Read Sustenance by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro Online


The vampire Count Saint-Germain protects Americans fleeing persecution—and becomes trapped in a web of betrayal, deceit, and murder in post-WWII Europe in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's SUSTENANCEThe powerful House Un-American Activities Committee hunted communists both at home and abroad. In the late 1940s, the vampire Count Saint-Germain is caught up in intrigue surrounding a grThe vampire Count Saint-Germain protects Americans fleeing persecution—and becomes trapped in a web of betrayal, deceit, and murder in post-WWII Europe in Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's SUSTENANCEThe powerful House Un-American Activities Committee hunted communists both at home and abroad. In the late 1940s, the vampire Count Saint-Germain is caught up in intrigue surrounding a group of Americans who have fled to postwar Paris. Some speak out against HUAC and battle the authorities.Saint-Germain swears to do his best to protect his friends, but even his skills may not be able to stand against agents of the OSS and the brand-new CIA. And he has an unexpected weakness: his lover, Charis, who has returned to Paris under mysterious circumstances....

Title : Sustenance
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780765334015
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 480 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sustenance Reviews

  • Veerle
    2019-05-07 19:05

    This book takes place in the 20th century, just after the second world war!Charis Treat is an American professor, who fled her homeland for fear of prosecution for communist sympathies. She left her husband and her sons in the States and came to Europe. She meets Szent Germain, publisher, businessman and vampire, although his vampire nature is only of influence to his love affairs! Through Charis he gets involved with the expat’s coven, a group of American refugees. They are trying to make the best of their exile, but they are under constant observation by the CIA, and so is Szent Germain. The spies are everywhere!Back in the States there is a fellow named Broadstreet, who thinks spying is a game, but it is deadly serious!Charis and Szent Germain become lovers, but being a ‘modern’ woman, Charis does not believe in vampires!The counts love for Charis and the interactions of the secret agents are leading to a very explosive ending!I like the count in the 20th century, with his fancy cars and his elegant clothing, dealing with the hazards of the time! He is haunted by memories, as he often is, but isn’t that part of his appeal?He is surrounded by a group of characters, who all put their mark on the story.Charis, the woman he loves, is missing her husband and sons back home. Roger, his long time friend and servant is much more a friend in this story, except for drawing a bath!The members of the coven are deeply touched by the so called witch hunt for communists and its influence on their relations with friends and relatives!The members of the secret agencies all over the world are also quite important on the story.This is a great book, a superb addition to the story of the counts long existence!

  • Michele
    2019-05-11 19:10

    HUAC, McCarthy, and anti-Communist hysteria have driven American academics, intellectuals and scientists overseas. St. Germain re-establishes his publishing house, Eclipse Press, and shipping company, Eclipse Trading, while becoming acquainted with expatriates in Paris. One of Yarbro's best in terms of pacing, plot, and characters. Charis Treat is one of St. Germain's better female partners, and I also liked a couple of the ex-pat's, Happy in particular. The secondary plot involving CIA agent Broadstreet was a little convoluted (and he was awfully superstitious for a spy, seeing omens everywhere!), but Yarbro does a great job bringing to life the fearful and suspicious tenor of the times. Published in 2014, there are also a few covert nods to contemporary attitudes, prejudices, and government misconduct.But Yarbro really needs a better beta reader and/or editor. I found a dismaying number of continuity errors (e.g., someone pauses to say something as they are walking out a door, then two paragraphs later they stand up from their chair) and grammatically incorrect sentences, enough that it distracted me at times from the flow of the story. I wonder if her editor just assumes that since she's been doing this for so long, it must already be perfect?Don't let that stop you from reading it, however. Still a good story and a sharp reminder that fear and suspicion are all too often employed as tools to gain power, a lesson we'd all do well to bear in mind.

