Another difficult venture for Yarbro’s saintly vampire, the Count Saint-Germain (Blood Roses, 1998, etc.). The Count’s greatest friend and fellow-vampire, the late Atta Olivia Clemens, left her considerable estates to Niklos Aurilios, a vampire who served her faithfully for over 1,300 years. But in the Rome of 1689, blood heirs are regarded as paramount by the courts, servants are despised, and Ahrent Julius Rothofen, claiming to be a relative of Olivia’s entirely fictitious husband, aims to seize Niklos’s legacy. Of course the Count must travel to Rome to assist Niklos. But this is a time of great tension between the Roman Church and the mostly Protestant Holy Roman Empire (Rothofen is part of Archbishop Siegfried Walmund’s entourage), the Inquisition is a law unto itself, and the Count will need all his considerable skills to help Niklos while avoiding exposure. Another impeccably researched, fully engaging episode in the Count’s lengthy undeath.