Themes

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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 218

The inhumanity of man to man (but especially, it seems, to woman) is dominant throughout the series. The way in which the point is made is for the author to describe in gruesome detail the depredations that have been visited upon the helpless and their defenders over all the centuries of what is referred to as civilization. Some reviewers have complained about the extent of the violence here and in other novels, and find the characters that Yarbro seems to consider typical in every age to be actually unbelievable. Since the historical background of her novels seems to be an element which the author especially values, one assumes that the atrocities are all documented rather than the product of one overactive imagination.

Love is present in every novel in which Saint-Germain appears, and so, in one way or another, is sex. The Count is inconvenienced by sexual impotency, but he is considerate enough of the women whom he loves and from whom he usually obtains his modest wineglassful of blood every few days to guarantee them sexual gratification through his considerable manual and oral skills. This woman-centered sexuality, combined with humanitarian concern for the oppressed, makes Saint-Germain, scholar and scientist, not to mention handsome and rich, easily the most desirable male in the novel, mutant though he be.

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Characters