Locus Award 1994.
Deviating from traditional tales that feature lonely vampires who prowl through human society in search of victims or solace, this account of vampires flourishing in their own "inhuman society" takes place in the year 1860, when their centuries-long breeding experiments have finally produced "The Golden," a mortal whose blood is perfect and powerful. Mobilized by the news of this discovery, aristocratic vampire clans arrive at the looming Castle Banat, where they plan to partake of the sublime blood. To their shock, the guests find that The Golden, a young girl, has been brutally murdered and her blood already drained. The story also follows the Inspector Michael Beheim — a recent vampire — assigned to track down the killer. Recounted in full 19th-century literary style with gothic elements and foreshadowing, the inspector navigates his way through the vampire world and the crime therein.
Lucius Shepard (1947–2014) was an American writer. Classified as a science fiction and fantasy writer, he often leaned into other genres, such as magical realism. His work is infused with a political and historical sensibility and an awareness of literary antecedents.
Brief biographies are, like history texts, too organized to be other than orderly misrepresentations of the truth. So when it's written that Lucius Shepard was born in August of 1947 to Lucy and William Shepard in Lynchburg, Virginia, and raised thereafter in Daytona Beach, Florida, it provides a statistical hit and gives you nothing of the difficult childhood from which he frequently attempted to escape, eventually succeeding at the age of fifteen, when he traveled to Ireland aboard a freighter and thereafter spent several years in Europe, North Africa, and Asia, working in a cigarette factory in Germany, in the black market of Cairo's Khan al Khalili bazaar, as a night club bouncer in Spain, and in numerous other countries at numerous other occupations. On returning to the United States, Shepard entered the University of North Carolina, where for one semester he served as the co-editor of the Carolina Quarterly. Either he did not feel challenged by the curriculum, or else he found other pursuits more challenging. Whichever the case, he dropped out several times and traveled to Spain, Southeast Asia (at a time when tourism there was generally discouraged), and South and Central America. He ended his academic career as a tenth-semester sophomore with a heightened political sensibility, a fairly extensive knowledge of Latin American culture and some pleasant memories.