Sunday, October 17, 2010
By George R. R. Martin
Abner Marsh is a riverboat captain in the middle 19th century and he has had some really bad luck. His riverboat company is down to one small vessel when the rest of his fleet was destroyed in an ice jam. So when wealthy young Joshua York offers to become his partner and build him a beautiful new boat, the boat of Abner's dreams, Abner thinks maybe things are finally turning in his favor. But what he doesn't know is that his new partner, who only comes out at night, is a vampire. And soon Abner finds himself involved in a nightmare that will plunge him into financial ruin and maybe even cost him his life.
This was an OK book. The hero of the story turns out to be ugly, fat, middle-aged Abner Marsh, an unlikely hero indeed. The story is mainly about the conflict between Joshua, a forward thinking young vampire who wants to lead his fellows away from preying on humans, and Damon Julian, an ancient, ferocious vampire who is stuck in the old, bloody way and who will not change, with Abner there to help Joshua and to back him up as best he can. I thought it was a kind of depressing story, grim and gruesome, with old Julian having the upper hand throughout most of it and poor Abner losing everything that meant so much to him. Especially at the end, when Abner finds his beautiful dream riverboat, beached in a backwater, rotted and decaying, rusty and falling apart and beyond repair. Just a dark, sad story.