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.
©2004 George R. R. Martin (P)2012 Random House Audio
"A novel that will delight fans of both Stephen King and Mark Twain...darkly romantic, chilling, and rousing by turns...a thundering success. (Roger Zelazny)
"An adventure into the heart of darkness that transcends even the most inventive vampire novels...Fevre Dream runs red with original, high adventure." (Los Angeles Herald Examiner)
"Engaging and meaningful." (Washington Post Book World)
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I cut my teeth on the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; reading the 2 books (especially HBF) so many times I could quote whole passages before I knew what half the words meant. A world away from my world of beaches, surfers, and fish tacos--nothing was more intoxicating to think about than that big mysterious river, dark spooky swamps, and steamboats, (and alligators seemed much more menacing than sharks). My kids hated being dragged onto Disneyland's Mark Twain Riverboat, but I did it every time, this dork, looking down from the top deck, mesmerized by those big paddles churning in the murky green water... I mention this because I think many of us have at some time in our lives been intrigued by that mighty American river and the thrill of captaining our own raft to explore its secrets.
Knowing I was not a fan of fantasy, had never heard of G.R.R.M., my son badgered me relentlessly until I agreed to read A Game of Thrones, (I agreed if he would read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee). Finishing, I bought the remaining 4 books and plowed through the series like Sherman went through the South. I discovered that Martin is an artist and an original, creating dimensional characters and thrilling stories far beyond the realm of fantasy. His worlds are ingenious, magical, and convincing; they swallow you. Martin is everywhere right now, (HBO series starting up again) and when I saw a list of his books featuring Fevre Dream...steamboat, vampires, and the Mississippi... I knew this was no Twain, but the intrigue!
That atmosphere and scenery Martin does so well drips from this book, it has to be one of the eeriest settings in horror literature I've read. Moss hangs from the once majestic side wheel of the Fevre Dream, the black smoke stack seems to breathe, ornately carved railings are rotted, the parlor carpets and walls stained and moldy--a dark almost spectral boat, hidden in a secret swamp with its blood-thirsty passengers, waiting like a predator for a passing boat. The river is also menacing, devouring boats with its hidden sandbars and tangled buried stumps, flowing like a bloody artery. Martin takes Rice's New Orleans and descends it to an even more foreboding level of darkness. This was even better than Madame Medusa's deserted riverboat in Devil's Bayou (from Disney's The Rescuer's.)
The noble-ish Marsh and cantankerous York (the Yosemite Sam of the Mississippi) are a disparate and fascinating pairing, Damon Julian is what vampires devolve into when their ties to a once mortal life are completely forgotten, Billy Tipton is horribly wonderful. The "boat parties" are like scenes from Poe's Masque of the Red Death. That is what worked for me. What didn't work was the detail that is such a hallmark of Martin. The book seemed bogged with descriptions that went on and on, and York's fondness for peppering his sentences with "G-damned" added at least a quarter of the pages. Martin masters the stage settings, I had to pull myself out of this book-- but with all of the promise, I missed having more story about the characters besides York, more action on the river once the boat is turned into a vampire, more depth. I liked this unique approach, will never shake these scenes out of my head, but I prefer Martin's dragon stories to his vampire stories.
My taste in books seems to run along a space-crime continuum
This is not a typical vampire story. It is not a typical George R. R. Martin fantasy. The vampires are more like Barnabas Collins of "Dark Shadows" and Louis and Lestat of the Ann Rice novels than the Transylvanian Count, but they soon stand beyond comparison. Imagine Jonathan Harker morphed into Mark Twain. Sour Billy Tipton fills the Renfrew role, but you won't even remember who Renfrew was within 30 seconds of meeting Sour Billy.
So I guess I'd better stop with the similes and just say that this book defies categorization. It's not set in any of Martin's famous fantasy worlds, but travels up and down the Mississippi River and its tributaries in the magnificent steam paddlewheelers of the mid nineteenth century, one of which is the eponymous "Fevre Dream." From New Orleans to the shipyards of New Albany, Indiana, with stops in plantations and cities, the saga flows on Ol' Man River. And yes, there will be a race and an on-board fire (reference the famous "Robert E. Lee").
George R. R. Martin can create a full-blown minor character with a few strokes of the keyboard, and his major characters are indelibly etched within one chapter of meeting them. This artistry reaches its peak, in my opinion, in "Game of Thrones" and "Clash of Kings," the first two volumes of "Song of Ice and Fire," but it's plenty evident in "Fevre Dream." Martin is simply a magnificent writer.
As good as Martin's written words are, I suggest listening to this version rather than reading the book. The Scottish actor Ron Donachie doesn't narrate the book, he performs it. Donachie played Ser Rodrik, Winterfell's master-at-arms, in HBO's "Game of Thrones," and I like to think (though of course I don't know) that he and Martin are friends. Friend or not, Donachie does Martin's novel full justice.
I'm a big fan of SF/F/Horror, and all things in between and out.
There’s a lot of talk these days about vampire fatigue, and whether or not vampires should hole up in their coffins for a few years until they figure out how to be scary or interesting again.
George R.R. Martin’s Fevre Dream probably isn’t going to change anyone’s mind about the state of vampires in literature, and since the book was written in 1982, that’s really only fair. It is, however, solid proof that vampire stories can be laced with horror and rollicking adventure, and for those of us who like them that way, it's a hell of a good time.
