Dec 8, 2009

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro - Guest Blog

One of the best known names in vampire/paranormal literature is Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. Her vampire hero is Count Saint-Germain, a gentleman and hero to many throughout his many centuries of existence. PVN is honored to have Ms Yarbro as a guest blogger to tell us about Saint Germain and his new adventure in Burning Shadows Tor Books (December 8, 2009).

At the end of this entry look for contest information.

About  Burning Shadows

by Chelsea Quinn  Yarbro

     This twenty-third book in the Saint-Germain Cycle takes place during the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, in 438-440 A.D.  And it really was Anno Domino. Christianity had been the official religion of the Roman Empire, East and West for a century, and it was beginning to exert political as well as religious strength throughout Roman and former Roman territory.  Religious establishments, such as churches and monasteries, became important centers as towns came under literal and metaphorical attack.  Just the sort of historical pickle in which most Saint-Germain stories are set.

      There was a shadow over the Empire beyond the increasing chaos in the West, and that was the increasing mass of invaders from the east.  The Goths, Germanic peoples from what is now southern Russia, were well-established in the former Roman province of Dacia, today’s Hungary and Romania, along with the Gepidae, another Germanic tribe, occupying the region with the natives, including the Carpati and Daci. Although vestiges of Roman authority remained in Dacia, the province had been lost to the Empire for more than fifty years, the result of a gradual retreat of troops and civil infrastructure.

      Into this confusion came the second wave of Huns; the first had reached the Eastern Roman Empire forty years earlier and were assimilating into the 

Byzantine culture as were many other so-called barbarian groups; most often they served as craftsmen and mercenaries, sometimes comprising whole companies of cavalry in the Byzantine armies.  The second wave wasn’t so cooperative: their leader, Attila, had powerful ambitions and enough mounted soldiers to put his ambitions into effect.  Their first successful campaigns were on the Hungarian plateau; they were marked by ferocious cavalry attacks and massive destruction that became legendary within a year, spreading terror throughout the portion of the former Empire where there were no Legions to guard the towns, bridges, and roads, where neither the Eastern nor the Western Empire was prepared to go just to protect barbarians, no matter how many Romans remained in the area.  As mentioned already, the Eastern Empire had many Hunnic mercenaries in their armies, and feared an uprising within the armies’ ranks if the Byzantines should take up arms on behalf of the Christian centers in the former Roman provinces, and the Western Empire had neither sufficient troops nor funds to pay hired mercenaries to defend their few remaining outposts in that part of the world.

      As stories of the Huns reach towns in the former Roman province, more and more inhabitants decide to move out of their way, choosing either the prosperous Byzantine half of the Roman Empire, or the older Roman portion as their destination.  The very fact of their moving enhanced the Huns’ reputation, so that the people who feared the Huns succeeded in frightening themselves into a state of constant terror —   and we know how unpredictable, irrational, and restless terrified people can be.  Those without a specific place to go the people of the region often retreated into walled Christian establishments, which is what happens to the people of the town where Saint-Germain has been serving as the magistrate/administrator, a post left over from Roman days.

      Dispatching Roger to Constantinople to set up his mistress in comfort and safety, Saint-Germain is pretty much on his own in Apulum Inferior when it becomes apparent that it isn’t safe to remain in the town, and those who want to survive will need to move to more protected quarters higher in the mountains, since the Huns, being plains’ cavalry, are at a disadvantage among the crags and valleys of the Carpathians.  Fighting in those mountains compelled the Huns to change their assault tactics, and led in time to far more efficient assaults on fortified installations.

      Three other towns are emptying of people who are now also en route to the same safe haven in the southern part of the Carpathian Mountains, and between weather and deteriorating roads and bridges, all of them are having a hard time getting there. The Monastery of Santu-Eustachios the Hermit is required to shelter Christians, but the monastery is quickly straining at the seams as the people come crowding in.  The leaders of the various groups do their best to establish and maintain order but with the growing threat of Hunnic attack, this is not an easy task.

      To help him in his efforts to provide medical care, Saint-Germain takes as assistant: Nicoris is an outsider, who has been the goatherd for one of the isolated villages, and she becomes crucial to him, assisting him in all manner of procedures.  Eventually he and Nicoris become intimate, although he realizes she is keeping a secret from him —   not easily done when this vampire has tasted blood.  Since he would prefer she tell him what he knows, he doesn’t press her to reveal what her secret is.

      Roger, still in Constantinople, is being detained by the order of a zealous monk, and cannot return to Dacia.  Apprised of these complications, Olivia, in Aquileia, the jewel of the northern Adriatic Sea, sends Niklos Aulirios with supplies to find Saint-Germain and help him.

