Golden, The

The Golden
Review by Anthon, submitted on 25-Jan-1994

Lucius Shepard, THE GOLDEN, ( Bantam Books, 1993)

The novel follows the investigation of a recently turned vampire (formerly of the Paris Police Dept) into a murder which takes place at a gathering of vampire families. This victim is 'the golden.' She is the end result of generations of directed breeding by the vampire families with the idea of creating the finest vintage of blood possible.

Suffice to say, her death whilst under the protection of the Patriarch, (at least until her scheduled decanting) is anathema to the coterie gathered together. However, inter-family rivalry begins to play an important role in the investigation. In a daring political gambit, the head of the protagonist's family offers the services of his family to solve the case.

Enough with storyline. One particular noteworthy aspect of this novel is its approach to turning. Shepard refers to it as 'judgment.' Only a small percentage of humans can survive judgment and no one is able to predict who will or will not survive. This offers up an interesting moral question about the role of the vampire as both judge and executioner.

Shepard also gives depth to his protagonist by making him a very young vampire. He was 'judged' only two years previous. Thus, a great deal of the story involves him coming to terms with his true nature as opposed to what he has romanticised his current state into.

There are also some other vampire morality questions that Shepard poses to the undead. He poses questions into the master/servant relationship in both vampire/vampire and vampire/human relationships. He also explores the social interactions which take place in a large conglomeration of vampires. All of these factors lead to a rather satisfying read.

The novel is an easy read... quite easily read in a space of a few hours since it is only 291 pages long. At US$ 4.99 and Can$5.99, it is not such a bad deal for a couple of hours of entertainment.

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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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