Monday, January 7, 2013

Fevre Dream by George R.R Martin

Despite being quite a fan of George R.R Martin's epic A Song of Ice and Fire, I had never actually read anything else written by the man.

Fevre Dream was written in the early 80's, well before Martin had the vision that kicked off A Song of Ice and Fire, and just before the vampire fiction boom.

It's a wonderful idea, to set a vampire story on a riverboat and Martin imbues the story with all the colour and character that that sort of setting evokes.

Abner Marsh (I could not get it out of my head that he looked like George Martin, just taller and younger looking) is a down on his luck riverboat captain when he is approached by the well heeled Joshua York.

York has money and allows Abner to realise his dream of building a grand riverboat that may even challenge the mighty Eclipse for the unofficial Queen of the River title. Against advice Abner names the boat Fevre Dream.

Before long Abner has been drawn into Joshua York's personal crusade to transform the vampire population of earth from predators to respectable members of society.

This will bring them into conflict with his diametric opposite Damon Julian and have tragic consequences for all concerned.

It's a marvelously atmospheric piece and a dark, heavy air hangs over it, just like the miasma that travels down the river ways they ply.

Even if George Martin's name hadn't been plastered all over the cover I would have know that he wrote it. There are his hallmarks in the characters and the descriptions, the bleak material and the endless and loving descriptions of food.

It's a powerful book and one that is filled with ideas that were revolutionary and new for the time when the book came out. I'm not sure how many vampire fiction writers since Fevre Dream's publication have read it, but I suspect that a good few of them owe Martin's now classic work a great debt.

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