Here is the gorgeous and sinister story of Marius, patrician by birth, scholar by choice, one of the oldest vampires of them all, which sweeps from his genesis in ancient Rome, in the time of the Emperor Augustus, to his meeting in the present day with a creature of snow and ice. Thorne is a Northern vampire in search of Maharet, his 'maker', the ancient Egyptian vampire queen who holds him and others in thrall with chains made of her red hair, 'bound with steel and with her blood and gold.' When the Visigoths sack his city, Marius is there; with the resurgence of the glory that was Rome, he is there, still searching for his lost love Pandora, but bewitched in turn by Botticelli, the Renaissance beauty Bianca, with her sordid secrets, and the boy he calls Amadeo (otherwise known as the Vampire Armand). Criss-crossing through the stories of other vampires from Rice's glorious Pantheon of the undead, haunted by Pandora and by his alter ego Mael, tracked by the Talamasca, the tale of Marius, the self-styled guardian of 'those who must be kept' is the most wondrous and mind-blowing of them all.
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