Children of the Night

Children of the Night

by Dan Simmons

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Overview

Children of the Night by Dan Simmons

"Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel." –Stephen King

An evil legacy comes to life in this classic and ultimately human novel about believable vampires, featuring a brand-new introduction by Dan Simmons. Children of the Night will take you to a place that no one knows—yet all of us fear.

In a desolate orphanage in post-Communist Romania, a desperately ill infant is given the wrong blood transfusion—and flourishes rather than dies. For immunologist Kate Neuman, the infant's immune system may hold the key to cure cancer and AIDS. Kate adopts the baby and takes him home to the States. But baby Joshua holds a link to an ancient clan and their legendary leader—Vlad Tsepes, the original Dracula – whose agents kidnap the child. Against impossible odds and vicious enemies– both human and vampire – Kate and her ally, Father Mike O'Rourke, steal into Romania to get her baby back.

"A mesmerizing tour through the ghostly, gray tatters of Romania." –Publishers Weekly

"Simmons gives a chilling description of post-Ceausescu Romania and neatly ties the vampire legend into political history to create a new and clever twist to the idea of the vampire's craving for blood." –Library Journal

"His best novel ever… Toothsomely well written." –Kirkus

"Brilliant ideas… The most rigorous and interesting scientific rationale for vampirism I've ever seen… You keep turning the pages." –Locus

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250009852
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 12/11/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 464
Sales rank: 456,476
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

DAN SIMMONS is a recipient of numerous major international awards, including the Hugo Award, World Fantasy Award, Bram Stoker Award, and the Shirley Jackson Award. He is widely considered to be one of the premier multiple-genre fiction writers in the world. His most recent novels include the New York Times bestsellers The Terror and Drood. He lives along the Front Range in Colorado and has never grown tired of the views.

