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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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2,164784,664 (3.86)112
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.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
Fevre Dream is a stand-alone novel. The title comes from the name of a Mississippi river steamboat, the Fevre Dream (named partly after the Fevre river, now the Galena River). A down on his luck steamboat company owner, Abner Marsh is approached by a rich patron. Marsh is chosen partly because he is available, partly because he's trustworthy, he'll stick to his word once given. Josua York will pay in gold for Marsh to build a big, fast, fancy steamboat, maybe the fastest on the Mississippi, if York can be the nominal captain and if Marsh will do what he asks.

Once built, the Fevre Dream takes on cargo and passengers and starts down the Mississippi from Illinois to New Orleans. Right off, the trip is strange. York only comes out of his cabin at night and insists the the Fevre Dream make strange, long unscheduled stops. The boat isn't setting any speed records. It is soon clear that York and his companions, who are added to nearly every stop, aren't 'normal' and that York has a mission. Marsh would like nothing better than to just run a successful steamboat and pursue his dream of a steamboat race with the other fast steamboats, but that's not York's dream.

At the other end of the river, near New Orleans, Damon Julian and his overseer, Sour Billy Tipton are busy carrying out their own plots, which are completely and fully evil. York and Damon Julian are destined to be opponents, opposites in a war of vampires.

This starts in 1858 and most of the action takes place in just a couple of years, then conveniently skips the Civil War, then finishes up after the year. I liked the characters, I liked the action, though the whole 'these aren't really vampires' bit felt off. If it acts like a vampire and looks like a vampire, isn't it a vampire? Martin wrote this before Twilight, so maybe he started that whole trend. ( )
2 vote Karlstar | Apr 21, 2019 |
When struggling riverboat captain Abner Marsh receives an offer of partnership from a wealthy aristocrat, he suspects something's amiss. ( )
  jrthebutler | Mar 18, 2019 |
I could not put this book down. It sucked me into the world, and I felt like I was there. In addition, I loved the characters and really formed an emotional attachment to them. If you like vampires, steamboats or just good fantasy novels, read this book. ( )
  queenofthebobs | Feb 14, 2019 |
There is a lot to like about this mash-up of horror, fantasy and historical fiction. Martin's talent for characterisation is already beginning to shine through in this early work of his, although it is limited to the two main heroes, riverboat Captain Abner Marsh and his business partner, Joshua York, with a nod given to the principal anti-hero.

The thing I liked the most were actually the historical parts. You see, more than a work of the horror or fantasy genres, this is a novel about the American South and perhaps even more a novel about the lives of steamboat sailors on the Mississippi river in the antebellum era, through which the main conflict arises.

The main conflict is race relations, although the time- and location-appropriate issues of slavery and relations between white and black Americans are a bit in the background. The center stage is reserved for the human-vampire racial conflict.

In Fevre Dream, vampires are simply a different race. Yes, they live extremely long lives and yes, they need human blood for sustenance. But they are not all-powerful and, most importantly, they do not glitter. (They also do not fear garlic). Their most important weakness is fertility - I guess they are like pandas in the sense that it is difficult for them to make babies. This is why there is only an insignificant amount of them left in the world and they hide from humanity, lest their cousin race descends upon them and kills them all.

Is there a solution that would enable the two races to co-exist? Can the nearly extinct vampire race solve the blood problem, perhaps through scientific advancement brought about by the industrial revolution, and preserve itself? Will the fanatics on both sides destroy any chance of peaceful co-existence or will cooler heads prevail? Will (white) humanity shed itself of the horrors of slavery and start treating other races as equal?

Does Violet love Joshua or are they just having nasty vampire sex?

Read this excellent blend of historical fiction and horror fantasy to find out. ( )
  matija2019 | Jan 8, 2019 |
One of the best written vampire novels I have read. A real pleasure after having waded through so much tripe elsewhere.

GRRM knows how to write, and how to plot.

The main character in this book isn't really a person at all... it's a steamboat, the Fevre Dream. It is built by a Captain, and his strangely pale partner. Together they take to the river, getting involved in trying to set fast times and race other steamers.

Things hot up when it becomes obvious that the pale partner has night-time interests. He is hunting for others of his kind. And when he finds them, we get to some of the most vicious vamps in literature, along with their equally vicious human "pet"

The characters are all vividly drawn, especially Abner, the steamboat captain who just wants to be on the river, in a big boat.

And GRRM has enough twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader intersted through until the end, which comes with a perfect grace note. There won't be a dry eye in the house.

They really should make this into a movie... just to show what "Interview with The Vampire" COULD have been. ( )
  williemeikle | Dec 22, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Martin, George R. R.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Donachie, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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Canonical DDC/MDS

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