Jul 16, 2010

The Blood Opera Sequence by Tanith Lee

Tanith Lee has consistently been among the finest fantasy writers in recent years. Her forays into the vampire world include a series titled the Blood Opera Sequence - a trilogy that should be read in order. Think of it as one big novel. It may take a bit of hunting since the books are our of print, but it is well worth the effort.

The titles are:  Dark Dance (Dell, 1992); Personal Darkness (Dell, 1993); and Darkness, I (St. Martin's 1996).

The following is from Vampire Readings: An Annotated Bibliography by Patricia Altner. (Scarecrow Pres, 1998).

The Scarabae are an ancient family of vampires who live like much of the rest of humanity, but differ in that their lives can extend cor centuries, and they have an occasional need for human blood. The three novels of this series center on Rachaela and her daughters Ruth and Anna.

From the time she was a child, Racheaela's mother had warned her to stay away from her father's family - the Scarabae. They were evil, she had said. But the pull of the family is irresistible. Rachaela tries to hide, but they find her, and she goes to live with them in the family mansion. Here, she becomes pregnant with her first Scarbae child, Ruth.

Some twelve years later, Rachaela has a love affair which produces another Scarabae daughter, Anna. Although each girl has a different father, in many ways they are chillingly the same. The Scarabae world holds many secrets, including a history that reaches back to biblical times. Tanith Lee's lyrical writing style adds to the surreal quality of this sensual, offbeat vampire saga.

Dark Dance Book 1. Rachaela enters the house of the Scarabae. There she meets the man who fathers her daughter Ruth. The full force of the family curse is visited on this child.

Personal Darkness Book 2. The Scarabae realize that Ruth has a great deal of darkness within her. They call upon another branch of the family to send someone who might be ble to sve her. Meanwhile Rachaela has a new lovet - another Scarabae. She is once again pregnant.

Darkness, I Book 3. Children throughout the world are being kidnapped. One who is a target of this plot is Anna, Rachaela's very precocious second daughter. In this third book the reader is given an interesting glimpse t the strage and complex history of the Scarabae family.


Sandy Rainey said...

Awesome choice, Patricia! The Scarabae books are among my top five vampire series of all time, and Tanith Lee is a genius. Her writing is so distinctive and unique. Someone once called it her "spiky prose," and I've never forgotten it because it's such an apt description. These books are sexy, but they also have verve and attitude. They're dark without being mopey. They're just plain marvelous.

Patricia Altner said...

Hi Sandy

You've given an excellent description of Tanith Lee's writing which I have found hard to capture. Her off-beat characters and imaginative worlds are like no other.

Next time I can catch a breath I want to reread this series.