Read an Excerpt

ONE
 

We flew to Bucharest almost as soon as the shooting had stopped, landing at Otopeni Airport just after midnight on December 29, 1989. As the semiofficial “International Assessment Contingent,” the six of us were met at my Lear jet, escorted through the confused milling that passed for Customs since Romania’s revolution, and then herded aboard an Office of National Tourism VIP van for the nine-mile drive into town. They had brought a wheelchair to the bottom of the aircraft ramp for me, but I waved it away and made the walk to the van myself. It was not easy.
Donna Wexler, our U.S. Embassy liaison, pointed at two bullet holes in the wall near where the van was parked, but Dr. Aimslea topped that by simply pointing out the window as we drove around the lighted circular drive connecting the terminal to the highway.
Soviet-style tanks sat along the main thoroughfare where cabs normally would be waiting, their long muzzles pointed toward the entrance to the airport drive. Sandbagged emplacements lined the highway and airport rooftops, and the sodium-vapor lamps yellowly illuminated the helmets and rifles of soldiers on guard duty while throwing their faces into deep shadow. Other men, some in regular army uniforms and others in the ragtag clothing of the revolutionary militia, lay sleeping alongside the tanks. For a second the illusion of sidewalks littered with the bodies of Romania’s dead was perfect and I held my breath, exhaling slowly only when I saw one of the bodies stir and another light a cigarette.
“They fought off several counterattacks by loyalist troops and Securitate forces last week,” whispered Donna Wexler. Her tone suggested that it was an embarrassing topic, like sex.
Radu Fortuna, the little man who had been hurriedly introduced to us in the terminal as our guide and liaison with the transitional government, turned in his seat and grinned broadly as if he were not embarrassed by either sex or politics. “They kill many Securitate,” he said loudly, his grin growing ever wider. “Three times Ceausescu’s people tried to take airport … three times they get killed.”
Wexler nodded and smiled, obviously uncomfortable with the conversation, but Dr. Aimslea leaned into the aisle. Light from the last of the sodium-vapor lamps illuminated his bald head in the seconds before we entered the darkness of the empty highway. “So Ceausescu’s regime is really over?” he said to Fortuna.
I could see only the slightest gleam from the Romanian’s grin in the sudden darkness. “Ceausescu is over, yes, yes,” he said. “They take him and that bitch-cow of a wife in Tîrgoviste, you know … have, how you call it … trial.” Radu Fortuna laughed again, a sound which somehow sounded both childish and cruel. I found myself shivering a bit in the darkness. The bus was not heated.
“They have trial,” continued Fortuna, “and prosecutor say, ‘You both crazy?’ You see, if Ceausescu and Mrs. Ceausescu crazy, then maybe the army just send them away in mental hospital for hundred years, like our Russian friends do. You know? But Ceausescu say, ‘What? What? Crazy … How dare you! That is obscene provocation!’ And his wife, she say, ‘How can you say this to the Mother of your nation?’ So prosecutor say, ‘OK, you neither one crazy. Your own mouth say.’ And then the soldiers, they draw straws so many want to be the ones. Then the lucky ones, they take Ceausescus out in courtyard and shoot them in heads many times.” Fortuna chuckled warmly, as if remembering a favorite anecdote. “Yes, regime over,” he said to Dr. Aimslea. “Maybe a few thousand Securitate, they don’t know it yet and still shooting peoples, but that will be over soon. Bigger problem is, what to do with one out of three peoples who spy for old government, heh?”
Fortuna chuckled again, and in the sudden glare from an oncoming army truck, I could see his silhouette as he shrugged. There was a thin layer of condensation turning to ice on the inside of the windows now. My fingers were stiff with the cold and I could barely feel my toes in the absurd Bally dress shoes I had put on that morning. I scraped at some of the ice on my window as we entered the city proper.
“I know that you are all very important peoples from the West,” said Radu Fortuna, his breath creating a small fog that rose toward the roof of the bus like an escaping soul. “I know you are famous Western billionaire, Mr. Vernor Deacon Trent, who pay for this visit,” he said, nodding at me, “but I am afraid I forget some other names.”
Donna Wexler did the introductions. “Doctor Aimslea is with the World Health Organization … Father Michael O’Rourke is here representing both the Chicago Archdiocese and the Save the Children Foundation.”
“Ah, good to have priest here,” said Fortuna, and I heard something that may have been irony in his voice.
“Doctor Leonard Paxley, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Princeton University,” continued Wexler. “Winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Economics.”
Fortuna bowed toward the old academic. Paxley had not spoken at all during the flight from Frankfurt, and now he seemed lost in his oversized coat and folds of muffler: an old man in search of a park bench.
“We welcome you,” said Fortuna, “even though our country have no economy at present moment.”
“Goddamn, is it always this cold here?” came the voice from deep in the folds of wool. The Nobel Prize–winning Professor Emeritus stamped his small feet. “This is cold enough to freeze the nuts off a bronze bulldog.”
“And Mr. Carl Berry, representing American Telegraph and Telephone,” continued Wexler quickly.
The pudgy businessman next to me puffed his pipe, removed it, nodded in Fortuna’s direction, and went back to smoking the thing as if it were a necessary source of heat. I had a moment’s mad vision of the seven of us in the bus huddled around the glowing embers in Berry’s pipe.
“And you say you remember our sponsor, Mr. Trent,” finished Wexler.
“Yesss,” said Radu Fortuna. His eyes glittered as he looked at me through Berry’s pipe smoke and the fog of his own breath. I could almost see my image in those glistening eyes—one very old man, deep-set eyes sunken even deeper from the fatigue of the trip, body shriveled and shrunken in my expensive suit and overcoat. I am sure that I looked older than Paxley, older than Methuselah … older than God.
“You have been in Romania before, I believe?” continued Fortuna. I could see the guide’s eyes glowing brighter as we reached the lighted part of the city. I spent time in Germany shortly after the war. The scene out the window behind Fortuna was like that. There were more tanks in Palace Square, black hulks which one would have thought deserted heaps of cold metal if the turret of one had not tracked us as our van passed by. There were the sooty corpses of burned-out autos and at least one armored personnel carrier that was now only a piece of scorched steel. We turned left and went past the Central University Library; its gold dome and ornate roof had collapsed between soot-streaked, pockmarked walls.
“Yes,” I said. “I have been here before.”
Fortuna leaned toward me. “And perhaps this time one of your corporations will open a plant here, yes?”
“Perhaps.”
Fortuna’s gaze did not leave me. “We work very cheap here,” he whispered so softly that I doubt if anyone else except Carl Berry could hear him. “Very cheap. Labor is very cheap here. Life is very cheap here.”
We had turned left off of the empty Calea Victoriei, right again on Bulevardul Nicolae Balcescu, and now the van screeched to a halt in front of the tallest building in the city, the twenty-two-story Intercontinental Hotel.
“In the morning, gentlemens,” said Fortuna, rising, gesturing the way toward the lighted foyer, “we will see the new Romania. I wish you dreamless sleeps.”