      After two Hunnic raiding parties try to raid the monastery, it becomes obvious that the place cannot continue to stand against the Huns, and plans are made to get as many people away safely, in spite of hazards, including spies who, in exchange for promised rewards, manage to get messages to Attila that speeds the evacuations.

      Thematically, this story has to do with the cultural unraveling of the Western Roman Empire, and the terrorism practiced by the Huns under Attila. It is a period in history that’s often glossed over in survey courses, which is too bad, since it is rich culturally and in terms of how the Roman Empire came undone and the foundations for modern-day Europe took form in its rubble.  Chaotic and bloody the period may be, but it explains many of the positions taken by the nations that developed over the next thousand years.  It was also the time during which the Church, East and West, became intertwined with the military politics of the two branches of the divided Empire, some for sterling motives, other less so.

      Saint-Germain always has to be particularly discreet in isolated, enclosed societies, which Santu-Eustachios the Hermit certainly is, for disclosure of his true nature would expose him to serious danger.  Circumspection in all things is required of him in a situation where it is hard to maintain that discretion.  He has a secret that imperils him.  The story also examines how Nicoris attempts to keep a secret from Saint-Germain, an entirely different proposition, no matter how much the same they may appear.          

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

See a list of Saint-Germain novels in historical order.

Now for the contest

One lucky commenter will win a copy of  Burning Shadows.
Contest is open to residents of the U. S. and Canada.

To be eligible do one or more of the following:
* Name your favorite nice guy or nice gal vampire.
* Link this interview to your own site or a social network site, and be sure to let me know the URL

If your email is not associated with your ID, please put the address in your response.

Contest ends Dec. 22, 2009.

Burning Shadows Blog Tour Stops:


    booklover0226 said...

    The first CQY book I read was Blood Games and I was hooked!

    Though I do find Saint-Germain as a nice vampire. I also think John-Matthew of the J.R. Ward's series a sweet vampire, too.

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 AT gmail DOT com

    IT Boss Lady said...

    Hmm... favorite nice guy/girl vampire would have to be Queen Betsy from MaryJanice Davidson's series.

    I tweeted about it (if that counts):

    Happy Holidays!!

    Rachel M

    Unknown said...

    Hi :)
    Thank you for taking the time to post here today, Chelsea. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Congratulations on your Release Day today. Do you think you'll get a Twitter account, even just to save your name like J.K. Rowling?
    My favorite nice vampire is Anne Rice's Louis.
    Happy Holidays,
    PS - I tweeted this interview.

    Darlene said...

    I've got this posted at Win a Book for you. No need to enter me.

    Ida Brugler said...

    Congrads on your release of Burning Shadows.

    My favorite nice guy/girl vampire? Do i really have to pick only one?
    Ok, I guess i will have to say Sherrilyn Kenyon's Acheron. For someone treated so badly and still he defends all... someone give that man a cookie!

    Anonymous said...

    I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
    My favourite good guy vampire is Edward Cullen.

    Kimberly B. said...

    I'd have to say St. Germain is my favorite vampire nice guy, because he was my first! Second would probably be Ivy Tamwood in Kim Harrison's series. Thanks!

    Keta Diablo said...

    Lovely interview. So nice to hear about a piece of history we didn't know before. And I love everything and anything about history.

    I've only recently jumped on to the bandwagon with the vampire craze (thanks to Patricia) and I'm thoroughly enjoying reading and writing about them.

    Thanks for the post and much good luck to you with your new release!

    I have to go along with Acheron from Kenyon's novel. The kind of tortured man we all love to love.

    Happy Holidays,
    Keta Diablo

    Misty said...

    Congradulations on Book release. My favorite nice vampire hmm, that's a hard one I have a few. I'm going to say Louis from Interview with a Vampire, but I also like Bill from Sookie series and Edward from Twilight Saga and John-Matthew from Black Dagger Brotherhood series.
    Enjoyed reading the post and would love the chance to read one of your books for you are a new author to me and I like the historical back ground it would be a nice change from what I've been reading.

    misty_labean yahoo com

    Gypsy Jane said...

    I can do that. Link is on facebook at
    And of course my favorite vampire is St. Germain and has been for years.

    Susan Blexrud said...

    Oh, I love a good historical vampires. Thanks for the lovely post, Chelsea and Patricia. My favorite good guy vampire is Eric in Charlaine Harris's series. Don't give me gaff that he's not a good guy. He IS! I posted on my Facebook page, and I'd love to read your new book. My son is working on a doctorate in the classics, and I'm gifting him with a Chelsea Yarbro for Christmas!

    Ida Brugler said...

    sorry forgot e-mail
    Thanks, Ida

    Cherry said...

    Don't include me in the contest Pat, am not in the US/Canada. But, re-posted your contest at:

    Goodluck to everybody who are participating! Enjoy the contest!!

    bevsclark said...

