DARKNESS, I by Tanith Lee


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 Third in a hitherto paperback fantasy/horror series (Personal Darkness, etc.) about the immortal, predatory, vampirish Scarabae- -although they aren't obliged to drink blood, nor are they much bothered by daylight, crucifixes, or garlic. Rachaela, half- Scarabae, gives birth to a daughter, white-haired, delicately built Anna, who by the age of two attains the stature of a 16-year-old. Anna may be a reincarnation of Ruth, Rachaela's other daughter, a murderer and murder victim; gradually, Rachaela loses all feeling both for Anna and for the woman she loves, Althene (she's actually a man), and subsides into an alcoholic haze. One day in a London cemetery, Anna is abducted and conveyed to a pyramid in the polar ice, where dwells Cain, a powerful Scarabae. Another Scarabae, Camillo, leads a biker gang and likes to hang out with down-and- outs. Other children kidnapped by Cain draw near to the pyramid. Althene becomes Johanon, her real identity, and visiting her mad mother Sophie in Amsterdam becomes trapped there. Malach, another ancient Scarabae, once Ruth's lover, appears at the pyramid but fails to win Anna's release and is tortured for his pains. Anna slowly becomes Ruth and succumbs to Cain's ministrations. Rachaela rediscovers her love for Althene/Johanon and rushes off to rescue her. A noteworthy vampire variant, set forth in Lee's remarkably textured, glittering prose, though the numerous meandering, occasionally coinciding plotlets provide insufficient structural firmness to really compel the attention.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-312-13956-X
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1995


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