THE VAMPIRE TAPESTRY
Suzy McKee Charnas
Orb Books / 285 pages / 1st edition (August 19, 2008)
Sometimes a title is a perfect illustration of a book’s contents. “Tapestry” so aptly describes the story in this horror novel that it is only three-quarters of the way through that the relevance becomes clear. The tale of Edward Weyland — at least, the brief span we see in The Vampire Tapestry — is, indeed, a weaving of disparate strands that comes together to make a meaningful whole. The fleeting glimpse we catch of the vampire’s life epitomizes what a tiny portion of the full composition we have been allowed to see.
In his latest incarnation, the vampire is Edward Weyland, respected professor of anthropology and director of a sleep research lab. It is his connection with the sleep lab that brings him a steady stream of hapless donors. Unfortunately, it is also what brings suspicion down on him and ends his carefully orchestrated, comfortable existence at the university.
After he is flushed out by one particularly perceptive woman, the danger to Weyland multiplies. From that moment on, he is a creature on the run, always looking over his shoulder. A brutal run-in with a Satanist (one of the most frightening characters to come along in some time) increases his risk exponentially and has him considering a return to the hibernation that hides him away from the world for years at a time, until circumstances are more conducive to his survival. But, he has becoming accustomed to this time and dreads the thought of awakening into yet another unfamiliar world.
Obviously, “Edward Weyland” is a vampire unlike any other encountered in dark fantasy. He drinks blood, but he doesn’t… Come to think of it, these unique characteristics are all part of The Vampire Tapestry that readers should discover for themselves as they follow the weave and the warp to the final pattern… if it is the final pattern.
What an interesting thought! Perhaps, Suzy McKee Charnas will deliver a volume of our vampire in a future setting, with an entirely new world to adjust to and endure. With his talent for reinventing himself, who knows just who would emerge from the next deep sleep.
More than a standard vampire story, The Vampire Tapestry is a tale of survival. Not of human survival, because Edward Weyland is so obviously a breed apart, another animal. This vampire is a beast who lives among us, but is never of us. His likeness to humans is just so much camouflage to protect him and to allow him freedom to hunt down his prey.
The Vampire Tapestry is a dark fantasy for those who love the old legends, but are ready to look beyond the stereotypes to something new. It is intense, harsh, and grisly and it has a depth that will absorb you. You may find yourself asking for more in your horror, as you should.