  • Ann Schwader
    2019-05-13 16:58

    Number 27 in the blessedly long-lived Saint-Germain series finds the Count in post-WW II Paris, acting as publisher and friend (and, in one case, much more) to a group of American academics driven into exile by the House Un-American Activities Committee. When their lives become entangled with a shadowy CIA operation organized by a corrupt agent, no good can come of it -- and, pretty much, it doesn’t. Yarbro’s take on the anti-Communist witch-hunt is detailed and fascinating. As usual, she provides a preface of historical information – always worth the time when starting out on one of her novels. Regular readers of this series will also find much information about how vampirism “works” in Yarbro’s world (some of this was new to me, & I’ve read the majority of these books) and discover the fates of several characters from previous novels. That said, this still wasn’t one of my favorites. Although I enjoyed the postwar atmosphere and probably learned a great deal, I had trouble seeing how all the plot threads wove together. Perhaps this is due to my own unfamiliarity with the history, but the CIA operation and the misadventures of the Ex-Pats’ Coven never quite meshed -- and there were a few too many members of the Coven to keep track of. Though Saint-Germain proved to have some particularly lethal enemies, their motives remained obscure. Given the level of espionage and paranoia, though, perhaps this isn’t surprising. I’m uncertain whether to make this a three-star or a four-star review, but I’m afraid I’ll have to go with three this time. This is no reflection on Yarbro’s writing, or indeed on the series as a whole. I’ll be preordering the Count’s next adventure, but his brush with the Cold War left me a little cold.

  • Chris
    2019-05-17 12:16

    This installment of Yarbro’s long running series finds the Count dealing with McCarthyism. The Count, though his publishing house, meets various members of the Coven, a group of exiles from the US. He takes particular interest in Charis, a woman who has been forced to Europe, even while she misses her sons and husband. As most long time’s readers of the Count know, the modern setting is a bit of departure for Yarbro, and her conveying of the frustration and anger of the various Coven members is particularly well done. She gets bonus points for making the reactions different. Further, while her view of the spies is at times too murky (and this is no doubt intentional), the subtle comparison between the woman spy and the various women of the Coven trying to find work is great. Charis is both at once a fascinating and annoying figure. At times, her problems seem to lack impact because we usually get the Count’s view of them (in other words, when she is telling the Count about them), but her reaction to the Count’s nature is very modern and extremely well crafted.

  • Julia
    2019-05-02 13:09

    I’ve read most, but not all of these 27 historical vampire novels about Saint Germain. Saint Germain has been ‘alive’ 4,000 years, so there’s a lot of history he has lived through. To readers who have read more, or different novels, in what novel does James Emmerson Tree come into the Count’s life? This novel takes place between 1949 and 1952, in Paris where a disparate group of academics has been chased by HUAC. They call themselves the Ex-Pat Coven and monthly publish a newsletter they call The Grimoire. Charis, a historian/ anthropologist, comes to Szent- Germain as he is known in this book, in his role as publisher. After publishing Charis, he publishes many others in the Coven, and he takes Charis for a lover. Though he tells her everything, repeatedly, she can’t wrap her brain around what he is, except as a folktale. Meanwhile, there are spies from the CIA and FBI tripping over each other to find out more about the Coven; one pursues advancement by lying and hiring a hit man. This is an enjoyable read, but it is probably not the best entrance to the series, which is not one that needs to be read in order. For a good place to begin, look at Hôtel Transylvania or Blood Games. I knew about HUAC, but I knew about its targeting famous Hollywood actors, directors and writers, not academics. I borrowed this from interlibrary loan.

  • Nicki Markus
    2019-05-22 18:18

    Another glorious book to add to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's marvellous Saint Germain series. These book releases are always a highlight in my year, and Sustenance is no exception. That said, I am only giving this one four stars and not five, simply because the story did not grip me quite as much as others have. For some reason, I always prefer the more 'historical' ones - the few (like this one) that are set in the early-mid twentieth century just don't thrill me in quite the same way. But that's just a personal taste and is in no way a reflection on Yarbro's excellent prose and delightful characters and storytelling.Fans of this series will find this a charming addition to the canon; however, I would not recommend this one as a first read for those new to Saint Germain - try Blood Games or Hotel Transylvania first.

  • Lara
    2019-05-04 18:20

    Well-written, as always (what issues I may have with Yarbro's plot choices, I cannot fault her writing style), and touching on a time period that I have always found fascinating. The character of Charis was hard to relate to--it's probably me being a 21st-century woman, but her willingness to go abroad and live in, essentially, political exile so her husband's career won't be affected just boggles me. Different times, etc. Really appreciated the multiple callbacks to other Saint-Germain adventures, especially the events of Tempting Fate (which I read so many years ago that I had more or less forgotten the plot) and the assurances that Madelaine, James, and Rowena are still out there in the world. And not one overtly evil Christian to be found!

