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Renquist, the centuries-old colony master of a group of vampires that live secretly in New York City, is beset on one side by the young vampires who hunger for blood and on the other by a priest and cop who are beginning to suspect the truth
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Mick Farren was born in Cheltenham, England on a wet night at the end of World War II and he has been complaining about it ever since. His fiction received attention in the late punk seventies with The DNA Cowboys cult trilogy. Through the 1980s and 1990s, he tempered cyberpunk with his own post-Burroughs, post-Lovecraft strangeness, while, at the same time functioning as a columnist, critic, recording artist, teaching a science fiction and horror course at UCLA, publishing a number of non-fiction works on popular culture, including a best selling biography of Elvis Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, and the bizarre-fashion history The Black Leather, and also providing Rock & Roll lyrics for bands like Metallica, Motorhead, Brother Wayne Kramer, and others. With Kramer, he created the off-Broadway musical The Last Words Of Dutch Schultz, and he has scripted a number of TV documentaries. He emerged into the 21st century with the critically acclaimed and suitably unorthodox vampire saga The Renquist Quartet, and the forthcoming alternate world epic Flame Of Evil.
Farren currently lives in Los Angeles. His most recent non-fiction is the autobiographic Give The Anarchist A Cigarette (Jonathan Cape, UK), his most recent novel is Underland (Tor Books US), and his current CDs are People Call You Crazy: The Mick Farren Story (Sanctuary UK) and The Deviants Dr Crow (Navarre US).
First vampire novel by sf writer Farren (Elvis and the Colonel, 1989, not reviewed) swaggers swankily and advances the genre by creating a new version of vampires' ancestry: Their creators came in UFOs, altered human DNA to fashion the new creatures, and, in their spare time, provided the inspiration for humankind's religions. Suave, thousand-year-old Victor Renquist, the Master of the nosferatu, who live in the Residence in Manhattan, must constantly temper the bloodlust of his followers, compelling them to restrict themselves to hospital bloodbags rather than living human prey. Victor is well aware that the colony risks extermination if it goes on a wilding and leaves exsanguinated bodies all over the city; after all, when European vampire families got out of hand in 1919, they were exterminated by the Church. Victor, who has sought to protect the colony by moving in the circles of the powerful and chic, has not left the Residence for two years, having become too famous for comfort. He's appeared in People magazine and on TV, has hosted parties for Henry Kissinger, Joan Collins, Edward Kennedy, Ivan Boesky, and even Mick Jagger. He is attended by a vampire Sicilian enforcer, Lupo, who calls Renquist Don Victor and treats him as Godfather. Also on hand is wildly intemperate young Carfax, who rebels against Victor's edict on bloodletting and plots to set up his own family. To complicate matters further, the time of ritual feasting, when the colony must replenish its energies by seeking live prey, is near. Wily Victor speculates that the feasting, if properly disguised, might be seen as the work of serial killers and psychopaths--if he can just keep his impetuous fellow vampires in line. Meanwhile, he is being pursued by Gideon Kelly, a defrocked whiskey priest on a vampire-hunting mission from God, and by a tough Manhattan police detective. The historical background offers considerable originality, while the storytelling speeds along with theatrical trumpery through predictable plot points. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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