Simmons (Summer of Night, Carrion Comfort, Song of Kali, etc.) slips into Bram Stoker/Anne Rice territory and writes his best novel ever. The title's children of the night are those frail, ravaged infants we see televised from Romanian orphanages. Is it bad taste to suck blood from those fly-covered kids to pump up a commercial horror novel? Well, Simmons puts them to such imaginative use that ghastliness disappears. It seems that the late dictator Ceauescu and his wonderful wife Elena--in the pay of Romania's strigoi, the vampire family haunting Romania since the 1400's--outlawed birth control so that orphanages could burgeon as living blood banks for needy vamps. Vampire ruler Vernor Deacon Trent (Lord Dracula), who has had Castle Dracula rebuilt--after many, many centuries--is tired of life, wishes to die and to invest his title in his offspring, the infant Joshua. However, Joshua, now being kept in an orphanage, is adopted by American research hematologist Kate Newman, who takes him to America. Using marvelous equipment, she discovers that Joshua has both an extraordinary, all-encompassing blood type and an organ in his stomach for digesting blood and rebuilding it as a vehicle for superimmunity. Clearly, Joshua's blood, once the chemists can break it down, will supply agents that can lick AIDS, cancer, and you name it. (Simmons's strongest ploy is the superb panache of his immense and endless pedantry about blood types, which he treats as if Jesus were being reborn in this amazing blood gift.) But the strigoi chase down Kate and Joshua in the States, trash Kate's lab and research, and kidnap Joshua. Kate takes off for Romania in the company of a soon-to-resign Catholic priest (don't miss the bathtub scene as he breaks 18 years of celibacy), and once there fights her way to Castle Dracula on the eve of Joshua's investiture.... Toothsomely well written.