Queen of Darkness

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After living in the shadows for centuries vampires have finally gained dominance over the Earth by instigating a nuclear holocaust that has blotted out the sun. Humans are now treated as animals, kept in concentration camp-like farms. Byron, the Moon Queen's favorite "creation", is assigned the task of stopping an insurrection at one of the human farms. But while investigating a religious cult among the humans, he begins to question his own reality. As he digs deeper for the truth, he becomes a renegade outcast ...
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Overview

After living in the shadows for centuries vampires have finally gained dominance over the Earth by instigating a nuclear holocaust that has blotted out the sun. Humans are now treated as animals, kept in concentration camp-like farms. Byron, the Moon Queen's favorite "creation", is assigned the task of stopping an insurrection at one of the human farms. But while investigating a religious cult among the humans, he begins to question his own reality. As he digs deeper for the truth, he becomes a renegade outcast among his own--and humanity's last chance for salvation.
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Editorial Reviews

A Guran
The vampires finally have won. Two centuries before the beginning of Miguel Conner's first novel, The Queen Of Darkness, the "Stargazers" (as they poetically call themselves) arranged a nuclear holocaust that greatly diminished the amount of light reaching Earth from the sun. Living in a few cities, the vampires are nourished by the blood of the remaining "Warm Ones" who are kept like cattle on concentration camp-like farms. Humans being humans, they occasionally get a little feisty. The charming and slightly roguish Byron, a special favorite of the all-powerful MoonQueen, is called upon to investigate the latest instigation. As often happens with charming, roguish anti-heroes, Byron runs into a beautiful and charismatic leader of the opposition who enlightens him. Byron wrestles with reality and truth, finally turning renegade and launching a true rebellion.

Conner has come up with a winning and delightful novel, although not one without a few flaws. His future world of a guild-based vampire hierarchy ruled by the Queen of Darkness, Mother of All Stargazers is an interesting one, although he ill-serves his setting by making it rather too redolent of today instead of a fictional tomorrow. (Computers don't seem to have advanced much; language has not developed at all and, in fact, seems to have regressed a bit; and Byron outrages his society by smoking cigarettes.) The pacing slows toward the end, the writing is occasionally pedestrian, and the action sequences could use a little more impact. Once you get past these minor quibbles, none of which are distracting enough to take away from the whole or are that unusual in popular fiction, the author handles the paradoxical and convoluted situation of an entire civilization based on lies with grace, style, and surprising depth with similarities to Roger Zelazny. Byron is a splendid, multidimensional creation who grows as the novel advances. The Queen Of Darkness has an almost "pulp" feel to it at times, but with most of the swashbuckling replaced with soul-searching. Its originality and fascination lie in devising something new and fresh from the iconic. Published as science fiction, its also a testament to just how impossible it has become to classify such work. There's something of the noir detective mystery to The Queen Of Darkness as well as horror, SF, and fantasy elements. Whatever you want to classify it as, it's great stuff and Miguel Conner deserves the notice of genre fans of several breeds. Don't miss this debut.
darkecho.com

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446605069
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/1998
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 4.25 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 0.75 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2005

    Entertaining fantasy, which makes you gaze at the stars

    THE QUEEN OF DARKNESS By Miguel Conner This unique, science fiction-fantasy novel completely absorbs the reader. The author paints vivid, unforgettable images. Surprises lurk around every corner. Surrealism abounds. There is a mystery which gradually unfolds surrounding the life of the protagonist Byron Solsbury. From the shocking opening pages, where the reader learns that Byron is a vampire, to the epilog, there is one fantastic event after another, which, because of Conner¿s brilliant writing, seem plausible. It soon becomes apparent that this is a love story and a story of heroism - a story of high principles, a desire to do what is right even when trapped in base circumstances. It is a story of searching for one¿s identity, and finding that there is more than one. Byron¿s human memory was erased by the Queen of Darkness, the epitome of evil, who led the Stargazers, as the vampires were called, to trigger the atomic destruction that rained down on the former civilization, blotting out the sun (the bane of all vampires) allowing them to rise to supremacy. Humans were branded and kept as little more than cattle, waiting for slaughter to provide blood for the vampires. The story is set in new cities built by the Stargazers after the nuclear war. Byron is a vampire with no memory (except in his dreams) of his life before as a human leader of the opposition to the Queen of Darkness. There is no dearth of action. Our hero, impelled from one crisis to another, measures up each time. He is often wounded and battered, but never surrenders. The Queen of Darkness, although the title character, plays a lesser role than Medea, a Warm One (human), who becomes the object of Byron¿s affections. He took this human with him one night when he flew, as a vampire, to a distant place. The flight is one of the best scenes in the book, awakening latent desires, which I believe everyone has, to be able to fly. This is not a book for young children, but for the rest of us who enjoy imaginative writing, it is one of the best ¿ the kind that begs for another by the same author. I am surprised it does not have a cult following. Or does it?

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