Richly researched 14th volume in the Ragoczy, Count Saint-Germain, vampire historicals, begun in the deep mists of publishing with Hotel Transylvania (1978), though the Count himself is perhaps 5,000 years old, having been apparently 3,000 years old in the 4th century of Blood Roses (1998) and 3,500 years undead in the 6th century (Come Twilight, 2000). Few works in the series are sequential, with some tales set in the 20th century. Now in 14th-century India and Asia, he is known as Sanat Ji Mani and witnesses the ghastly sacking of Delhi by the Tartar warlord Timur-i-Lenhk, known to moderns like Christopher Marlowe as Tamburlaine the Great, or Tamerlane. The Turko-Mongol takes Ragoczy captive, but the Count is befriended by Tulsi-Kil, a female acrobat, who helps him escape. He is warned, though (by Tulsi’s hairy female companion, Djerat), that he cannot have congress with the tumbler: “She will not risk starvation or death for a length of hot flesh in her woman’s portal.” During this period—exposed to the sun, a staple in his right foot—he shrinks and burns but survives by drinking at night from the necks of mules. Eventually, he beds Tulsi, her chastity a feast in exile (“her eyes closed with the enormity of her abandon”), and the two must decide whether she will become as he is, although it would mean they must part. Yarbro, all along, sprinkles her text with period summaries and with letters (in italics) from Ragoczy’s far-flung friends and servants. In the end, Tulsi vanishes.
The Wheel turns for all of us.