  • Diane K.
    2019-05-04 20:19

    I was rather disappointed with this one. I love Saint-Germain, and anxiously search for new titles every year. But this one...not that it was all bad. It's an interesting period of history. I enjoyed meeting the Coven, and the varied (and sometimes ludicrous) reasons that they have come under suspicion. Charis, for example, is suspected because her historical topic is medieval communes. This is akin to assuming that any historian studying the ancient Roman Caesars must be interested in re-establishing the Roman Empire. I liked hearing from James Emmerson Tree, now living in Canada and writing adventure books for boys, but I would also have liked hearing from Rowena Saxon (who will presumably have changed her name after "dying" during WWII) to find out how she's adapting to her new existence. And I watched with a kind of weird fascination as Broadstreet constructed an elaborate, minutely detailed, and totally fictitious operation merely to cover up the fact that one fine day he impulsively took an extra-long lunch! When one compares the repercussions of being late one day with the possible repercussions of learning that you have not only caused an appalling waste of time, energy and money, you have (far, far worse!) made a complete fool of your superior, one wonders that Broadstreet is allowed out in public alone. What starts as a game becomes more horrific when Broadstreet eventually decides to murder Saint-Germain, not as a suspected Communist sympathizer (it's made clear that Saint-Germain performed heroic feats with refugees during the war), but in order to have a vile crime that he can blame on the Coven.In spite of all this, I found the book rather dull. They basically sit around talking about their situation, look for jobs, and periodically sweep their dwellings for bugs.Plus, I was irritated by the frequent errors. As I've said before, if you are going to have an ongoing series with lots of characters and frequent references to said characters and various incidents in the past, it behooves to keep careful track of what you've written, because your readers are going to spot any contradictions. Especially when a reader has just completed a marathon reading of the entire series, and has things fresh in her memory. For example, in the short story collection THE SAINT-GERMAIN CHRONICLES, Yarbro touches lightly on this time period, with 2 letters and a short story, none of which are in sync with the novel. Granted, at the time she thought she was wrapping up a relatively short book series, unaware that Saint-Germain was going to grow and grow and GROW, but it would have been fairly simple to tailor some of the book to fit her previous writing. One of the two letters is written just one month after the novel's epilogue, and indicates that, rather than moving to England, Saint-Germain is living in Italy. The following story confirms this.There is also a reference to Niklos Aulirios (I really wish she'd write the story of how he became a ghoul and Olivia's bondsman!) It states that Niklos was executed on suspicion of tomb robbing in Egypt, when actually he was attempting to map the tomb locations for Madelaine. Uh, no. That's not what happened. In OUT OF THE HOUSE OF LIFE, it is stated that Niklos was executed for his valiant attempt to prevent Napoleon's soldiers from damaging or destroying the ancient relics. There is not one word about mapping, and Madelaine would surely have expressed some remorse that Niklos had died trying to do her a favor. Saint-Germain recalls when he avenged his ward Laisha's death. Apparently he considered drinking the blood of the five men he killed as a way to "vindicate" Laisha. Hmmm. That's not how I remember that scene!At one point, during a discussion with Charis, Rumplestiltskin is mentioned. Saint-Germain dryly comments that he is unable to spin straw into gold. Anyone who has read even a few of the books knows that, following an moment like this, it is mandatory to have a wry side comment, either directly in the narrative or as a mental comment by Saint-Germain or Roger. In this case, the comment should have been along the lines of "...that he could, in fact, make gold, not by spinning but by alchemical means, he kept to himself." I was shocked that Yarbro did not include such a line, and it drew my attention to an oddity: there is no mention of alchemy in this book. Considering that it is one of Saint-Germain's favorite vocations, it seems most peculiar. (Nor is there much mention of music. Perhaps Saint-Germain is currently off music because of his memories of Laisha, but it would be nice if she'd say so.) There's also a couple out-and-out bloopers. Near the end of the book, Saint-Germain's Jaguar is blown up, killing Charis at the wheel. Saint-Germain is close enough that he is essentially stripped of his entire upper layers of skin and flesh, leaving him a wet lump of meat. Naturally, he is recorded as having died in the blast. (Roger presumably extracted him from the morgue for private burial.) Later, when partially healed, Saint-Germain reviews a report of the incident. It states clearly: ONE fatality. There were two. It also shows Saint-Germain looking at a photo of a wet, red lump, and realizing that it's a photo of himself. Ummm...Saint-Germain cannot be photographed. That's why he keeps a wax image of himself, for any necessary photos.There is a detailed and rational explanation for why Saint-Germain does not hunt down the assassin and tear him limb from limb, but I was perplexed that he chose not to go after him AT ALL. Aside from the matter of justice, and satisfying his curiosity as to who wanted him dead and why, there was the simple fact that this is a heinous killer, one who clearly doesn't care what innocent bystanders may get in the way of his target. He needs to be dealt with! (And by the way, how is it that the assassin, after not getting paid sufficiently by Broadstreet, came out and confessed that he had been hired to do the job, yet didn't mention that Broadstreet was the one who hired him? Broadstreet's superior was fairly certain that it was Broadstreet, but he couldn't be positive. So what was the point of the assassin saying anything?)A lot of things were left hanging. The Coven broke up and went their separate ways; it would have been nice to have a little follow-up. There's no mention of how anyone reacted to Charis' death, including her family and her louse of a husband. No mention if Saint-Germain is going to posthumously publish her final manuscript. I would have like a scene showing Saint-Germain dealing with the obnoxious twerp who tried to keep him from publishing work by the coven. After his introduction, he vanishes and is only alluded to in passing.All in all, an unsatisfying book.

