Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 1-Jan-1992

Adapted from the column "Vampires in Print" in The Vampire's Crypt #3 (Spring 1991).

Review by Cathy Krusberg

Nancy Collins. Tempter (Onyx/Penguin, 1990).

You may be tempted to find Tempter a let-down. It is not the sequel to Sunglasses After Dark, and it's not the vampire novel you may expect. So okay, you've been warned. It is about a vampire, or a couple of them (one, glimpsed only, is Sir Morgan, whom you'll perhaps remember from Sunglasses; the old guy got around). It is a book about voudou, and frustrated love, and people with a downright amazing lack of common sense: in other words, more or less what you'd expect of a novel set in modern-day New Orleans.

Adam Rossiter made it to music stardom at sixteen and crashed before attaining his majority. At thirty-seven he still hasn't gotten over it and is willing to look to voudou for some meaning in life. What he finds instead is a beautiful mambo named Ti Alice (pronounced Tea Ah-lees). In an old book at her home, he glimpses a compelling mandala. As his eyes follow its twists and turns, he finds himself in a not-place with a younger Adam Rossiter, a daring Adam Rossiter who can make him once more the idol of screaming crowds, adored as a god made flesh. He just needs a couple of minor favors....

Tempter. Tempter, the vampire of the swamp of Redeemer Parish, who lures children into the night, never to be heard from again. Tempter, his body trapped in the remains of the mansion Seraphine. As Donatien Legendre, his violence and debauchery brought ruin to Seraphine but drew Sir Morgan's approbation. Morgan gave Donatien the key to making himself a vampire (Morgan did not want such an uncontrollable thrall), and Donatien became the Tempter.

Mambo Jazrel--the personal maid of Donatien's unfortunate wife--had power only to confine Tempter, not to kill him. For over a hundred years the vampire spirit lay trapped, alone, until Adam Rossiter stumbled on Tempter's one remaining tool, the mandala in the book Aegrisomnia. Once properly in Tempter's power, Adam can--and will, and does--bring the living blood Tempter needs to unleash himself bodily on the world. Tempter has plans: to avenge himself on the reincarnations of the wife who spurned him and Jazrel, who helped her and imprisoned him. And after that....

Collins's characters are believable enough, rather than believable, and humans' interactions with voudou gods threaten to reduce Tempter to comic-book level. Tempter is just not "epic" enough to give larger-than-life beings room to maneuver. In Tempter's favor are a suspenseful, fast-moving plot and interesting, if brief, glimpses of vampire existence. Oh, yes, and the promise (in the "about the author" section) of a sequel to Sunglasses After Dark.

Fanged Films

UK, 1974
Old Dracula / Old Drac
USA, 1946
The Face of Marble

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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