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The Stress of Her Regard | [Tim Powers]

The Stress of Her Regard

When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee not only to prove his innocence but to avoid the deadly embrace of a vampire who has claimed him as her true bridegroom. Joining forces with Byron, Keats, and Shelley in a desperate journey that crisscrosses Europe, Crawford desperately seeks his freedom from this vengeful lover who haunts his dreams and will not rest until she destroys all that he cherishes.
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Publisher's Summary

When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee, not only to prove his innocence but to avoid the deadly embrace of a vampire who has claimed him as her true bridegroom. Joining forces with Byron, Keats, and Shelley in a desperate journey that crisscrosses Europe, Crawford desperately seeks his freedom from this vengeful lover who haunts his dreams and will not rest until she destroys all that he cherishes.

Told in the guise of a secret history, this tale of passion and terror brilliantly evokes the 19th century. The chilling horror and adventure blend to create a riveting romantic fantasy.

©1989 Tim Powers (P)2011 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

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3.9 (102 )
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3.8 (87 )
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4.2 (85 )
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  •  
    Dave Whittier, CA 01-17-12
    Dave Whittier, CA 01-17-12 Member Since 2010

    I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrifying - A New Benchmark for Vampires Stories"

    There's a tense scene early on in Tim Powers' "The Stress of Her Regard" where Michael Crawford, a 19th century surgeon, is trapped inside an abandoned coach, and he likens the frayed fabric pressing against him to a growling dog's bristling hackles. That sense of impending dread - that disturbing discomfort is woven through every chapter of the novel, and it doesn't relent until the story comes to an end.

    This is without a doubt one of the most terrifying and disturbing book I've read or listened to, and the vampires are only part of what makes it so scary. Yes, I said this book has vampires, and if you're one of those people who's wondered over the last few years why vampires aren't scary anymore, look no further. There is no sparkling here. They are more alien and monstrous as any vampires I've read or seen cinematically, and yet, through the characters eyes, we see the gravity of their allure, their intoxicating yet violent, jealous, sexuality.

    More than vampires, this is a novel about vampirism and writing, and Powers features 19th century writers and poets like Percy Byshe Shelley, Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley, John Keats, and Lord Byron are just a few of the historical figures who play pivotal roles in this book. Byron is especially fun to see here, but Powers' portrayal of Percy Shelley is particularly gut-wrenching. I was shocked by how much empathy I felt for him.

    Simon Vance is the gold standard of narrators, and his reading here is proof why. It would be easy to make the famous characters that populate this book feel either over-the-top or out of reach, but reading Powers prose, Vance caused the characters continue to feel larger than life, while being grounded and human.

    The Stress of Her Regard is a terrifying and sensual novel about vampirism, muses, desire, regret, loss, and love. It's my new benchmark for scary vampire stories, and maybe just scary stories in general.

    If you like your fantasy incredibly dark and challenging, don't miss out on it.

    (I was thrilled to learn that Powers has "Hide Me Among the Graves" another book set in this world coming out early this year. I hope it comes to audio.)

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave Whittier, CA, United States 01-17-12
    Dave Whittier, CA, United States 01-17-12 Member Since 2010

    I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror (all the better if they're mashed up together, my dears!), and enjoy other literature as well.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    61
    ratings
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    14
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    Story
    "Terrifying - A New Benchmark for Vampires Stories"

    There's a tense scene early on in Tim Powers' "The Stress of Her Regard" where Michael Crawford, a 19th century surgeon, is trapped inside an abandoned coach, and he likens the frayed fabric pressing against him to a growling dog's bristling hackles. That sense of impending dread - that disturbing discomfort is woven through every chapter of the novel, and it doesn't relent until the story comes to an end.

    This is without a doubt one of the most terrifying and disturbing book I've read or listened to, and the vampires are only part of what makes it so scary. Yes, I said this book has vampires, and if you're one of those people who's wondered over the last few years why vampires aren't scary anymore, look no further. There is no sparkling here. They are more alien and monstrous as any vampires I've read or seen cinematically, and yet, through the characters eyes, we see the gravity of their allure, their intoxicating yet violent, jealous, sexuality.

    More than vampires, this is a novel about vampirism and writing, and Powers features 19th century writers and poets like Percy Byshe Shelley, Mary Wolstonecraft Shelley, John Keats, and Lord Byron are just a few of the historical figures who play pivotal roles in this book. Byron is especially fun to see here, but Powers' portrayal of Percy Shelley is particularly gut-wrenching. I was shocked by how much empathy I felt for him.

    Simon Vance is the gold standard of narrators, and his reading here is proof why. It would be easy to make the famous characters that populate this book feel either over-the-top or out of reach, but reading Powers prose, Vance caused the characters continue to feel larger than life, while being grounded and human.

    The Stress of Her Regard is a terrifying and sensual novel about vampirism, muses, desire, regret, loss, and love. It's my new benchmark for scary vampire stories, and maybe just scary stories in general.

