Blood Rites

Blood Rites
Review by The Princess of Cups, submitted on 28-Oct-2001

BLOOD RITES by Elaine Bergstrom, Jove Horror, December 1991 ISBN 0-515-10728-X, PB, $4.50, 332 pages

Bergstrom's BLOOD ALONE was reissued in October as a Halloween promotion. Her fourth novel will be out in October of 1992, but my information didn't say if this would also be a vampire book.

Mini-Review **Spoilers**

Elaine Bergstrom's writing is beginning to show the maturity of a seasoned pro. I enjoyed BLOOD RITES even more than her other two Austra books. Her characterization is good, she brings up the eternal questions of human mortality and death without dwelling on them, and still manages to give her story depth while maintaining a tight plot.

BLOOD RITES focuses on Steffen Austra and Hellen Wells. As you may recall from SHATTERED GLASS, Hellen Wells is part human and part Austra. With Steffen's guidance and blood she brings her Austra nature to dominance and is brought into the family. We learn that Steffen is 1200 years and that there are only 17 people left in the Austra family.

Hellen is welcomed with hope. With her human reproductive ability she need not die in childbirth. Hellen knows this, but before she can begin her family, she must first make an uneasy peace with her new life. In the process, she begins painting again--but this time with an Austra's superior mental abilities and industry.

It is decided that her work will be shown, then both she and Steffen will stage her death. In this way the considerable money from her work will go to support her human family. It takes only one gallery appearance to convince Hellen she does not want to deal with so many humans at once. She convinces Steffen that she wishes to go ahead with their "deaths". As it turns out, this is a good thing as she is pregnant with twins. Steffen and Helen "die", then retreat to the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Back at home, Hellen's uncle is dying of cancer, but has not yet told anyone he has only months to live. Richard, the uncle, is going to buy flowers for his wife when he stops what he thinks is a hold-up of the flower shop. The "robber" turns out to be the sole heir of the local Mafia boss. Richard, a police captain, is now in the ironic position of being marked for death by both the crime boss and his cancer.

Still, within hours, Richard has sent his wife and daughter off to New York, while he and his eleven-year-old son go to Canada. Richard figures his son, Alan, should should know the truth about Hellen and Steffen. Of course in going to Canada, Richard inadvertently brings the danger to Hellen and her two toddlers.

Elaine Bergstrom skillfully handles the creation of her hitman and the assorted dangerous people that Steffen, Richard, and Ellen must deal with. Into a plot of kidnapping and cruelty, she adds the manner in which Austra children develop, the interdependence and fear between Austra and humans, the question of human mortality, the nature of life after death, and the responsibilities and feelings between people who care about each other.

I enjoyed BLOOD RITES a lot. It gave me a wonderful excuse to stay up all night.

Fanged Films

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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