    Edward Cullen has captured my heart! He is the nicest and sexiest vampire.

    bevsclark at gmail dot com

    Stacey Brucale said...

    I really like Jasper Cullen from Twilight.


    Anonymous said...

    I love vampires in historical fiction! Would it be terribly wrong of my to suggest my own protagonist, Miranda Dandridge, as my favorite vampire with a heart (she does rescue Jewish children from concentration camps)? I mentioned this contest over at my own blog here:

    Daria Drake said...

    St. Germain is my favorite, hands down. I love the incredible depth of research that goes into these books, that with everyone I get to learn about a particularly exciting era past in addition to a compelling story.


    Bart said...

    I just discovered you Saint Gaermain series and I plan to get the first book (Blood Games) ASAP.

    I have no comments because I have never read a book about vampires (sounds crazy, I know) but there it is.

    Things change.

    Valerie Douglas aka V.J. Devereaux said...

    Oh, Lord I tripped over this blog on someone else's Facebook page. I just reconnected with Saint Germain, and, as self-serving as it sounds, he is still my favorite vampire. (I also turned his books on to my mother, my Aunt Marge and my cousin Mary. LOL)

    But more even than the character is the history in which he's set - it's a wonderful exposure to those periods, and the mindsets of the day.

    Thanks, Ms. Yarbro, the Count has been a touchstone over the course of my life, and remains one.
    (and thanks Debi Sullivan - if I hadn't been looking to comment back to you, I wouldn't have seen this!)

    Julie S said...

    I think Edward from Twilight is a very good "nice guy" vampire. The whole refusing to turn someone because he thinks they'll lose their soul, kinda neat.


    Boone Brux said...

    I am a sucker for historic backdrops. Then to drop the paranormal smack-dab in the middle is beyond temptation. I must have this book. Oops, I guess I'm going to have to start from the beginning of Saint Germain's story. Oh well, if I must. I'm actually giddy at the thought of reading this book. What a wonderful plot.
    Boone Brux

    Andrea I said...

    I like Adrian Phoenix's Dante.

    Qwill said...

    I started reading Count Saint-Germain's stories with Hotel Transylvania, which I got from a book club when it was first released!

    Nice guy vampire? Ryu from Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler.

    Dot S.( said...

    My favorite nice-girl vampire is fledgling Merit from the Chloe Neill series Chaicagoland Vampires.

    Anonymous said...

    Nice guy vampire? Marius de Romanus... the best vampire ever, of course.

    Vickie said...

    How have I been reading paranormal fiction for lo these many years and not read CQY? Must remedy this ASAP!

    My favorite nice guy vampire, Angel on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    Vickie said...

    VWinship at aol dot com

    Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

    Hi Chelsea! I've been a fan for years and years! Wow! SOOOO great to see a new St. G release. Thanks! I love all your work. :>

    Fav vampire is St. Germain, followed by Acheron, I guess. Other than St. G, I'm not that big of a vamp fan. Grins.

    Best, Jeanne
    Jeanne AT JeanneAdams DOT com

    Thrilling Romantic Suspense - Dark and Dangerous, Dark and Deadly - by Jeanne Adams

    justpeachy36 said...

    One of my favorite vampire characters is Tereas Medeiros', Julian Kane from the books After Midnight and The Vampire Who Loved Me. He is definitely a brooder lol...

    Please enter me in the giveaway.

    Leslie said...

    I like Tanya Huff's Henry Fitzroy. I enjoy the humor of having a male vampire be a successful romance novelist. To me that speaks of understanding female psychology.

    I have attached a link to this page/blog on my website...I've been reading blog for awhile and finally thought, why not?

    Happy Holidays!

    Lainey said...

    OMG Saint-Germain was my VERY FIRST vampire I ever read and I had all the books way back when but I lost them many years ago and never replaced them. I always remembered his name though haha even over Anne Rice's.I NEED TO GO BUY THE WHOLE SERIES and re-read all the first ones and catch up so I can get into all of them. Oh my I am so happy I got this email on Facebook it is amazing and life changing. St.G has always set the bar for me although there are other nice vampires out there and yes SK's DHers especially Ash. Thanks for the contest I FOUND YOU and SG again I am SO excited... Yippee. Have a great holiday and thanks again. Elaine aka lainesliteATaolDOTcom

    Dawn M. said...

    I think I'm going to have to agree with others who have posted Edward Cullen from Twilight. The only one who might be nicer is Sam Glass from the Morganville Vampire series by Rachel Caine.

    Thanks! :0)
    librarygrinch at gmail dot com

    Virginia C said...

    The nicest vampire of all...Angel.

    gcwhiskas at aol dot com

    Reading said...

    My fav nice guy vamp is Bill from the Southern Vampire Series.

    lizzi0915 at aol dot com