's) will appear almost simultaneously. There has been considerable advance attention on what appears to be as much of a publishing cause celebre here as the original appearance of the book in Russia. Without entering into the scrimmage, or dismissing it as a plague on both your houses, we will limit ourselves to a few facts. Royalties from the "unauthorized" edition will go to the International Rescue Committee; Dutton with their contracted edition is adhering to copyright conventions. The Praeger edition has two translators and one of them is the translator of Doctor Zhivago Dutton's translator, Ralph Parker, has been stigmatized by Praeger as "an apologist for the Soviet regime". To the untutored eye, the Dutton translation seems a little more literary, the Praeger perhaps closer to the rather primitive style of the original. The book itself is an account of one day in the three thousand six hundred and fifty three days of the sentence to be served by a carpenter, Ivan Denisovich Shukhov. (Solzhenitsyn was a political prisoner.) From the unrelenting cold without, to the conditions within, from the bathhouse to the latrine to the cells where survival for more than two weeks is impossible, this records the hopeless facts of existence as faced by thousands who went on "living like this, with your eyes on the ground". The Dutton edition has an excellent introduction providing an orientation on the political background to its appearance in Russia by Marvin Kalb. All involved in its publication (translators, introducers, etc.) claim for it great "artistic" values which we cannot share, although there is no question of its importance as a political and human document and as significant and tangible evidence of the de-Stalinization program.

Pub Date: June 15, 1963

ISBN: 0451228146

Page Count: 181

Publisher: Praeger

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1963

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The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

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Four men who meet as college roommates move to New York and spend the next three decades gaining renown in their professions—as an architect, painter, actor and lawyer—and struggling with demons in their intertwined personal lives.

Yanagihara (The People in the Trees, 2013) takes the still-bold leap of writing about characters who don’t share her background; in addition to being male, JB is African-American, Malcolm has a black father and white mother, Willem is white, and “Jude’s race was undetermined”—deserted at birth, he was raised in a monastery and had an unspeakably traumatic childhood that’s revealed slowly over the course of the book. Two of them are gay, one straight and one bisexual. There isn’t a single significant female character, and for a long novel, there isn’t much plot. There aren’t even many markers of what’s happening in the outside world; Jude moves to a loft in SoHo as a young man, but we don’t see the neighborhood change from gritty artists’ enclave to glitzy tourist destination. What we get instead is an intensely interior look at the friends’ psyches and relationships, and it’s utterly enthralling. The four men think about work and creativity and success and failure; they cook for each other, compete with each other and jostle for each other’s affection. JB bases his entire artistic career on painting portraits of his friends, while Malcolm takes care of them by designing their apartments and houses. When Jude, as an adult, is adopted by his favorite Harvard law professor, his friends join him for Thanksgiving in Cambridge every year. And when Willem becomes a movie star, they all bask in his glow. Eventually, the tone darkens and the story narrows to focus on Jude as the pain of his past cuts deep into his carefully constructed life.  

The phrase “tour de force” could have been invented for this audacious novel.

Pub Date: March 10, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-385-53925-8

Page Count: 720

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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