The Martyring

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Kurt's birthright is the Hauptmann dynasty, artisans with a heritage handed down from the Dark Ages. Coming to the studio as an apprentice, he will learn to make stained glass to help men see the glory of God. But the family has other, more frightening ancestral secrets to hand down. The path to God runs through darkness as well as light. And the bond of a family is blood, its own and that of its enemies. What is the strangeness in Uncle Detlef, head of the studio? Why has he descended from his cathedral roofs to...
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The Martyring

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Overview

Kurt's birthright is the Hauptmann dynasty, artisans with a heritage handed down from the Dark Ages. Coming to the studio as an apprentice, he will learn to make stained glass to help men see the glory of God. But the family has other, more frightening ancestral secrets to hand down. The path to God runs through darkness as well as light. And the bond of a family is blood, its own and that of its enemies. What is the strangeness in Uncle Detlef, head of the studio? Why has he descended from his cathedral roofs to steeplejack the perils of a secular world? What are his secrets? Why do the family's holy rites seem perverse? Most of all, why are men getting killed in bizarre, archaic ways here in south Florida? As Kurt gropes toward the truth, so does the tough and cynical cop Jack Skelote. What lies before them is a limbo of murdered martyrs, unblessed, unholy, and unburied.

The 1999 Best Novel World Fantasy Award Nominee.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Sullivan's modern gothic fashions some predictable twists on traditional concepts of faith and redemption. For centuries, the men and women of the Hauptmann family have engaged in the craft of making stained glass. Now, in the mid-1970s, 17-year-old Kurt Nehmer arrives in Padobar, Fla., from Germany to be inducted into the family secrets under the guidance of Gerta Hauptmann, the clan's matriarch. Sinister events begin to take place after Gerta's son Martin dies and Gerta summons her other son, Detlef, from Germany. Kurt feels like an outsider among his relatives, especially among those who, unlike him, have experienced "the second confirmation," a vision that enables them to see 2000 years of family history. Forebodingly, Kurt also dimly recalls a disturbing week spent with Uncle Detlef at Chartres Cathedral in France. Soon, the community experiences a rash of accidents, suicides and murders, and it's up to Jack Skelote, a cop with a slow response but a fair instinct, to interpret the sudden mayhem in his county. Meanwhile, Kurt discovers horrifying atrocities linked to the Hauptmann legacyand to the present-day killings. He reacts, but his actions only seal his fate. Sullivan plumps his tale with biblical parallels and unique motivations. But the plot, too burdened by its tone of dull portent, never hits a comfortable pace. (Mar.)
KLIATT
Kurt leaves the Old Country for the New, seeking family ties. What he finds is a mystery of powerful stained glass creations. The region is wracked with mysterious killings as well. Kurt tries to find the reason behind his family's strange initiation and the reason for the seemingly meaningless deaths. Slowly he and a local cop realize the passion behind the creations—and destructions. This modern gothic tale has a relentless pace, with much death and suspense. The imagery is vivid, and the details, particularly of the victims, work well. The scenes of sex and killing make this a mature read. Does evil win? The ending is ambiguous enough to keep the mind reeling. KLIATT Codes: A—Recommended for advanced students, and adults. 1998, Tor, 255p, 21cm, 97-29853, $13.95. Ages 17 to adult. Reviewer: Lesley Farmer; Lib. Media Teacher Svcs., Cal. State Univ., Long Beach, CA, November 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 6)
Library Journal
From time immemorial, Hauptmann family members have been creators of stained glass. Young Kurt Nehmann, a Hauptmann through his mother, leaves his native Germany to learn the family business in Florida. From the beginning, though, Kurt feels like an outsider. There are secrets and history of which he is unaware, and for a long time no one seems willing to bring him truly into the fold. His forbidding grandmother Gerta, his frighteningly cruel uncle Detlef, and his sexy cousin Ute all mystify him. At the same time, Jack Skelote, a middle-aged, recently divorced cop, is trying to solve a series of horrifying murders. As the body count mounts, Skelote finally concludes that a Hauptmann family member is responsible. Sullivan has created a tale that fits easily within the Gothic horror tradition, and some of the details of the grisly murders are suitably disturbing. Unfortunately, however, much of the plot is predictable, and the characters never seem to come completely to life. Recommended only for large fiction collections where horror is in demand.Dean James, Murder by the Book, Houston
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312863616
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 2/15/1998
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.74 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas Sullivan lives in Cathrup Village, Michigan.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    A rather good horror novel.

    There are some unexpected twists with unexpected results. Author has a good touch of building suspense, but not giving away the ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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