Masters of Midnight
ISBN: 0758204213 Global Overview for this book
11 journalers for this copy...
The fourth story, "Devoured" by Jeff Mann, is far and away the best of the book, and impressed me no end. It's a sort of "vampire Highlander in the Appalachians" tale, with a lot of moody flashbacks and stunning imagery - and more than a little bondage and discipline. Oh, and some romance, and suspense, and vengeance... The descriptions are lush, tantalizing, begging to be savored - I'll want to read this one again. There's even some humor amid the blood, lust, and romanticism, as when our narrator describes the books and music he and his henchman collect:
"Magazines like Martha Stewart Living, Bound and Gagged, Appalachian Journal, and Drummer are neatly stacked cheek by jowl beside an edition of Juvenal, a book on Wicca, a volume of poetry by Mark Doty, a Scottish cookbook. The stereo alternates between Puccini and Steve Earle, Joni Mitchell, Rachmaninoff, and Tim McGraw. Occasionally, when Bob begs, even a little Broadway. "Educated hillbillies," Bob calls us. "Ridge-runner Rump-rangers." The phrase would make a nice T-shirt, a gift for Bob's next birthday."
But more often our hero waxes lyrical:
"Loving a mortal? I've done that before. It's madness. Better to put my faith in that which moths, thieves and rust cannot steal. Better love mountains at night, the moon slipping behind clouds, the scent of honeysuckle, the precious safety of my solitude. Who knows better than I how fragile the human form is, how easily the skin breaks, the heart stops?"
Not always, though; when his new lover proves to be a chatterbox he mutters "Where's a ball gag when you need one?" I'll be looking for more from Jeff Mann!
[Update: Since I wrote this, I hve found several books by Mann, of poetry, short stories, and essays. While I haven't found any other stories quite like "Devoured" (I admit I'd been hoping for a sequel!), I have enjoyed Mann's other work very much.]
I sent PM's to everybody on ottawabill's mailing list, from his forum post about the bookring and from the book's journal entries. Several people did not reply, had made forum posts or profile notes saying they couldn't do bookrings at the moment, or had read the book elsewhere and asked to be left off; I've tried to order the remaining participants according to their own request as much as possible given mailing restrictions.
When you receive the book, please journal it, and PM the next person in line for their address so you'll have it ready when you've finished the book.
Note: even if you've sent books to that person before, please PM them before mailing this one, to confirm that the address is correct and that they're able to take on a bookring book at this time.Try and read the book promptly - ideally, within a month of receiving it. (If you expect to take longer, you can request to be put farther down the list. If you receive the book and find it's taking longer than you'd planned to get through it, I'd appreciate an update in its journal entries or on your profile, just to let me and the other participants know you haven't forgotten it.)
When you're ready to pass the book along, please make another journal entry containing your comments about the book and stating where you've sent it, and set the book's status code to "traveling". [If you find that you're having problems contacting the next person in line, or don't think you can manage to mail the book as originally agreed, please let me know; I'll be glad to try to work something out.]
Participants in mailing order:
Mytilus [was Mytilusgirl] - UK
Jare [was Jaremeister] - NM
Caligula03 - CA
LaurieS - NH
Guinneth - NH
Arwen-Galadriel - Canada
LadyGothic - Canada
Kanaye44 - CT
...and back to GoryDetails - NH [Was going to send this on to ottawabill but his original copy made it back to him first!]
Masters of Midnight (bookring, take 2) is on its way to BCer Mytilus in the UK. Hope you enjoy it!
Oooh! Thanks GoryDetails, I can't wait to get started!
I’ve looked forward to reading this book for such a long time and wonder if my expectations were too high.
Thank you for including me, ungrateful wretch that I am, in this book ring. I’ve contacted the next participant and will be sending the book onwards on tomorrow.
Now I'm just waiting for LaurieS to respond with an address.
Released 15 yrs ago (10/2/2005 UTC) at
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
Mailing to LaurieS.
I am nearly finished "The Sting" which I'm liking immensely. It's about a young guy who ditches his previous life after a painful loss to begin anew. He takes on a job as a librarian and begins to learn that there is something not quite right in his new town. I am anxious to turn the pages to learn more about Titus and our secretive young librarian and the secrets plaguing the town but life (and people) keep interrupting me.