  • Charles Chlipala
    2019-05-09 20:03

    I read this several years ago, just after it was published. The problem was world building, setting the book in the time it was supposed to be. This is set in the early 1950s, not today, and California then was not the California of today. Things were off. Author is getting old and losing it. I have been this series since about 1989 when I first discovered it. But regardless, I plan on reading what will probably be the last book published in this series, Forgotten Gods, which will be the first chronologically

  • Dennis Cooper
    2019-05-11 17:56

    LoyaltyI guess we readers of this series are just like the Count's manservant. In that we're totally loyal to the series and probably won't stop reading it until our own true deaths. I've enjoyed it but it won't be for every body. Very little blood and gore but for me that's not the series is about for me is the horror of history and how unkind man is to his fellow men.

  • Morgan Dhu
    2019-05-15 18:03

    Sustenance, the latest of the Saint Germain novels by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, is in many ways a typical Saint Germain novel - we have the Count, now calling himself Ragoczy Ferenz, Grof Szent-Germain, his manservant and companion, the immortal ghoul known as Roger, an intelligent woman in some degree of distress who forms an attachment with Saint Germain, and a historical place and period of considerable conflict and sociopolitical upheaval which can present a believable threat to the wealthy and powerful but always precariously placed immortal exile.The style is familiar too, to any fan of Yarbro's invincible vampire - narrative interspersed with letters and documents which often give the reader insights that the main characters may never be aware of.The time and place, while historical for many readers, are just barely in the past for many of Yarbro's older readers - Paris and the Northeastern US in the late 40s and early 50s, at the beginning of the Cold War and the reign of fear perpetrated by Hoover and McCarthy, among others, in the US.The story focuses on the activities of a group of American academics forced out of their university positions and into exile due to suspicions of their being Communist sympathisers - however, even the most radical of the bunch seem simply to be left-wings free-thinkers who don't understand why Russia should suddenly be an enemy not an ally.As academics, most have a powerful need to publish - not only for their livelihood, but also for the love of research. And Grof Szent-Germain owns publishing houses under the Eclipse imprint all around the world, with long list of academic publications under their belt. When Charis Treat, a historian who made the mistake of researching the medieval commune movement, approaches him about looking at her own manuscript - and possibly those of a few of her friends, Szent-Germain is drawn into the duplicitous and dangerous world of American intelligence, the feud between FBI and CIA, and the insanity of the Communist witch hunt. And Szent-Germain has much to hide - though nothing like what the operatives swirling around the ex-pat Americans imagine. A sobering novel for Yarbro's readers, yet bearing within it the inevitable promise of a new life rising from ashes.

