Book Cover
Title The Golden
Series ---
Author Lucius Shepard
Cover Art Marbury/Art Resource, NY
Publisher Bantam Books - 1993
First Printing ---
Category Horror
Warnings Explicit sexual situations and blood

Main Characters

Michel Beheim, Lady Alexandra, Roland Agenor

Main Elements Vampires

An evocative, unforgettable novel of vampires and blood lust...

They are the Family. They are vampires. And they have gathered at Castle Banat to savor one they call the Golden, a mortal whose bloodlines reflect more than three centuries of careful, patient breeding.

Now that the wait is over at last, they have come from all across Europe for the Decanting, eager to drink the exquisite, long anticiapte elixir. But what should be one of the Family's finest moments is snatched from them. For someone ruthlessly murders the Golden, ravaging her body to drain every last drop of precious blood...and robbing her or the immortality - the change from life to life - that would have been hers.

The task of hunting down the killer falls to Michel Beheim, former chief of detectives in the Paris police force. A mere child among the Family, only two years a Vampire compared to the centuries many other claim, Beheim believes he will be able to solve this murder as he solved those of his former life. But the motivations, the actions - the very concept of evil - are quite different for vampires than for ordinary mortals.

It is the Lady Alexandra who first demonstrates just how dangerous Beheim's lack of experience may prove when she comes to his apartments to offer a clue, or rather, a hint of evidence. Both the murder and his investigation are part of a greater game, she says. Then - as cruel as she is seductive - she warns her new chosen lover that he should make no assumptions with regard to the players' ultimate goals...not even her own.

So Beheim enters the game, following a twisting trail that leads from Alexandra's arms into the terrifying nightmare depths of Castle a hidden chamber that holds secrets even the Family cannot the lairs of centuries-old vampires possessed of knowledge and powers far beyond his own. And, in the midst of his fear and new hungers, Michel Beheim discovers that his professional skills alone cannot save him from those who would condemn him to an eternal hell, or from the unfathomable, growing darkness in his own immortal soul.

A perverse, yet oddly fascinating view of the world through the eyes of a vampire. Though Michel Beheim still clings to his human self, there is nothing human about the vampires he comes in contact with, and ultimately, even within himself.

This is a book where a single sentence may last for a page and a half, and yet not feel a word too long. A tale about a journey of self-discovery, even as Beheim investigates a murder in his midst. He learns about the nature of his kin, a kin quite unlike our own, and this things he learns are impossible for the reader to grasp, though we can cling just enough to not be completely lost in the imagery. The meeting with the Patriach, the first and oldest vampire, is as surreal and as close as one can get to understanding death without understanding anything about it. Of knowing what the mind of a being that old and that powerful might be like. Nearly the presence of a god, a being for which death is only a Mystery of which he is the lord and master.

To give this philosophical narrative a solid grounding in reality, it all takes place in the context of a murder investigation, something both we and Michel Beheim are quite familiar with. A mystery whose solution is at the same time surprising and yet not.

Be forewarned that there are some disturbing scenes in this book. The Family are cold and they treat those around them, their humans and even each other, with disdain.

I have to admit I can't think of anything else I've read that quite compares to the way this book was written. It is more of a stream of conciousness that something that follows a concret plot. You'll either enjoy the glimpse into the decandent world of vampires, or leave thinking, "Huh? What was that all about?".

Posted: December 2004


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