Geneviève Dieudonné

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Geneviève, from the cover of The Vampire Genevieve.

Geneviève Dieudonné is a character appearing in a number of works by Kim Newman.

Overview[edit]

According to Newman, there are three versions of Geneviève, one for each series (Warhammer Fantasy, Anno Dracula, and The Diogenes Club). Each has a different middle name but each is a "trans-continual cousin".[1] All of them share a number of similar features, however: she is a beautiful blonde female vampire from Brittany (or its otherworldly equivalent), turned by the vampire elder Chandagnac when she was 16. Although she is around 400 years old by the time the stories with her are set, she still resembles a 16-year-old girl. According to Newman, her first name comes from a woman he once knew, while her last name comes from Albert Dieudonné.[2]

Variants[edit]

Warhammer Fantasy[edit]

Genevieve Sandrine du Pointe du Lac Dieudonné originally appeared in the 1989 Warhammer Fantasy novel Drachenfels, written under Newman's pen name Jack Yeovil. She later appeared in the novel Beasts in Velvet, several short stories collected in Genevieve Undead and Silver Nails, and the complete collection, The Vampire Genevieve. According to Newman, "the reason she doesn't have an accent on her name in GW books is that word-processing/printing techniques were so primitive back then that putting in accents was a major pain and used only on special occasions, like when listing her last name, Dieudonné."[2]

In the fictional setting of Warhammer Fantasy, Genèvieve was born in Bretonnia in the year 1839 of the Imperial Calendar. She was given the Dark Kiss by Chandagnac in 1855, and traveled with him for some time. Their destinations included the Empire, Cathay (where she studied magic and martial arts), and Araby (where she was a slave). After Chandagnac's death, she worked at a vampire tavern for a century, before joining a band of adventurers. During this time and afterward, she became a mercenary, spy, a convent-dweller, an actress (for a single show) playing herself, a wanderer, and an assassin. After foiling a plot to start a war between vampires and humans, she settled down and married her lover, the playwright Detlef Sierck.[3]

Newman has stated that Genevieve is one of the most popular characters of Warhammer Fantasy and that "a lot of girls were taken with Genevieve as an unusual, non-princessy identification figure (all the Jack Yeovil books have action heroines with Marvel Comics-style 'problems' beyond beating up the next bad guy)."[2]

Anno Dracula[edit]

Geneviève Sandrine d'Isle Dieudonné is a major character in the first novel in Newman's Anno Dracula series, Anno Dracula. The Anno Dracula series combines characters and situations from numerous different works of fiction and Newman credited himself as Jack Yeovil in the back of the book.[4]

Her fictional background is gradually revealed throughout the series. She was born in 1416 Brittany. Her father was a doctor, and she learned much from his trade. Disguised as a boy, she fought for Joan of Arc;[5] in 1432, after her death, she was given the Dark Kiss by Chandagnac.[6] In the following years, she had a variety of occupations, including nurse, courtesan, slave, and soldier, once more disguising herself as a male to fight under both Francis Drake against the Spanish Armada and Napoleon during the French invasion of Russia.[5] She was a good friend and implied lover of Carmilla Karnstein.[6]

In 1888 (during the events of Anno Dracula), several years after Count Dracula takes over Britain, Geneviève helps Diogenes Club agent Charles Beauregard hunt down the vampire-killer known as "Silver Knife", who is eventually revealed to be Jack Seward, who she had worked with at Toynbee Hall. Shortly after, she helps Beauregard, whom she has become a lover with, assassinate Queen Victoria on orders of Mycroft Holmes, thus dissolving Dracula's claim to the British throne. In the sequel, The Bloody Red Baron, Geneviève is absent; according to Newman, this was because she "was becoming too strong a character for her own good" and it allowed him to build up another character, Kate Reed, in her stead.[1] She is mentioned often in the book, however, and is said to have moved to an orange farm in California[5] (which, from later works, would make her one of the first vampires in California, much less the United States).[7] However, she returns as a main character in the third (and so far final) book in the series, Dracula Cha Cha Cha, where in 1959 she has to cope with the deaths of both Dracula and her lover Beauregard.[8] According to Newman, he brought her back because he realized her story still was not finished.[9]