    If you like your fantasy incredibly dark and challenging, don't miss out on it.

    (I was thrilled to learn that Powers has "Hide Me Among the Graves" another book set in this world coming out early this year. I hope it comes to audio.)

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kindle Customer Nahant, MA, United States 09-17-12
    Kindle Customer Nahant, MA, United States 09-17-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Invite this book in at your own stress!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Stress of Her Regard to be better than the print version?

    I didn't read it in print. However, listening to a narrator as polished as Simon Vance brings an extra dimension to any book.

    This narrative is so detailed that I might have scanned parts of it if I were reading it.

    One wonders, however, if Mr. Vance needed to be debriefed about the fictional nature of vampires after he was done recording this work.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Stress of Her Regard?

    The power of this book is not so much in memorable moments, but rather the cumulative effect of the world that it creates.

    And the title was so compelling that I had to try the book.


    What does Simon Vance bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    See answer to first question.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    No movie could do this book justice.

    It would take a BBC Masterpiece Theater miniseries like what they do with Dickens novels to tell this story on film.


    Any additional comments?

    This question and answer format is not helping me to describe the book.

    This book is so very detailed that at times I wanted to stop listening. Having said that, I found myself determined to get to the end.
    Without spoiling anything, what I discovered was a story that gradually grew into a much broader scope than I had imagined.
    The fact that it is written in the style of the period in which it takes place makes the narrative both enfolding and dense.

    There is a point about forty percent of the way through where the narrative comes to a climax and that could have been the end of the story, except for one loose thread which, if the protagonist were not such an incredibly decent, long-suffering victim-hero,could have been ignored. (Did you like that sentence? Then make a commitment to finishing this book!)

    After that the story sort of noodles about for a little while, like a sailboat trying to come about with no wind to fill its sails. Then it takes off again and expands greatly, like putting up a spinnaker.

    Eventually one wonders if Tim Powers doesn't know more about vampire lore than all other writers in the genre put together. One starts to dream of weird people-creatures that inhabit the sleeping world. DON'T invite them in!

    The ending, however, is a sweet surprise. If you like to read at the level of Harry Potter, this book will be a challenge for you. But if you enjoyed a novel as long and complex as Ken Follett's "Pillars in the Earth" (for example), you will probably like this, unless you abhor the supernatural genre.

    I am not a fan of vampire fiction myself. However the "proto-vampires" in "The Stress of Her Regard" are far more compelling that the garden variety blood-sucker. And I love stories that embed historical figures in fiction.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn Durham, NC USA 04-03-12
    Samuel Montgomery-Blinn Durham, NC USA 04-03-12 Member Since 2001

    I'm a voracious audiobibliophile, mainly interested in speculative fiction, with the occasional mimetic fiction or non-fiction title sneaking in.

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    "Wonderfully dark novel of fictional Romantic poets"

    A wonderful and dark novel of a fictionalized Shelley, Lord Byron, and John Keats, and of the more completely fictional Michael Crawford, amidst a world of vampires and poetry. If I have any complaint at all about the audiobook, which I very, very much enjoyed, it is that the character of Mary Shelley, who (briefly) writes Frankenstein during the events of the book, is such an invisible character. Indeed, Percy Shelley (and perhaps even more so, Lord Byron) are larger-than-life characters here, but Mary shows almost no agency of her own amidst Percy's costly self-destructions. But through it all, Vance is magnificent, and I hope against hope that the recently released (in print) sequel, Hide Me Among the Graves, comes to audio under Vance's narration. 4.5 stars.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer DALLAS, TX, United States 01-18-13
    Amazon Customer DALLAS, TX, United States 01-18-13 Member Since 2012

    I grew up on Golden Age Radio, and while I love to read, I typically consume more books via audio thanks to a job that lets me listen while I work. As an aspiring writer, I try to read a great deal of non-fiction in addition to a variety of fictional genres. I especially love history, historical fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and old-style gothic horror.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Superb Storytelling"

    Tim Powers has this belief that if he writes historical fiction, it has to be supremely accurate with no liberties taken with the known facts. From there, the story behind the story can unfold. In his case, it's typically a supernatural story to explain mortal events. One of the hallmarks of Powers' writing is to make you totally believe it. The more absurd it is, the more you will believe.

    The characters are completely engaging, and if you don't know know more about the likes of Byron, Shelley, Keating, and Polidori, you'll want to by the time you get to the end of this novel. These characters and their companion, the main character Michael Crawford, are all too human, making the dread of their circumstances feel visceral. The story is told in the same fashion as it would be had it been written in their time, but with a modern awareness of how to make the macabre truly spooky for even the most seasoned veteran of horror. The result is a vampire story that's not a vampire story, and yet is truly the mother of all vampire stories. It's the kind of story that, while you're reading it, you just feel is twisted and wretched and just guilty fun in a lot of wrong ways. Then when you think about it later, you start connecting dots from things you've read, just as the characters do, and the little voice in the back of your head starts asking, "what if?" It's also the kind of story that's so imaginative that it you'll probably just want to shake your head sadly at most of the other vampire novels in release today.

