January 05, 2011
Getting Pulled Into Vampire Legends
A girlfriend from grade school, who I'm still in touch with, was "into vampires," and read every vampire book she could get her hands on while I read mystery novels and any book which had a complicated plot needing "solving." Vampires never interested me and I never even watched a vampire movie or knew one piece of vampire trivia, until recently that is.
If you love writing and grew up in a family where writing wasn't savored or done, you can't help but be thrilled when you learn that a relative later in life published a book. When my cousin told me his book was on its way, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it, promising to devour every word of his newly published pup. Then the box arrived. Was I reading this correctly? Vampires? What on earth?
Dead or a Lie is not just a vampire novel -- it's a mystery, full of intrigue, passion, love and a bunch of misfits who eventually find not just their freedom but peace and serenity at the end of a long tunnel. The main character Lee is a mere mortal, but one with "special blood," which leads her to a mission of 'freeing' unbound vampires, those caught between a mortal living world and the vampire unliving one.
She is known as the Sacrosanct, the "one" whose blood can bring the Unbound back to the world of the living. The power of the Sacrosanct's blood can bring the Unbound back from centuries living in a world of darkness, and into the light and human life.
Sacrosanctity was originally a right of tribunes in Ancient Rome to not be harmed physically. Lee's protector in the novel is none other than the dashing Luke Regens, who by day is a doctor at the hospital where she works the night shift, and by night, is an Unbound vampire whose mission is to ensure the safety of Lee, the Sacrosanct, so she an free them all.
If this weren't a complicated enough mission on its own, it becomes even more complex when he falls in love with her and she with him. This is where the novel moves from vampire-esque intrique and mystery to romance and passion, questioning our instincts, our choices and the lines between black and white.
If you don't have a history with vampires, you don't know of their hunger for human blood and emotion-less soul despite their often suave appearance. I loved the fact that a vampire, albeit an Unbound one, was given a conscious, not unlike the one Brad Pitt's Louis in Interview with a Vampire had throughout his 250+ years.
In the midst of and after finishing the book, I couldn't help but dive into four movies and a little background. Rules and legends differed depending on where I looked and there were countless variations of the implications of garlic, sunlight, silver swords, holy water, crosses and fire.
|Over the years, it seems as if vampires have gotten less "scary" as Hollywood producers and authors began to create human-conscious vampires who didn't get fully "taken" by the bite and as such, are living in no-man's land as misfits not truly belonging to either world.
I wonder if this has something to do with the onslought of American independent culture and as more of it pervails, more misfits emerge and overcome unbearable odds, i.e., Oprah's life is a great example.
People want to inherently see the good in things and so why not in a vampire? If we are the ones creating the new stories, why not add some romance and soul to vampire characters....? Just as Ann Rice did with her Interview with a Vampire script, Jason Barret with Dead or a Lie, Bram Stoker with Dracula and Charlaine Harris with Dead Until Dark.
I also learn in my vampire research and discovery that in Homer's Odyssey, the shades that Odysseus meets on his journey to the underworld are lured to the blood of freshly sacrificed rams, a fact that Odysseus uses to his advantage to summon the shade of Tiresias.
The strix, a nocturnal bird that fed on human flesh and blood is also referenced in ancient Roman tales. It's remarkable how many cultures have adopted various versions of vampire legends. Who knows how many people actually believe in them? Who knows how many have had encounters with vampires in graveyards or in their dreams?
Even if you have never had a fantasy of being swept off your feet by a Tom Cruise-like vampire or kissed passionately by the mysterious Doctor Luke Regens, aren't you a tad big curious?
If you haven't gotten on the vampire bandwagon yet, dive in and get reading and of course, watching. What are you waiting for?
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