Before the wights there were vampires....
Abner Marsh has finally realised his heart's desire, he has built the Fevre Dream, the finest steamship ever to sail the Mississippi river. Marsh hopes to race the boat some day and prove its supremacy, but his partner seems determined to prevent him from fulfilling this ambition. Joshua York funded the creation of the Fevre Dream, but now rumours are spreading about the unusual company he keeps, his odd eating habits and strange waking hours.
As the Dream crosses the great river, it leaves in its wake too many sinister stories. Eventually Abner is forced to confront the man who helped to make his dreams become reality - before his dream turns into a nightmare. Discover George R. R. Martin's Gothic masterpiece, Fevre Dream.
©1982 George R. R. Martin (P)2012 Random House Audio Inc
If you like your vampire stories to be multi-layered, subtle and character driven, as well as drenched in blood, then this is for you. George R R Martin exhibits the splendid command of plot and character which he displays in his later works in this stand alone novel from the early eighties. Set on a Mississippi steamboat in the years bracketing the american civil war, this is a book steeped in historical colour and full of magnificently drawn settings. A confident and unadorned narration keeps the story moving forward to its thrilling climax, and the narrator's multiple characterisations - especially Abner Marsh - are clear and well distinguished. A fine work from an acknowledged master of the genre.
I read quite a lot of books. There are very few books that i read/ listen to, more than once. Fevre Dream is one that I will read and re-read; its that good. There are so many layers to this story. The historical setting, and morality of that time, is perfect for the choices facing the two lead characters throughout the story; it allows us to see the difficult changes both men are striving for within their own cultures, mirroring the abolition issue thats in the background of the mississippi river life, as the fevre dream journeys to New Orleans.
The main theme i got running through this story was 'Choice'. Abner and Joshua, from different sides of the fence, have to continually search themselves for what's 'right' in each situation they come across and not just what their peers would do. As Joshua's plan is revealed, there are all new trust issues that need to be dealt with. Abner and Joshua each play the part of a representative for each race with their views and ideals, and a great friendship is the result.
The friendship between the two is the best part of this story. Friendship out of adversity has been done many times before, but I don't think its been done quite like this. The cost of the friendship to each character, is great, yet even over many years hiatus, each remains loyal to the other.
The vocal performance of Ron Donachie is excellent here. He gives real weight to Abner Marsh as the tough steamboat captain, and the slow southern drawl of Julien really gives a sinister fell to the character. Every role is read expertly.
The epilogue is one of the saddest i've ever read. Not just for the main characters of the story, but for the steamboat trade of the mississippi, also.
There are few really original takes on the vampire genre. Not since Anne Rice's first vampire chronicle have i read such a good vampire story, however, this story is great because of its human side.
Well worth a listen
I was completely enthralled by this story. The intimate details of the steamboats and the people whose lives they fill. The characters are entirely convincing from the ugly steamboat captain, Marsh, to the elegant, charming and dangerous, York, to one of the most horrifying villains in literature. Although I did not immediately take to it I came to love the accents and the way in which Ron Donachie read this book. This is a thoroughly way to spend a few quiet hours or a long journey but be warned you may not want to turn it off.
Fevre Dream dates from a long time before Game of Thrones, yet many of the hallmarks of Martin's later writing are present. An alien (to me, in Northern England!) world painted so vividly you could be there, a cast of imperfect and believable characters, and of course sumptious descriptions of lavish meals.
Fevre Dream is a tale of the Old South, of steamboats and vampires. The principal character is the Mississippi herself, but the boats and the captain and the vampires are all unforgettable too. The narration is of the kind that gets out of the way and lets the story speak, and that's what I like. There's nothing here not to like.
I greatly enjoyed the first half of this book but by the end i had mostly lost interest and felt a bit like one of the vampire's victims . It's obviously a little bit hard to pull off a convincing tale about a crew of blood suckers riding up and down a river on a steam-boat but i must say that the author does quite an excellent job of that. It just seemed to me that he ran a little bit out of steam himself towards the end and that's a shame . On the whole , not a bad listen, with some excellent passages but did not quite live up to early promise .
In terms of narration - the characterization and voicing of the main protagonists was absolutely fantastic . Initially , i found the narator's normal voice a little bit annoying as it seemed out of keeping with the setting , being Scottish . But this passed relatively quickly and ultimately, i would rate the performance slightly better than the story itself .
Recommended. Keeps you guessing and dashes assumptions. You sometimes fear for the survival of the main characters (it's George RR Martin after all). A very interesting twist on the horror story of legend.
The twists and turns
He reads it very well. Got on with his narrative
This steamer has no seat belts so hang on tight
Something about yourself!
This was my first George RR Martin book. I watch the Game of Thrones tv show, which is what sparked my interest in reading something by him, but thought I'd try out a stand-alone novel before I plunged headlong into A Song of Fire and Ice.
So, what did I think? Well, my initial reaction was that it was a complete swipe of Anne Rice's Interview With the Vampire, to be honest. As the book went on, and as Martin started to demonstrate a large Mark Twain influence as well, it started to veer away from being a complete swipe and go off in its own direction.
Despite my early reservations, I found myself swept up in the tale Martin was spinning and enjoying the (steamboat) ride quite a bit. It was certainly sinister and bloodthirsty enough to satisfy the horror fan in me. I really liked the protagonist; Abner Marsh is about as unlikely a hero as you'll find in modern fiction and that accounts for a good portion of his charm.
Martin certainly knows how to pace a story and his prose style is delightful; I'll definitely be reading more of his work in future. As for this novel, though, despite enjoying it I felt it was too close to the 'swipe' end of the 'love-letter or swipe?' scale for me to give it more than three stars. I mean, it says on the cover that this is a groundbreaking vampire novel but his vampires, apart from some minor elements that I won't mention for fear of spoilers, were identical to Anne Rice's. The story's even set in the same part of the world! While this wasn't enough to spoil my enjoyment completely, I'd hardly call it groundbreaking.
Regardless of this, Fevre Dream remains an entertaining romp of a horror novel. You could do a lot worse.
I imagine that most people are attached to this book by the author, but to be honest I didn't really recognise Martin in the pros. This is however an excellent story and performance which I very much enjoyed. I particularly enjoyed the description of the setting and the life of the river men, as this is an location and period of history that I knew very little about, but that has been brought to life for me here.
Fantastic tale of Vampires in the old South of the USA in the days before abolition. Brilliantly narrated. Now going to find more narrated by Ron Donachie.
"Just another lame vampire story"
So predictable. So lame.
Just too predictable
Great character actor amazing vocal control. Way above this tripe.
I would have rewritten it to be about the gothic of the south and some other layers of mystical perversion. The area is so witchy why not really go into a Fever Dream instead of an Anne Rice rip off.
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