    As narrator, Simon Vance has been one of my favorites, having heard him on the James Bond series and the Master and Commander series. He lends a quiet sophistication and sympathy to characters that are truly beyond either one, which only adds to the verisimilitude. His style isn't over the top like some narrators, in that his performance services the story first and foremost.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary STAFFORD, VA, United States 06-29-12
    Mary STAFFORD, VA, United States 06-29-12 Member Since 2005
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    "You must pay attention"

    Not bad, I was surprised but had to pay close attention or would get lost in its many different paths. I have never read anything from Tim Powers and never read poetry from the gentleman in the story unless forced to do so in high school, but I want to look them up and read their work and know more about them. I know this was a fictional book but now I'm thoroughly interested in the characters which were real once upon a time. Simon Vance was excellent, I hope to hear him narrate many more books. I have read numerous books with vampires, but this one took a twist on the notorious night creatures and turned it into a whole new perspective. Bravo!!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 04-10-14
    Doug D. Eigsti Colorado Springs, Colorado United States 04-10-14 Member Since 2011

    Increasing my ops tempo by allowing storytellers to whisper in my ear(buds).

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Vampire Lamia as Poetic Muse"

    Tim Powers offers up an alternative mythology that is more intriguing than the inanity of the pop-culture version of Greeks and Romans that infest the social dialog. Tim Powers builds a complex world where the Biblical Nephilim are at once a source of immortality and the lamia and succubae of vampire lore. Counter that with other forces whose foresight cancels human volition and you have this odd fantasy novel. My mind was fascinated by the complicated inter-workings of the fantastical rules that govern Powers’ world; so much so, that the story lost any aspect of horror it might otherwise have had for me. It is a vampire story that is so detached from the real world that it retains nothing scary. But that is not a bad thing unless you are looking to be frightened. I was looking for Tim Powers to show off his capacity for strangeness and intricate plotting; that I did find. Powers effectively weaves his love for poetry throughout this novel. As is the case with most of his work, each section is introduced with quotes that are quite appropriate with the times and the themes of the book. Incidentally, if you are of a mind to trace the quotations, realize that the poet William Ashbless is a fabrication of Tim Powers and his friend Jim Blaylock that both draw upon to provide period citations whenever required in their books.

    Simon Vance provides a journeyman effort. His delivery is soothing and so very British. Sometimes I found that I was momentarily confused at some of his gender voicings. As soon as I thought I was able to recognize his typical intonation for one of the female characters one would turn out to be a male. His talent is that of having a great accent and excellent enunciation. He is not always consistent with giving each characters his own voice, or being consistent with a voice at every appearance.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eleanor Natick, MA, United States 10-21-13
    Eleanor Natick, MA, United States 10-21-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Tried to pack to much in"

    I am a big Tim Powers fan, but his books can be really hit or miss. The Stress of Her Regard has so many great Tim Power elements -- vast inhuman intelligences, multiple personalities, twins, the morally weak protagonist who has to undergo all kinds of humiliation, in depth historical research, writing and muses, particle physics as a form of magic, the reimagining of mythical figures. But this book feels about twice as long as I would have wanted it to be. Or maybe it would have been better as two books? But, still definitely worth it, because it's got vampires and Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, John Keats and Mary Shelley.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Shane Ellis Alhambra, California 07-07-13
    Robert Shane Ellis Alhambra, California 07-07-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Go on a Magical Adventure with the Romantic Poets"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, by the end you want nothing more than to be able to pop in on Lord Byron and see what's happening.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Stress of Her Regard?

    When they're in the Alps shedding the attention of the Nephilim and time becomes altered and slowed down so that it's like they're swimming through the air, that was a very vivid picture.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I think probably near the beginning when he first puts the ring on the statue, and the following dilemma that occurs. It was all very exciting. Other than that, Michael's repeated descriptions of the three moments in his life that haunt him. A broken boat, a burning building, a bloody bed.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did laugh a few times. When Michael has to bite off his pinky at one point the ensuing conversation with Byron was really hilarious.


    Any additional comments?

    Simon Vance did a great job on Lord Byron's voice but the other characters didn't really stand out. I thought the beginning scene with Shelley and him was a bit too fast a reveal of the magical elements. Also when the characters part ways and then are reunited later we aren't treated to their reactions of surprise or warm welcomes. I wonder if in the universe of this novel there are non-Nephilim vampires.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James tallahassee, FL, United States 03-03-13
    James tallahassee, FL, United States 03-03-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "wierd and wonderful"

    The stress of her regard is not your typical vampire novel, it's not your typical anything. Like anything Tim Powers writes it begins in left field and goes from there.

    This one requires your attention, but it is worth the effort.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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