Count Saint-Germain (vampire)
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The Count Saint-Germain is a fictional character from a series of novels written by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. The character was inspired by a historical Count Saint-Germain, a mysterious figure in 18th century France.
The fictional Saint-Germain is a vampire who was born approximately 4,000 years ago in the region that is now Transylvania. He was the son of his tribal leader (hence, a prince by blood) and was also dedicated to the tribal god, the older vampire who transformed him. He experienced his first death when his tribe was destroyed by another invading tribe, together with their god, and carries hideous scars on his lower abdomen from being disemboweled. He spent much of his early existence in Egypt, initially as a temple slave, but eventually began travelling the world shortly before the start of the Christian Era. The novels have described periods when Saint-Germain has resided in the Roman Empire during reigns of Nero and Elagabalus, France during the reigns of Charlemagne and Louis XV, Russia during the reigns of Ivan the Terrible and Nicholas II, Germany in the 10th Century, Germany, Spain, and England between the First and Second World Wars, China during the Mongol invasion, Peru during the Spanish invasion, and the United States in the modern era.
Saint-Germain is not portrayed as a typical vampire. He requires blood to live but only a small amount, which many of his "victims" (usually female) offer voluntarily. His other victims are usually visited in their sleep, and he can take their blood without awakening them, leaving them with an erotic dream. Unlike traditional vampires, he is discomforted by direct sunlight and by running water, but is only damaged by them when seriously weakened; keeping a layer of his native earth inside his shoes allows him to navigate these hazards with minimal discomfort, and he always imports his native earth to build the foundations of his many homes.
In keeping with the historical Count Saint-Germain's claims, the fictional one possesses the ability transmute base metals into gold, and more significantly to make synthetic diamonds and other gems. The resulting financial resources are used to fund a variety of alchemical (and later scientific and technical) business interests in chemistry, fuels, and aviation, among other businesses. He also often is depicted as a minor character or diplomat on the world stage, particularly as an emissary of Nicholas II attempting to stem the chaos which eventually led to the First World War.
During his time in Egypt, he learned how to resurrect recently deceased individuals under certain restricted conditions, and his manservant Roger (based on the manservant of the historical Count) is presented as a Roman freeman resurrected in this fashion during the time of Nero. Such resurrected individuals are not vampires, but more like zombies or ghouls, save with the possession of their full mental capability. The only restriction placed on them by their resurrected condition is the need to consume freshly killed, raw meat as their only sustenance (Roger is inevitably portrayed as eating only raw poultry).
Saint-Germain has the power to create new vampires but vampires are unable to live together for long. Saint-Germain has turned at least two women he loved into vampires, the 1st century Roman Atta Olivia Clemens and the 18th century Frenchwoman Madelaine de Montalia. Yarbro has written novels about these women as well. Later novels maintain that he is only able to share blood six times before it becomes certain that his partner will become a vampire on death, though he can hasten the process by sharing his own blood with his partner. Several of his partners choose suicide to assure they will not be resurrected, and others die violently at the hands of his—or their—enemies.
A recurring plot device is the use of letters between or involving the characters to set off the individual chapters of each novel. These letters provide supplementary information to the plot and serve to advance the action in a fashion that increases the sweep of the stories. Most of the novels are broken into two or three sections focusing on character development of a character named at the head of the section. St. Germain, Clemens, and de Montalia are always "section lead" characters in the novels in which they appear.
One recurring theme of the novels is that the villains (or sometimes anti-heroes) are often cruel and sadistic, emphasizing that man's inhumanity to man far outstrips the legendary or fictional evil of vampires.
The Saint-Germain novels
- Hôtel Transylvania (1978) is coincident with the historical Count Saint-Germain, set in the France of Louis XV, and involves his interaction with a cult of Satan-worshippers who threaten various men and women of his acquaintance.
- The Palace (1978) is set in Florence in the time of Lorenzo de Medici and Botticelli, who appear as characters.
- Blood Games (1980) is set in Nero's Rome.
- Path of the Eclipse (1981) involves St. Germain's escape from Genghis Khan through Tibet and India.
- Tempting Fate (1982) is set in Europe after World War I and chronicles the rise of the Nazi party in Germany.
- The Saint-Germain Chronicles (a short story collection) (1983) In five stories set in the 19th and 20th century, St. Germain explores various parts of his life. The final story, "Cabin 33", is the latest story in the canon, set at a dude ranch in the American West owned by St. Germain and Roger, and concludes with St. Germain and de Montalia deciding to see if they can break with vampire tradition and live together as husband and wife.
- Out of the House of Life (1990) principally concerns the adventures of de Montalia on an 1810 archaeological expedition to Egypt, punctuated with long letters from St. Germain which contain information she uses to find artifacts left behind from his "life" there. However, St. Germain only appears as a character directly for a short period at the end of the novel.
- Darker Jewels (1993) is set in the Russia of Ivan the Terrible.
- Better In The Dark (1993) is set in Germany in the 10th century.
- Mansions of Darkness (1996) features St. Germain in Spanish America in the 17th century.
- Writ in Blood (1997) features St. Germain as a secret agent of Russian Tsar Nicholas II, attempting to patch the ties of blood between the European royal families and prevent the outbreak of World War I.
- Blood Roses (1998) is set at various locations in France during the Plague years.
- Communion Blood (1999) is set in Rome in the late 17th century.
- Come Twilight (2000) is set in Moorish Spain, featuring Csiminae, the only other vampire beside Madelaine to survive into modern times.
- A Feast in Exile (2001) is set in India at the time of Tamurlane's invasion.
- Night Blooming (2002) is set in the Frankish kingdom of Charlemagne.
- Midnight Harvest (2003) features St. Germain's visit to the United States following the events of Tempting Fate.
- Dark of the Sun (2004) is set in China in the 6th century.
- States of Grace (2005) is set in Western Europe in the 1530s.
- Roman Dusk (2006) is set in Rome from 218-220.
- Borne in Blood (2007) is set in Europe in 1817.
- A Dangerous Climate (2008) is set in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in the early 18th century.
- St. Germain : Memoirs (2008) is a second collection of short stories featuring episodes throughout St. Germain's history including "Intercessions", a series of letters by his manservant Roger, trying to gain freedom for his master while he was imprisoned in South America.
- An Embarrassment of Riches (2009) Set in the court of Queen Kunigunde of Bohemia in 13th-century Prague.
- Burning Shadows (2010) finds St. Germain a part of the Regional Guard of Apulum Inferior as the Huns flood Europe during the early 5th century.
- Commedia della Morte (2011) finds St. Germain and de Montalia caught up in the French Revolution.
- Sustenance (2014)
The Atta Olivia Clemens novels
- A Flame in Byzantium (1987)
- Crusader's Torch (1988)
- A Candle for D'Artagnan (1989)
The Madelaine de Montalia novels
- Out of the House of Life (1990)
- In the Face of Death (2004)
- Saint-Germain—Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's official site