Summary: Wonderful read.
Comment: Moving from Science Fiction to Horror in both my reading and writing, I picked up Children of the Night on a whim and was thoroughly enjoyed. Just like his Hyperion or Endmyion series, Simmons comes up with a very interesting idea and develops it well.
It begins in Romania shortly after the fall of Communism and the destruction of the Berlin Wall. The Romanian despot, Coseceau, is removed from power. The collapse of the Soviet Union is imminent, and the consequences its bloc are becoming visible.
Kate is a physician from the U.S., working with local native Lucian, and Father ORourke in providing health care for thousands of sick, starving, and dying abandonned orphans. She finds one unusual orphan she becomes attached to. She adopts him and takes him back to the United States.
At her labs in Denver, she discovers his unusual blood qualities. First, Joshua can absorb foreign blood. Second, it can eliminate viruses. Third, it perfects hemoglobin for oxygen transport.
Seeing this as a possible cure for many virul infections, she works to discover the secret. However, some mysterious strangers show up, taking the baby from her. They leave her for dead, burn her home, and kill her ex husband and baby-sitter.
With Father O'Rourke, Kate returns to Romania where she discovers a plot, a conspiracy, and that Joshua is related to Vlad Tepes, or Count Dracula. He wants his baby back for nefarious reasons. A strange Vampire cult, the Strigoi, are the major players. Can she get her baby back?
This book was enrapturing, engaging and entertaining on all levels for me. I will warn readers there is excessive use of medical terminology. While I found it entertaining, some might not.
As a history buff, I was also impressed that Dan Simmons also mixed the historical aspects of Vlad Tepes so well with current Romanian and world history.
The story is also brutal and vicious. For the first time, I cringed and shuddered in some scenes ... especially when Kate is shoved in the dungeon of Vlad Tepes. Another gruesomely effective and tense scene was an attempted sexual assault. I had not felt such tension reading a book in a long time.
Finally, Simmon's prose is magnificent. It chimes with me, allowing me to see, feel, smell, hear and experience everything he describes. This one was a real gem page turner for me. I could not put it down. It was my favorite read since Stephen King's Pet Sematary.
Dan Simmon's continues to be one of my favorites. I can't wait to read more of his works soon.
Summary: Vampires meet the CDC
Comment: This was my introduction to Dan Simmons. After being told what an excellent writer he is, I picked up the first book I could find by him. Normally I do not like Vampire novels (Other than Bram Stoker of course) mainly because they tend to drag, be self indulgent, and overly sexual. This novel grabbed me... grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I won't go into a great synopsis since it has already been done to death on here.
In late 1980's early 90's Romania, people are poor, medical attention is lacking, and orphans abound. AIDS and Hep C plague the children and there is no medical attention for them. We then follow a doctor who specializes in blood disorders who is working in Romania on behalf of the CDC. She adopts a child with a litany of rare medical disorders and returns with him to the states. She discovers there that this baby's rare condition may actually hold the cure to AIDS, and possibly other diseases. The problem is that his condition seems strangely similar to vampirism. When the baby is kidnapped our story kicks into high gear.
There is a TON of medical jargon in this book, particularly when they are working on the baby... fortunately for some reason; even an idiot like me was able to follow what they were talking about. The descriptions and history of Romania was brilliant, and obviously well researched. The characters were, for the most part, believable in what they did and their motivation. There are a few that at the end you will scratch your head and wonder now why on earth would he have done that... but then again you do that about real people every day. I loved the explanation of vampirism and how it came about. Dracula was brilliant. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a decent Vampire novel that isn't all about romance and lust. Excellent action, brilliant settings, a real page turner. 4 out of 5 stars!
Summary: Great read except for the end
Comment: I thought this was an entertaining, original, and generally well written horror novel. The only thing I could not get past was the end which was a little too much like an A-Team episode for my liking. I almost expected someone to light a cigar and say "I love it when a plan comes together." But that aside it was a good book and I have yet to read a Dan Simmons book I really did not like.
Summary: Not Free SF Reader
Comment: More of a standard vampire tale than Carrion Comfort, a scientist working on AIDS adopts a Romanian child. She finds out that its blood has unusual properties, not realising that the baby is a vampire child.
This gets a few people killed, and with some help from the usual sort of vampire book allies she sets out to find out what is going on, and perhaps cure a disease.
Summary: LOTS of medical terms but a wonderful all-in-one adventure & romance **READ Summer Of Night FIRST**
Comment: Mike O'Rourke is in both Summer of Night and The Children Of The Night. Summer of Night tells the story of 12-year-old boys, of which a small part of the young life is repeated in The Children Of The Night. They are totally separate stories but I just personally prefer reading in chronological order is all.
The novel opens up with the depressing reality of post-dictatorship and third-world orphan life. Starving & sick babies, neglectful caretakers, government murders, blackmarket babies, etc. I read the first chapter while getting a large tattoo and was near tears, NOT the piercing buzz of the tattoo gun, but from the reality the life style.
There have been many stories (not to mention movies) that try to explain vampires in a medical light but this one was great! There were many medical terms that were important & interesting. You start to wonder whether or not it is true.
This novel, for me, wasn't neccessarily scary. It was very adventurous and even emotional. The deaths of a few characters were rather surprising. The passion/romance were beautiful. Yeah - beautiful. Now THAT'S rare. You don't usually find a good romance/love scene unless you read a "romance novel" (but those are usually so corny!!!) but ones in here were passionate & realistic. Maybe because it's written from a man's point of view??? Who knows - the romance novels I've read in the past were full of falling in love w/in days & un-manly men & fake women. Anyway - I just wasn't expecting to read any of it in this story and was pleasantly surprised.
There are also many Vlad Dracula 15th century flashbacks. Graphic & ruthless stories that draw you back in a time where there was a harsh reality of living in fear of your ruler. Some flashbacks were lengthy but just built to the story of the tyrant's evil.
Wonderful book! I'm reading Summer of Night now - yeah, I'm reading backwards but I can't wait to find out what suspense Dan Simmons holds in this book!