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The Stress of Her Regard
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The Stress of Her Regard

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  2,358 ratings  ·  226 reviews
When Michael Crawford discovers his bride brutally murdered in their wedding bed, he is forced to flee not only to prove his innocence, but to avoid the deadly embrace of a vampire who has claimed him as her true bridegroom.
Joining forces with Byron, Keats, and Shelley in a desperate journey that crisscrosses Europe, Crawford desperately seeks his freedom from this vengef...more
Paperback, 470 pages
Published June 1st 1991 by Ace (first published 1989)
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'Salem's Lot by Stephen KingDracula by Bram StokerDark Lover by J.R. WardInterview with the Vampire by Anne RiceThe Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Best Adult Vampire Books
79th out of 1,145 books — 6,552 voters
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Mythopoeic Fantasy Award Winners
26th out of 64 books — 209 voters

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Community Reviews

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this will be my goodreads reading challenge goal-meeting book!! unless i change my goal again. but i don't have much time left...

real review:

'twas the week before christmas and all through the apartment, not a creature was stirring except for this varmint.

he jumped onto the bed and slapped me in the face and said - "reading the same book for a week? let's pick up the pace!!"

he continued his abuse, kicking me in the spine, and eventually gave up any pretense of rhyme.

seriously - it took me nearly...more
Jeffrey Keeten
”Quaff while thou canst: another race,
When thou and thine, like me, are sped,
May rescue thee from Earth’s embrace,
And rhyme and revel with the dead.
-Lord Byron
“Lines Inscribed upon
a Cup Formed
from a Skull”

Anybody who has spent any time in an English Literature department at a University will find that even though the centennial of Lord Byron’s death is fast approached women still find him fascinating and men still attempt to emulate him.

Lord Byron, those curls made women swoon.

He was the...more
Glen Engel-Cox
If you have yet to discover Powers, what a treat awaits you! For those of you who have read his earlier work, such as The Anubis Gates and On Stranger Tides, I know I'll be preaching to the converted when I say that Powers is one of the most exciting authors writing fantasy today. He is one of the progenitors of the "gonzo" fantasy, a style in which the author uses actual history for the majority of the plot, but inserts fantastic elements that explain actions left mysterious by time and which w...more
Nov 04, 2007 Res rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: sff
The one where a hapless doctor accidentally gets himself involved with a race of strange vampirish creatures, which gets him involved with Byron and Shelley.

I liked what this book did with the creatures, combining all different strands of folklore and of science. But I didn't like the book, chiefly because there was no period feel to it at all. It was full of anachronisms: in language ("How the hell much do you expect me to believe?" -- John Keats), in attitudes ("It's a sexual perversion, actua...more
It took a long time to get through this book. I downloaded it as an ebook from a really good independent because it wasn't available for my Nook from Barnes & Noble. The formatting of the ebook made it really hard to read and the material, like most of Tim Powers work, is very dense.

That said, The Stress of Her Regard was very enjoyable, especially for anyone who loves English Romantic literature. Some of the main characters include Lord Byron, John Keats, and Percy & Mary Shelley. I di...more
Mike (the Paladin)
Odd book this. It's very interesting and very well written. I go only three stars on it because the interest (at least my interest) wains badly at places in the book.

This is in "a way" a vampire story. As is so often the case today the author rewrites the vampire myth tying it in with or more correctly making it hybrid with several other legends from myth, folklore and fiction. This isn't a bad thing.

(view spoiler)...more
Los argumentos de Tim Powers siempre son sorprendentes. Alrededor de hechos históricos, empieza a tejar su particular tela de araña ficticia, arrastrando a su protagonista, generalmente perdiendo miembros por el camino, e incluso el cuerpo, a un viaje fantástico y terrible.

‘La fuerza de su mirada’ (The Stress of Her Regard, 1989), ambientada a principios del siglo XIX, tiene como protagonista al doctor Michael Crawford, que el día antes de su boda, durante una fiesta con sus amigos, comete un de...more
I like reading Tim Powers. But once you read more than one or two of his stories, you realize they're very, very formulaic. And they all share more or less the same flaws to varying degrees. I'm pretty sure there's marriage at the end of every last one of his stories, for instance. And the heroine may or may not I don't know have any lines that aren't shouting for rescue.

This book, while a very imaginative take on the vampire thing, kind of fell flat for me. You can't have Mary Shelley, mother o...more
A secret history involving the romantic poets, children of Lillith(Lillim or Nephelhim), the Hapsburgs, and vampire legends. The way the story is interwoven with the literature of the poets (Keats, Byron, and Shelley) and their hangers on and relatives (especially Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Polidori’s Vampyr) and with their history(and the political strife in Europe) is terrific. Great atmosphere and an air of creepiness and dread through out and the attitude towards the poets by the prot...more
There's lots to like in this book. The way in which it interweaves known points in the lives of some of the Romantic poets into its own plot of vampiric possession and uses their own writings to very good effect in the epigraphs to the chapters is all very clever. There are sympathetic and well-drawn (up to a point) characters. The conception of the vampires is original and interesting.

