Saturday, March 4, 2017
The Stress Of Her Regard by Tim Powers
It is the Romantic Era in England. Dr. Michael Crawford stops at an inn the night before his marriage to the beautiful Julia. He and his friends have a typical bachelor party and on his way to bed, inebriated, he takes his fiance's wedding ring out of his pocket and slips on the finger of a statue of a woman. When he comes to the next morning, he rushes down to the yard but the statue is nowhere to be found. He buys a substitute ring from the innkeeper and rides on to his wedding. That night, he sleeps heavily after his honeymoon night with Julia. He awakes the next morning to a horrific sight. Julia has been murdered during the night and not just murdered but brutally torn apart. He flees the room in horror and as he realises that he is the prime suspect, flees England also.
He comes to discover that he is the victim of the Nephelim, a race of vampires and stone creatures that crave human interaction. He moves across Europe, helped by others in his same predicament. Some are like him, brought into the realm of the creature's desires by fate or a foolish act. Some seek the Nephelim out for their ability to become Muses and grant the victim marvelous powers of creation. As he moves about, he encounters famous poets such as John Keats, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron, all men desired by the nephelim. They started by seeking them out for their ability to help them write poetry but end by being willing to do anything to break free of their insidious powers. Crawford and his companion, who is Julia's twin sister, work with the men to break the control the vampire/Nephelims have over all their lives. Can they be successful?
Tim Powers is one of the legendary names of fantasy. He has won the Phillip K. Kick Memorial Award twice and the World Fantasy Award three times. His most accessible work, On Stranger Tides, was the basis for the highly successful Pirates Of The Caribbean movies. His trademark is lush language that outlines a historical venue that slowly turns horrific. His research of the history on which he bases his novels is supreme and the reader is totally absorbed in his narrative. I listened to this book over several weeks as I was on my daily walk and it was always a fascinating experience. This book is recommended for fantasy and horror readers.