Castle Banat: a stronghold of insane enormity, created by a monstrous architectural genius. The size of Banat is such that it even has its own weather. Inside, room after room is filled with fantastical horrors: Banat holds an infinity of mystery and terrible wonder.
The castle is home to the Family, the clans that make up the vampires of the world. One of their greatest rites is the Golden, the sacrifice of a victim whose blood is the sweetest and most powerful there is. But in 186-, at a gathering three centuries in the planning, the Golden is murdered, brutally devoured by person or persons unknown.
The Parisian vampire Beheim, new to the game, is charged with finding the culprit. So begins a journey through the vastness of Banat and into the very core of the vampire mind; a personal odyssey of sublime terror.
Set against a backdrop that is one of the greatest imaginative feats since Gormenghast, and full of the passionate games and sheer sexual force of the vampire, The Golden is fabulous gothic mystery and exceptionally powerful storytelling.
Nebula and World Fantasy award winner Shepard ( Kalimantan, The Ends of the Earth ) here enters the current vampire novel sweepstakes, breathing new life into some shopworn conventions with flowing, seductive prose and lush imagery. Young vampire Michel Beheim comes to the Castle Banat in Eastern Europe with his mentor, Lord Roland Agenor, for the ritual Decanting, at which the extended vampire Family will share in the rare blood of the specially bred victim called the Golden. But when the Golden is brutally murdered before the event, Agenor puts Beheim, once chief of detectives for the Paris police, in charge of the investigation. Soon the young vampire is embroiled in family intrigues and facing the fearsome Patriarch of the vampires himself. Beheim's investigation becomes an odyssey of personal growth as he confronts his vampire nature with all its internal conflicts, including his uncertain feelings for his human servant, Giselle, and his growing love for a lovely vampire, Lady Alexandra Conforti, whom he cannot bring himself to trust. Shepard adds a wild, phantasmagoric element to his vampire lore through the sprawling mystery of Castle Banat, and through his focus on vampires interacting among themselves rather than roaming the world of mortals as do the caped counts and modern nightclub stalkers who crowd most nosferatu novels.