Yet for all these virtues, I did not love this book. It took me a long time (over half of a quite long book) r...more
Fantasy. This is a vampire story that includes all the classic vampire myths (Likes: blood, having people under thrall, invitations, their native soil; Dislikes: garlic, sunlight, running water, mirrors, wood), but with a twist. Powers blends vampires with succubi, trolls, the Muses, and Frankenstein's monster, and comes up with a unique creature that feeds off men while allowing them almost eternal life and a flair for poetry. Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelly, Mary Shelley, and John Keats are al...more
This was like reading someone else's dream. There were moments of haze where you had a feeling about what was happening but it was not very clear; and at other times, things were very bright and clear. When something weird would happen, like someone biting off their own finger, you would think, "that's seems a little off", but no great shocker. I don't mean the plot was difficult to follow; the story was well told, just the style was a little different.

The characters were interesting. Historic...more
Ian Tregillis
Tim Powers.

Lord Byron. Percy Shelley. John Keats.

Muses. Lamiae. Vampires.

Weighty, sloppy, thought-provoking, ill-disciplined, moving, incredibly-researched, boring, electrifying, intelligent fantasy.

This one very nearly became the first book on my abandoned pile a great many times, it is a novel that demands work from you in exchange for the most meagre of rewards for roughly 60% of it's length. When you're writing double-spaced, large-font airport trash that's one thing, but when you've penned a granitic ~500 page tome you've really got to have your pacing and prose...more
During the first several chapters I was afraid I wasn’t going to like this. It’s quite well written, but it’s weird and macabre, with more self-mutilation and blood consumption than I generally care to read about. The story grew on me, though, and I really enjoyed the last half of the book, and particularly the final scenes with Lord Byron battling monsters, by proxy, in Venice.

I know little about the Romantic poets, and I found myself hitting Wikipedia to reconcile this fictional version of Byr...more
Rereading this in preparation for the new book. Very disappointed in both Powers and myself as a young reader. While I enjoyed the fantastic elements well enough, I found a lot of things very problematic. The book heavily relies on the monstrous female without any examination as to how these tropes are harmful to women. The author and his male characters have nothing but contempt for the women characters. Women are irrational, uncreative, weak, hysterical, prone to mysterious ailments. Even the...more
Oct 19, 2013 Stacia rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Stacia by: Steve
The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers is pretty great. It's really intricate & detailed in many of the parts, and entwines lots of historical fact (lives of Keats, Byron, the Shelleys, etc...) with much religious story/myth/folklore (nephilim, Lamia, the Graeae, vampires, etc...). Thought it was a very neat twist on the very tragic lives of the Shelleys & Byron, using the story to explain many of the tragic & terrible events that happened to them. (I'm glad I read a bio of the Shell...more
Christopher H.
A quick read, and a fun read. If I could, I'd give this 3.5 stars too. I think what really made this enjoyable for me, and not just your basic scary tale, was Powers' clever integration of history and fantasy in telling the reader a story about the lives of the second generation Romantic poets--John Keats, George Gordon Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Mary Shelley, and even several cameo appearances of John Polidori (the uncle of the Victorian poets Christina and Dante Gabriel Rossetti). I...more
The night before his wedding, Michael Crawford loses his wedding ring—and finds himself married to a jealous, powerful, ancient vampire. His journey to understand and break this connection leads him to follow suffers Keats, Byron, and Shelley and on a torturous path across Europe. The Stress of Her Regard is ambitious historical and literary fantasy of mixed success. Pulling from mythology, history, and Romantic literature, it's dense and wide-ranging, a challenging book for both reader and writ...more
Original Review (Aug 08):
Fans of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova (such as myself) sit up and take note: Tachyon Publications has reissued The Stress of Her Regard by Tim Powers. Originally published in 1989, this is a dark, decadent, Romantic fantasy. That’s Romantic with a capital R, as Byron, Keats, and Shelley are all characters in this immensely imagined and thoroughly researched novel. The protagonist, one Michael Crawford, is carousing the night before his wedding when he places his int...more
John Eich
When I read the plotline, a historical fiction of "The Romantic Poets Fight Vampires", I couldn't resist checking it out. C'mon, who could walk past that? Sadly, I wish I had.

I think the author started with some mysterious lines in their poetry, saw some similarities, and made a fun supernatural explanation for it all. