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Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

Fevre Dream (1982)

by George R. R. Martin

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Many of you know George R.R. Martin through his fabulous epic fantasy The Song of Ice and Fire. Some of you may even remember him from a little shared universe series called Wildcards, which was a lot of fun. But y’all may not know that Martin wrote one of the coolest vampire books around: Fevre Dream. Not only did Martin re-imagine the biology and evolution and history of the vampire, but he also gave his book one of the most unique settings in horror lit—a Mississippi riverboat during the Mark Twain era. The story of the struggle between Joshua and Julian for control of a small band of vampires is well thought-out and executed, but the heart of the novel is the blunt and stubborn riverboat captain Abner Marsh and his loyalty to his friends and to his beloved riverboat. It’s not a happy book, but it’s an honest one, and more folks should be aware of it. ( )
  Mrs_McGreevy | Nov 17, 2016 |
Great story about steamboats layered with a vegetarian dilemma of vampiric proportions. Completely different than the typical fantasy or even vampire story. It centers on basic nature vs. morals. Written really well with great characters. ( )
  renbedell | Jun 24, 2016 |

“Good and evil are silly lies, nonsense put forth to plague honest sensible men.”

Technology keeps improving but some parts of life and glory will be lost in the process.

Fevre Dream is a beautiful, multi-layered story that stands as a historical drama bordering fantasy and horror. It's more in line with Urban Fantasy because of the vampires that come out of the fog in our current world, the historical setting plays up on the atmosphere of the old steamboats and their glories, and - while not outright horror - there are chills and quietly disturbing scenes delivered in atmospheric misery. A wonderful mixture of genres that refuses to be strictly defined.

I fell in love with the hero of the book, Captain Abner Marsh, a man who lived for his life on the river. I can't say why he was so enamoring; maybe it was his enthusiasm and drive in life to live his dreams. He was suitably flawed, crass, crude, ill-tempered. His appearance was described often as awful and it was clear he'd long ago left aside any illusions of attracting people and living a life as a married man. Instead he married the river and never looked back.

In an end of the year reading survey, one of the questions is to name the favorite characters I discovered in 2015. One of them was Augustus from Lonesome Dove, and one of them was Abner Marsh of Fevre Dream.

The steamboats become characters of their own. I never thought much about them before, but this book brings to mind the joy that must have existed with them once upon a time. They were brought to a sort of life by the men who spent their lives building, dreaming, running, and racing these boats.

George R.R. Martin's writing style charmed me in this haunting tale. The man has a way with words that is as captivating as the magic he reminisces. Slower, sedate pace proves not to be a problem because the words are so gorgeous, the characters rich, the story enchanting.

This isn't the usual vampire tale - no sparkly vampires here, but really no actual vampires as we've known them before anyway. And that is okay, because it wouldn't make sense Martin would give us the typical, overdone fare. Some people only like the cruel, demented, soulless creatures that started with Dracula lore and legend, but this is a refreshing and non-romantic, realistic look at another sort. I enjoy three-dimensional creatures over flat paper creations, so Joshua York fits the bill ideally, but just in case we do also get an insane and twisted enemy for him to stand against and beside.

The ending is sad but inevitable, leaving me with me with a depressed but contented feel. Bittersweet nostalgia and gripping wrap-up match the tone of the book. Abner starts as a man who has lost his world when his company dwindled, saw the chance to live again - and live he did, but as we all know good things don't last forever.

You would think a book of this length being spent mainly on a boat would have boring lulls, but that wasn't the case at all. I was as entranced with the book as the men who rode these were by the river. There was a dreamy vibe felt when reading it; I could almost smell and picture those foggy nights and riding under that moon he described. Stunning stuff, the feeling comes back as I recall the story.

Recommended as a different adventure into the mind of a fantasy legend. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
When it comes to horror stories I've always preferred zombies over vampires, but damn if there's a zombie story even half as good as George R. R. Martin's vampire novel Fevre Dream, I'm yet to hear of it. The thrills, characterisation and storytelling rhythm are all top-notch, and the atmospheric 1850s Louisiana setting allies with Martin's evocative writing to create a gloomy and malevolent setting for the vampires to roam.

The vampire mythology is quite conventional – exposure to sunlight, drinking blood, etc. – but Martin provides his own refreshing spin on it. It's like if Stephen King re-wrote Huckleberry Finn. Martin also traces a compelling – if underutilised – link between vampirism and the slave trade; when one vampire challenges our protagonist that "only a handful have died… More slaves die every day in New Orleans, yet you do not work against slavery" (pg. 293), we see some of the grey morality that Martin would go on to use to stunning effect in A Game of Thrones. From the first meeting of minds at the start of the book to the tombstone epitaph at the very end, Fevre Dream is an enchanting piece of storytelling. Just as one character on page 179 is surprised at how the magnificent steamboat – named the Fevre Dream – could be borne out of such horror, so do I find it remarkable that Fevre Dream, the book, manages to be as beautiful as it is amidst the blood. ( )
  MikeFutcher | Jun 9, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George R. R. Martinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Flynn, DannyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sweet, JustinCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wright, PaulCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Howard Waldrop, a helluva writer, a helluva friend, and a fevered dreamer if ever there was one.
First words
Abner Marsh rapped the head of his hickory walking stick smartly on the hotel desk to get the clerk's attention.
So we'll go no more a-roving, So late into the night.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0553383051, Paperback)

When struggling riverboat captain Abner Marsh receives an offer of partnership from a wealthy aristocrat, he suspects something’s amiss. But when he meets the hauntingly pale, steely-eyed Joshua York, he is certain. For York doesn’t care that the icy winter of 1857 has wiped out all but one of Marsh’s dilapidated fleet. Nor does he care that he won’t earn back his investment in a decade. York has his own reasons for wanting to traverse the powerful Mississippi. And they are to be none of Marsh’s concern—no matter how bizarre, arbitrary, or capricious his actions may prove.

Marsh meant to turn down York’s offer. It was too full of secrets that spelled danger. But the promise of both gold and a grand new boat that could make history crushed his resolve—coupled with the terrible force of York’s mesmerizing gaze. Not until the maiden voyage of his new sidewheeler Fevre Dream would Marsh realize he had joined a mission both more sinister, and perhaps more noble, than his most fantastic nightmare...and mankind’s most impossible dream.
Here is the spellbinding tale of a vampire’s quest to unite his race with humanity, of a garrulous riverman’s dream of immortality, and of the undying legends of the steamboat era and a majestic, ancient river.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:19 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

During the icy winter of 1857, riverboat man Abner Marsh is made captain of his own grand Mississippi steamboat by Joshua York, a vampire intent upon saving his maligned race from extinction.

» see all 4 descriptions

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