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Gifts of Blood

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  23 ratings  ·  6 reviews
A Russian tribe called the Varkela is also known as Children of the Night--or vampires. But the Varkela are nothing like their hideous cousins who made Transylvania famous. They earn the blood they need to survive by trading traditional healing skills with others. But unless something changes, the Varkelans will soon become extinct.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published January 1st 1992 by Baen (first published 1990)
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Seven stories from the Varkela series. My favorite has always been Leechcraft. Two other stories included, one of which is about a spider that lives in a lute

I love this book so much that I bought it. Actually, it was the only way I could find it. I had read most of the stories when they were published in magazines, but I love them so much I just had to OWN them. Did I mention how much I love these stories? I re-read this book about once a year.
This was another take on the vampire legend, but not completely new to me. Years ago I watched a story on television set in a remote village in Russia. There the humans and vampires lived together. The vampires protected the villagers from the wolves in the dark cold winters, and I guess (it was some years ago since I saw this) the humans protected the vampires while they slept. A Soviet officer came to the village and at first thought the vampires were bad, but came to believe otherwise. In fac...more
A collection of short stories. The subtitle is "Vampires on the Steppes." In this alternate world, the Varkela are non-human healers who accept blood as payment for their assistance. Well-written, thoughtful stories.

Also included is a novella about, I kid you not, extra-terrestrial venereal disease. Eeewww!
I rather enjoyed this short collection. The take on "vampires" is certainly unique and refreshing in contrast to the tropes of the genre. I liked the cultural setting as well as the scientific and medical aspects of the stories, informed by Petrey's own background in science. The last two stories, although not connected to the Varkela series, were equally enjoyable (especially Spidersong!). It's a bit tragic that her life was cut short so early, as this collection (her entire body of work) showe...more
Rich Friedeman
I read this before the vampire tsunami, and even then it was refreshing. It's built on a different vampire mythology. There are obvious similarities, but enough differences in what being a vampire means that it didn't feel tired. The stories were solid.
One of the most original, intriguing takes on Vampires that I have ever read. I read this book more than 15 yrs ago and have re-read the stories many, many times since. Highly recommended!
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American fantasy writer, trained as a microbiologist. The first of her nine published stories, "Spareen Among the Tartars" (Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1979), inaugurated a seven-story series featuring the Varkela, a vampiric race of healers who use herbal remedies and folk medicine as well as their supernormal skills to heal humans and animals. The Varkela - whose name translates as...more
More about Susan C. Petrey...
Virtuous Vampires The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 7 The Best from Fantasy and Science Fiction 24 The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1979 (Volume 57, #3) The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, April 1981 (Vol 60, #4)

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