  • Jimyanni
    2019-05-13 13:03

    Thirty second in the Saint Germain series. Or twenty seventh, if you discount the spinoffs featuring Olivia and Madeline. Like all of the books in this series, this is a fine historical romance in which the main character is Count Saint Germain, who became a vampire in approximately 2000 BC. As literary vampires go, he's fairly low-powered, being a touch stronger and quicker than a mortal human, but with very little else to show for "vampiric powers". He says that he spent the first thousand years or so of his immortal life as a fairly typical monstrous vampire, but eventually outgrew it and has since become not only handsome (which presumably he was to start with) and rich, urbane, and elegant, but actually moral and kind, even heroic, rather than the anti-hero of most vampire stories. Each book in the series is a historical romance set in a different time and place; this one is the most "recent" of all of the full novels in the series, postdated by only a couple of short stories in "The Saint Germain Chronicles" and possibly others in collections of short stories that I am unfamiliar with. It is set during the "Red Scare" of the 1950s, and although Saint Germain does not enter the U.S. during the course of the book, most of the characters he interacts with are American expatriots in Paris, driven from the States by suspicions of Communist sympathies. This is not the best entry in the series; I would give that title to "Better In The Dark", but I would say that this one is in the top five. And it's better edited than many of the books in the series, having only a handful (literally, maybe five of them) of the sloppy typos that Yarbro is prone to let slip into her writing.

  • Vanessa
    2019-05-20 19:23

    The two stars are for the brilliantly rendered 50s world and the sense of futility that marked US academia during the Red Scare. I loved that. I was less impressed by the structure of the novel, and think far more rigorous editing would have helped (repetitions! one of the first thing an editor should catch). What plot there was, could have been summarized in a page. The characters were little drops of development squeezed from mundane conversations and descriptions, many of the scenes of no or very minor importance to the plot, whereas some of the most important scenes happened off-camera. St. Germain is constantly referencing his past, which is fine once in a while, but for someone who is reading Quinn for the first time, it feels as if all the substance is in another book. None of the characters has a real arc. Aftermath of a certain death, rather than being about the character who dies, is about St. Germain carrying on (but essentially unchanged), without real concern for what the dead character would have wanted, missed, or needed. Summary: gorgeous atmosphere, nothing to land on.

  • Paul
    2019-05-06 12:05

    I really enjoyed this one. Some of the Count's previous histories have felt a little slow, or felt formulaic. This time with the setting in 1950 and into recognisable territory. Moreover, from the author's introduction, much of the story was inspired by actual events that happened to her or people she'd known.I enjoyed the story, the character of Charis Treat, and the various people involved with the ex-Pats Coven. And the finale was certainly one I was not expecting by any means.I really seemed to evoke the feeling of oppression that the US was going through at the time. And that even an ocean away the anti-Communism witch hunts could still cause trouble for innocent people.

  • Denise
    2019-05-26 16:59

    Enjoyable, as are all of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's St. Germain vampire stories. However I found myself skimming the chapters where St. Germain is not an active participant, and there were many chapters, too many I thought, dealing only with the back story of anti-communist hysteria in the post-WWII years. The female object of his interest is this story wasn't as compelling as some others. Still, the Great Vampire himself is such an enormously magnetic character, his presence alone makes up for the other, not so interesting characters.

  • Lori Rumore
    2019-05-09 15:10

    I liked this one despite the many typos and instances of a character standing but in the next paragraph he/she is getting up from a chair. I think there should have been more Saint-Germain though. He was largely absent from most of this book. I want to read about him not faceless interchangeable government toads who see communists everywhere.Oh, well, the parts with Saint-Germain were quite enjoyable anyway. I almost wish Yarbro would write a book focusing on his mortal life but I guess Path of the Eclipse is as close as she wants to get to that.

  • Alyssa
    2019-04-27 16:15

    Really loved that this book was 20th Century. (I do love the other historicals, but something within more modern times is very welcome for a change of pace.) Excellent story, and I savoured every bit.

  • MichaelStarsheen
    2019-05-11 18:03

    A modern tale of St. GermaineI enjoyed the book quite a bit due to the interplay among the characters and the details of recent history that Yarbro has created. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys her novels of St. Germaine.

  • Emily (Heinlen) Davis
    2019-05-04 18:57

    I enjoyed the writing style used for this book, but I could not become engaged in the story.

  • Msoneworld4me
    2019-05-25 14:58

    I always look forward to Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's novels of the Count. Romantic, tragic and tainted by the politics of the time, this is another good read among her many.

  • Brenda
    2019-05-15 16:10

    I always enjoy a new Saint-Germain story, however, the writing was not up to her usual high standards - there were a few grammar and several continuity errors.

  • Sheila
    2019-05-14 12:18

    a bit too formulaic

  • Susan Pola Staples
    2019-05-20 13:15

    Review later