However, she appears in several of the short stories set afterwards. In the 1970s, under the name "Gené Dee", she becomes a private investigator after assisting Philip Marlowe in a case,[7] although she finally retires from the business after a 1981 investigation involving Orson Welles and a cheerleader called "Barbie the Vampire Slayer".[10] Her further exploits are unknown, although she will presumably appear in the upcoming fourth novel, Johnny Alucard. According to Newman, he still has plans for her as of May, 2008.[11]

A devout Roman Catholic, she spent much of her early life wondering if she truly was damned as her priest had stated, but later learned to ignore and outgrow such self-destructive sentiments.[10] However, she is still very conscious of her responsibilities, and refused to pass along the Dark Kiss in almost all situations.[6] She was also a forward-thinking and imaginative person, harboring an interest in horror, science fiction, alternate history, and dystopian fiction. She read Napoleon and the Conquest of the World, Dracula, Big Brother, I Am Legend, and On the Beach when they came out, and for a time wished to be an astronaut after reading works of Arthur C. Clarke.[8]

In a proposed Anno Dracula movie, Newman had hoped to cast first Isabelle Adjani, and then Juliette Binoche as Geneviève.[12]

The Diogenes Club[edit]

Genèvieve Sandrine Ysolde Dieudonné, also known as "Jennifer Dee" and "Geneva Deodati", has appeared in a number of Newman's Diogenes Club books and short stories, along with several Anno Dracula characters including Beauregard, Edwin Winthrop, and Catriona Kaye. Although she is reticent about her past, it presumably resembles that of her Anno Dracula counterpart up to the late 19th century, where Dracula's invasion of England succeeded in the Anno Dracula timeline and failed (if it occurred at all) in the main Diogenes Club timeline. In this timeline, she remained in England throughout the 20th century, doing occasional work with the Diogenes Club. It is mentioned by the Undertaking that she was excommunicated in 1638 by the Roman Inquisition.

This version of Genèvieve appears in the short story "The Big Fish", battling Lovecraftian menaces alongside Edwin Winthrop during World War II;[13] four stories in the Seven Stars sequence ("The Trouble with Barrymore", a sequel to "The Big Fish";[14] "The Biafran Bank Manager";[15] "The Dog Story"; and "The Duel of Seven Stars"[16]); and in the short story "Cold Snap", featuring 1970s Diogenes Club agent Richard Jeperson.[17] She is a major character in "Sorceror Conjurer Wizard Witch", which depicts her first meeting with Beauregard in the Diogenes Club timeline.

Other[edit]

Geneviève Dieudonné is briefly mentioned in "In the Air", the first segment of Newman and Eugene Byrne's alternate history work Back in the USSA. In it, she is a schoolgirl around sixteen years old in a 1951 Kansas that is part of the United Socialist States of America, and has a love song written for her. She is presumably not a vampire in this universe, and it is unexplained how a girl in a poor town in Soviet Kansas had a French name.

In Newman's short story "The Mark of Kane", collected in Tales of the Shadowmen Volume 4: Lords of Terror, Geneviève is briefly mentioned as one of the former agents of the "Angels of Music", a Charlie's Angels-type private detective agency run by Monsieur Erik out of the Paris Opera.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Anno Dracula: The Background
  2. ^ a b c An Introduction to The Vampire Genevieve
  3. ^ Hive World Terra Encyclopedia - Genevieve Dieudonne
  4. ^ Anno Dracula afterword
  5. ^ a b c The Bloody Red Baron
  6. ^ a b c Anno Dracula
  7. ^ a b "Castle in the Desert"
  8. ^ a b Dracula Cha Cha Cha
  9. ^ Dances With the Undead: A Conversation with Kim Newman
  10. ^ a b "The Other Side of Midnight"
  11. ^ Casting a play: Interview with Kim Newman
  12. ^ Dances with the Undead: Kim Newman, Part 2
  13. ^ "The Big Fish" was first published in Interzone in 1993, and most recently collected in The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club
  14. ^ Eckert, Win Scott. "The Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology, part VIII". The Wold Newton Universe web site. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  15. ^ Eckert, Win Scott. "The Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology, part X". The Wold Newton Universe web site. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  16. ^ Eckert, Win Scott. "The Wold Newton Universe Crossover Chronology, part XII". The Wold Newton Universe web site. Retrieved 2008-07-21. 
  17. ^ "Cold Snap" first appeared in the collection The Secret Files of the Diogenes Club, 2007

External links[edit]