An amusing (to me) aside. Today I learned how to get obnoxious boy-men/cell-phone-pushers to leave you alone while in a mall. I was wandering about the dreaded mall as I waited for my turn in the Apple "Genius" queue to arrive (my Ipod died, a horror in itself) when I passed one of those booths containing annoying young men bent on making my mall experience ever the more painful. You know the kind that shout asinine questions out at anyone within reach to catch your attention so they can sell you something you have no need of? Well, I had this big sexy red book in my arms as I frantically searched for a quiet spot to sit and, of course, they noticed what they assumed was an easy mark and screamed out "Hey, what are you reading?". "A book and I'm in a hurry", I screamed back. Oh so subtle and friendly am I. Not getting the hint (or not giving a damn) one of them says all big eyed and in exaggerated feigned interest, "Oooh, can I see? What's it about?" Annoyed beyond belief at this point (was I wearing a sign that says "Bug me guys, I'm a sucker"?) I hold up the cover as I continue to scurry by and say "It's about gay vampires and death, still want to see?" He stepped back so fast I thought he'd fall over his chair and gave me a weird look but didn't attempt to engage me in conversation the next two times I passed the booth. Made my day . . .
"Sting" started out well but sort of fizzled out towards the end. I can't say why without spoiling things for others and I haven't figured out how to do the hidden spoiler thing. So I'll just say it had a lot to do with the "villain" of the piece and leave it at that.
"Braden's Bite" was readable but the dialogue in the beginning was so cartoonish and baffoonish I could barely get past it. It improved but my notes say "interesting but soooo melodramatic" "sweetly romantic after a rough start". Yes, I need notes. The ol' brain isn't quite what it used to be.
"Devoured" was my favorite of the lot. Dark, deadly, sexy, edgy and poetic. Just the sort of story I most enjoy. The fact that the author incorporated wiccan sabbats throughout the story only made it all the more interesting. The relationship was nicely done too.
Thanks for sharing everyone!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
"Sting" started out in a much more promising fashion, and in fact had some pretty original elements. Unfortunately, it quickly descended into what read like bad porn and the ending simply made no sense - what the heck would prompt Ben to do such a thing? We never had any sense of depth to his relationship with Titus, thus the sacrifice Ben made seemed to come completely out of left field.
"Bradon's Bite" was just....lame. The characters were fluffy and one-dimensional, and I cared not a whit for any of them. I'd call this one a soap opera.
Which brings me at last to "Devoured". Thank God I kept reading, because this story was DEFINITELY worth slogging through the other three. Beautifully written doesn't begin to do it justice, but that's all I can come up with. Certain passages read like poetry, such as:
"So warm, the human form. I might as well be curled up by the great fireplace in our family castle on the Isle of Mull. Tonight the flickering hearth I drowse beside is his heart."
"But thirst always turns me back to the land, to the poetry of the human. Harder to find than the bleaker beauty of sea, of mist, of those pale stars, distant diamond grit visible for a moment, then swallowed by the chill gray. But if human beauty can be found, I am the man to find it. Tonight, when the Old Gods marry and mate, when the blade descends into the chalice and bloom breaks forth across the hills, I will take beauty's blood between my teeth, lapping skin as the sea licks shingle."
I loved Jeff Mann's descriptions of Scotland and the West Virginia mountains, and I loved that his Scottish vampire is a Pagan. The characters created here were so well drawn, I would really like to see an entire volume about them - or even a series of novels. More than anything else, this was a love story that happened to be about men, one of whom is a vampire. It was well structured, not just an excuse to write sex scenes - gay or otherwise. There's sadness and brutality and drama, and a good dollop of humor here as well. I will definitely be looking for more of Mr. Mann's work!
Thanks SO much for resurrecting this ring, GoryDetails!
p.s. My rating of the book is not a 3 because of the last story...and isn't a 9 or a 10 because of the other three.
Safely recieved and thanks AwesomeAud :) I'll crack the spine soon.
I have to say I loved "Devoured" by Jeff Mann. I'm sure I've read his work before amid my mega bedtime Vampire stories. He's factual, mysterious and made, a high quality story, with naughty bits, unlike the middle two authors,whom wrote rauchy, rude just cos, hoping it'll rank cos a vampire story :(
Over all I give this book a semi-okay rating, only cos "Devoured" is worth the read :)
Thanks for sharing this with me!
Gory, it's back to you but I lost your snailmail address over time. Pm me your address so I can sent it back to you?
Sent in care of the postal service to Kanaye44. It should arrive in about 2 days :)
Thank you Gory Details for doing this!
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
Thank you for doing this. Its on its way back to you now!
Update: as of 2013, Mann has a collection of stories featuring his Scottish/Appalachian/vampire/leather-bear hero, Desire & Devour; it does not include the story from this collection, but features tales about Derek's past as well as about his present-day life with Matt.