Shattered Glass

Shattered Glass
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 9-Oct-2001

Adapted from "Vampires in Print" in The Vampire's Crypt #2 (Summer 1990).

Review by Cathy Krusberg

Elaine Bergstrom. Shattered Glass (Jove, 1989)

Stephen Austra, famous artist in stained glass, comes to Cleveland to restore the windows in St. John's. Decades earlier, they were created by an Austra -- himself, in fact, though he looks no older now. It is hard work, but in no way extraordinary. What is extraordinary is the attraction he feels for his neighbor Helen Wells. Stephen finds it mystifying as well as unnatural until he learns that she is a blood relation -- Helen's mother was fathered by one of his own kind. Inspired by this knowledge and with Helen's consent, he adds a stronger infusion of the special blood she already possesses. Guided by lover and mentor Stephen, Helen begins to master her new powers and her new self. They have no difficulty laying plans: once the windows at St. John's are completed, Stephen will rejoin his family with Helen at his side.

Between them and the future, however, stands a shadowy figure, a presence half visible from the first page who creates problems for the Cleveland police force and gives Stephen some uneasy days before revealing himself. The mysterious killer is Stephen's brother Charles, once an artist, now twisted by guilt, incapable of normal existence (by Austra standards), driven to exploit humanity not only for its blood but for every emotion he can wring from whatever victim, with a preference for the darker ones that already possess him. He is tired of life with a sickness unto death, but his survival instinct has repeatedly overpowered his suicide attempts; it is not in the nature of the Austra kind to kill themselves or let themselves be killed. When Stephen will not kill him voluntarily (indeed, physically *can* not), Charles goes on a rampage as only he can, vowing it will end in his confrontation with Helen and his own death; his own, and perhaps Stephen's and Helen's as well.

Shattered Glass is a beautiful, passionate book: two love stories and a detective story entwining, every character developed and acquaintance with them a true pleasure -- from Helen's young nephew Alan to Father O'Maera of St. John's to Charles himself -- at times oddly scrupulous for an Austra bent on his own death at any cost. They are all worth meeting. Shattered Glass is a must-read for vampire aficionados and first of four books (to date) about the vampiric Austra clan.

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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