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States of Grace: A Novel of the Count Saint-Germain

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2005

    She's Done Better

    The book is very well-written, the time period is fascinating, and I even liked some of the secondary characters. But, the book didn't have any real tension. Saint-Germain seemed more of an observer than an actor--a total waste of a vibrant, powerful character. Roger was even less involved. The book read like a 101 World Civ discussion of religious and political implications of the printing press. This isn't my least favorite of the Saint-Germain novels (Communion Blood has that dishonor), but it's close. I'm glad this wasn't my first experience with Saint-Germain. Yarbro's best work with this series is when she writes either a 'buddy' novel concentrating on the friendship between Saint-Germain and Roger, or when she writes a powerful romance. This book doesn't have the comradarie of the buddy novel or the passion of the romance. It's just an outside observer's journal of an interesting time.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    more a great historical novel

    In the early sixteenth century Conte Franzicco Ragoczy di Santo-Germano lives a comfortable lifestyle in Venezia, but as the owner of Eclipse Press knows the Church and others spy on him and his mistress, composer Pier-Ariana Salier. However since he has strong connections to the papacy and the aristocracy and the money for bribes he is for the most part left alone. Because of problems in the Spanish owned Netherlands, Saint-Germain as he is known on the continent travels there to protect his business interests when his publishing firm and writer Erneste van Amsteljaxter are accused of heresy. --- To his surprise Ragoczy finds himself attracted to Erneste and vows to keep her safe just like he does for his lover back in Venezia. However, a clever person learns the vampiric secret of Saint-Germain and much more that enables this thief to embezzle the vampire¿s fortune. Upon coming home, he is accused of murder so with his loyal servant Ruggier the Conte seeks to uncover the identity of the agent who stole his fortune and has set him up to take the fall. --- STATES OF GRACE is as much a great historical novel as it is the usual fantastic Saint-Germain thriller as the insightful story line provides a vivid window on early sixteen century Europe during a time of religious upheaval. Thus the ¿prime¿ plot involving the vampire trying to regain all he lost takes a back seat to the vibrant look at the publishing industry, heresy proclamations, and religious assaults on the papacy. Still, this is a fine tale with more historical background than most of the author¿s backlist. --- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2005

    A 'Seraphic Conflagration'

    And that arresting imagery is just one nibble, so to speak, of the many delicious morsels Chelsea Quinn Yarbro¿s latest Saint-Germain novel has to offer. A testament to the adage, `Quality, not Quantity¿, in roughly 100,000 words, Yarbro is able to pen a gripping, engaging, and evocative tale that reads more like a long-short story, than a stand-alone novel, which isn¿t such a bad thing. The pacing is even, the characters, developed just enough, and the story, tight. The atmosphere is lush, the backdrop, like a work of art, and Saint-Germain is at his sexiest in this gothic tale of mystery and romance. Which are my only real complaints. The plot is a bit sparse: Saint-Germain, now the owner of Eclipse Press, is summoned away from Venice, where he¿s been operating his publishing company, to the Spanish occupied Netherlands, where the political climate is tense, to say the least. Events converge and conspire to cause upheaval, hence his return to Venice to even more bad luck. Once again, his faithful manservant Roger is at the ready, and there are the familiar slate of spies, suspects, and damsels in distress to help complicate matters even further. As any true follower of the series knows, Yarbro can spin a yarn like nobody¿s business. With its historical acumen, crystalline prose, and tragic irony, The Saint-Germain series is famous for its generous text and attention to detail. However, what I found missing this time around was the usual expansion of secondary characters that normally help support both the cleverly placed red-herrings and tricky plot developments. Because of the shortened word-count, some of that, understandably, had to be sacrificed. By the time I¿d gotten to the last page, I felt as if I was at an all-you-can-eat buffet, and they¿d just run out of crab-legs. But no matter: ¿States of Grace¿ is an enjoyable read nonetheless, and in many ways, reminds me of one of my favorites, ¿Darker Jewels¿. It¿s a most worthy addition to the series that long-time fans and new readers alike will find much to their `taste¿. I know I did. I just wanted a bit more to chew on.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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