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The Stress of Her Regard, by Tim Powers August 9, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Books, Brilliant words.
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The Stress of Her Regard is a fabulous horror novel of vampiric fiction featuring Byron, Keats and Shelley as victims and lovers of jealous vampires, who systematically murder their families in order to eliminate rivals for their affections (this is deftly handled in the narrative by accurately portraying the deaths of Byron’s and Shelley’s children in more or less historically accurate fashion).  Powers definitely did his homework for this novel, as each chapter begins with suitable quotes from each author’s poems or papers, some of which even poetry-haters like myself will recognize, and the dates of the deaths of each historical character matches Wikipedia and my memory pretty well.

In the audiobook I listened to, Simon Vance imbues each character voice with a personality far beyond what I thought he was capable of.  I know his voice from his audiobook readings of each and every Ian Fleming James Bond book.  I had no idea he was so skilled, since Fleming’s potboilers really don’t demand much but steely determination and an English accent.  I especially liked his distinct voices for Shelley and Byron, which I admit are very like how I had always imagined they would sound.  The female characters’ voices are very feminine, even in the completely strange, harried, desperate situations they find themselves.

Excellent pacing, good characterization and passable horror (I don’t much care for this sort of stuff, but I got into it right away and didn’t mind that I had been tricked into it by an acquaintance).

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