 
Copyright © 1992 by Dan Simmons

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Children of the Night 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this book was really smart, scary and at times sexy. I liked how he brought Romainian history and there troubled future and really make it stick, connect together. I liked how he used an ordinary doctor doing her job and end up having to do extrodanary things to get her son back. I loved the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was just great. Everything about it was great, the theory of vampires was just astounding and I am glad that I decided to read it.
iamza on LibraryThing 7 days ago
Please note: This review may contain spoilers! Read at your discretion.On a humanitarian mission to aid Romanian orphans in post-Ceaucescu Romania, Kate wants to do more, and adopts one of her young charges. But when she returns to the US, her new son is kidnapped, and she finds herself fighting a centuries old evil.Stuffed full of vampires and blood, defrocked priests and suitably heroic lady doctors, and loads of bullets and bombs, one can hardly call Children of the Night a boring read. But despite the blockbuster levels of violence and hunt-and-chases, and the inherent spookiness of evil villains with the power to rise from the dead, the most horrifying thing about this story for me was not the vampires. I mean, let¿s face it, vampires are fictional constructs whereas the horrifying descriptions of living conditions in Romanian orphanages in the late eighties sound all too real.I vaguely recall watching TV shockumentaries about the appalling conditions in which Romanian orphans often found themselves living, locked in cribs and cots by the hundreds, or sitting in groups of ten or twenty in rooms packed only with dirty mattresses. It seemed almost unimaginable to me that kids could be living in such conditions, unnoticed and unreported for years before the story finally broke. In a lot of ways, the suffering of those kids at the hands of ordinary human beings makes the vampires in this story seem almost insignificant. Why add scary monsters when the people charged with the care of those children, from the wardens and nurses to the government officials in charge of them, seem like monsters in their own right? And what makes it more horrifying is that these people were just ordinary human beings.One thing I will say for this novel: it definitely made me want to learn more about life in Romania in the late eighties, shortly after Ceaucescu¿s abrupt (and all-too-well-deserved, from the sounds of it) removal from office, if only to be able to sort fantasy from fact. Some story elements presented sound both heartless and all too pragmatic ¿ like the refusal of entry to the United States for any adopted orphan/child infected with HIV. From a purely pragmatic standpoint, it sounds sensible: sick children require health care, which costs money. These kids were not born in the U.S. and therefore their health care costs should not the responsibility of the U.S. government. (And I¿m using U.S. here because that¿s the particular country with which Simmons¿ heroine takes issue, not because I think any other relatively rich Western country would necessarily have behaved any better when it comes to the care of these orphans/children). The emotional argument, the fact that these kids are in desperate need of help, is completely overshadowed by the financial costs involved. This is horrifying in its own right, given that conventional wisdom has us mouthing off about how people cannot be valued in monetary terms. Apparently, this only holds true if you¿re the right kind of people.In terms of the story, I did not like the final twist in the tale, which I thought seriously weakened what had gone before. To me, it felt like Simmons had run out of steam when it came to the final act, and realized he still hadn¿t dealt fully with various plot elements¿so he opted for the simplest twist that might allow him to wrap things up more quickly. In summary, then: Worth a read, but recommended only for those with strong stomachs and/or those who have an obsession with Dracula.
ragwaine on LibraryThing 7 days ago
Horrible, boring, too hard sci-fi, plus cheesy torture scenes. Didn't finish.
gtpooh on LibraryThing 7 days ago
Not your average vampire story, this fast paced story take you from the beautiful foothills of Boulder, Colorado to dark Transylvania. Alternating between the quest of a young doctor to save the child she has adopted and the first person memories of Vlad himself, Simmons, as always, leaves you with the feeling you have actually been to the places he takes you. Definitely a page turner (I stayed up to 4 am to finish it) that brings Dracula into the 20th century!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kewl.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nightmares. It's a pun. I likee!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All I can think it is Dreams Terrfied. Or Seeing A Dreams.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
seldombites More than 1 year ago
I almost didn't read this book because I had trouble getting into it. It was only on my fourth and final try that I managed to read past the first few pages. I am glad that I persevered because it turned out to be a very good story. From a Romania suffering from the aftermath of revolution to America and back again, Simmons treats us to an interesting and frightening take on the Dracula legend. Set in the late eighties/early nineties, this modern vampire story retains some of the creepiness and foreboding of Bram Stoker's tale while acquiring an urgency that seems all too real. The first chapter of this book is dry and difficult to read but it is worth persisting because Simmons weaves a truly terrifying tale that will have you sleeping with the light on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kind of silly and predictable.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! I found this book in a used book sale, while I was actually looking for Stephen King books, and boy was I glad I found this one! I couldn't put it down! Once it got going you couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next! I was actually disappointed when the book ended!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that it was an emotional ride. Through the begining, middle and end, there are things going on to keep you hooked and wanting more. But at the end, I thought it might have been a little 'rushed' (It didn't have as much detail as the rest of the story) And the helicopter thing seemed maybe a little out of place. I don't know. All I know is that I love the book and reading it again for the second time. I normally don't do that for any other book, but this was soooo good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
CHILDREN OF THE NIGHT by Dan Simmons is a well-researched history of Romania and the vampire legend in the Romanian perspective from about the 15th Century to post-Ceaucescu years. Former schoolteacher Simmons weaves history and legend with the hopelessness, particularly for Gypsy children, orphaned in their country. A must read for devotees of history and horror as well as fans of Dan Simmons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Okay. How about "Eclipsed"?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And here is a new fanfic by Firework! Hope you like it! And if you could think of a title then thanks! <p> Dawn. <p> That is what time it happened. At dawn. The time that I, Luna, woke up screaming at the same time as my sister. <p> It was coming. <p> I got out of bed and sped to Celestia's room. My sister. <p> "Don't worry, Luna, it was just a dream..." she said <p> "No, sister, I can tell the difference between a dream and a vision, and that was a vision, not a dream." Says Luna gravely <p> Celestia's eyes widen "Then we must tell the Fourbirth..." she says. Luna nods and they go to their table and start writing a letter to Firework...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Meow.