Mississippi River, 1850s. Abner Marsh is a down-on-his-luck riverboat captain until a mysterious man named Joshua York makes him an offer he can't refuse: buying and building a new steamboat to Marsh's specifications, and going down the river with him as co-captain.
Of course, there are a few conditions. York only comes out at night, and makes inconvenient stops as they travel toward New Orleans. Pretty soon, Abner starts to wonder what York is.
Abner Marsh is the kind of hero we don't seem to see much of anymore. He's big, ugly, strong, gruff, loyal, and smart enough to realize he's not the sharpest tool in the shed. His personality, his determination, and his desire to do the right thing all ring true, and he's very easy for us to love and follow.
The setting is the other key: the story tales place primarily in the 1850s on the Mississippi River. Slavery is still legal - Lincoln hasn't yet been elected, and the Civil War hasn't happened. Zelazny's comment that it's part Mark Twain and part Stephen King is apt, and it's made me yearn for more dark stories set on riverboats.
Martin's prose is solid - you can feel both the humidity and evil sweltering as Marsh and York progress further down the river, with bugs buzzing just out of swatting distance. This is a dark fantasy with horror leanings, but to be honest I don't think it's anywhere near as dark or disturbing as G.R.R.M.'s ASoIaF series. It's not the scariest vampire book I've read by a long shot (Tim Powers' The Stress of Her Regard still holds that honor), but it is a fun one.
I’m of two minds on Ron Donachie’s narration. Donachie's an accomplished actor, and played Ser Rodrik in G.R.R.M.’s Game of Throne TV show, so I can partially understand the decision to cast him. But…for a novel set on riverboats in the deep south of America, casting a Scotsman to narrate the whole thing seems an odd choice. Donachie’s character voices do sound American (though his pronunciations of words like “clerk,” advertisement,” etc. are definitely British), but the body of his narration does not contain an American accent. After several hours, I was able to just go with it – and in the end it was a very satisfying experience. Donachie’s storytelling is expert, his reading clear, his characters well-drawn, and most importantly: he gets Abner Marsh completely right. In the end, I would have preferred a thick southern drawl telling this tale, and I think this was a missed opportunity for a great match. However, I'll also be very happy to hear more of Donachie's narrations.
Fevre Dream is one for fans of Dracula, 'Salem's Lot, and even bits of Interview with the Vampire. Those of us looking for a dark but fun vampire tale, with good characters in a unique and haunted setting are in for a good ride.
Hi, I'm a student at NYU and I'm also huge into MMA. I love books I read a lot and review the stand outs. I tend to read mostly fiction , but I from time to time I read more serious literature as well. Follow me and I'll make sure to give you the goods.
I was hesitant to buy this book because it had to do with Vampires. This is because Vampires and Zombies have become so common in fiction that they are almost a cliche. However, Martin's other books are so amazing I had no choice, but to give this one a try. I'm very glad I did because this is really an amazing book that keeps you deeply entertained. For instance, you can never really tell whats going to happen the plot and characters keep you guessing. The characters are themselves extremely unique, deep, and don't fit into classic archetypes, which is a wonderful change of pace from your average cookie cutter characters that appear in most fiction. The protagonist is a ugly, fat blow-heart, who for all his ugliness is quite formidable. I can't say enough good things about this book I think anyone will greatly enjoy it if they could just give it a chance.
Performance and print were equally good, but I could never make the characters as alive and individual, and "beautiful" as Ron Donachie did.
Julian's end is so well deserved...and beautifully performed..."whatever shall we do"!
I don't think so.
Finding out about Joshua's child, and his hopes and dreams for his people.
You can't stop listening. Listened well into the night even though I knew what was to come!
I like mostly fantasy - Robert Jordan, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, etc.
Let me start by saying I like this author & his Song of Fire & Ice series so I expected a lot of descriptive content with a strong story line. Unfortunately this book is extremely descriptive, often for no particular reason other than to have the characters ramble on without adding to the overall story content. This is not a typical vampire story full of action & fighting. It is a story of intrigue & suspense, or rather it is supposed to be. It takes a third of the book to get to the point that vampires are here & trying to survive. Very slow to develop. I'd recommend Martin's Song of Fire & Ice series but not this book. Listen to Children of the Night by Dan Simmons if you want an alternative vampire novel that keeps your interest.
If you enjoy period pieces, suspense, action, an intriguing story, and oh yeah, vampires, Fevre Dream is one I'd highly recommend. It has it all, with a interesting take on vampire legend and a touch of history to give you a great backdrop.
Unlike some vampire stories, everything about Fevre Dream falls into place in very plausible fashion. You really feel for the characters, and loath the villains. The author has given much thought to this story and its structure. I would not waist my time with a rating or recommendation if this book wasn't worth it.
Read it and like me, you'll be recommending it before you know it!
I believe this book was written back in the 80's which gave me a pleasant perspective given today's popular vampire culture. Also, Ron Donachie did an AMAZING job and made the story.
sorry, couldn't make it thru this one. It was just a little too graphic for me others might really enjoy it
Yes. The story is full and intricate with no holes in the plot. George R.R. Martin knows river boats and the period that this was writtten in well. The characters were believable and developed thorughout the story. The narrator brought the chatacters alive and real to me.
None. This is a one of a kind story.
Captain Marsh taking his boat out for the first time.
I would and have recomend this book to several like minded friends. It is an excellent listen.
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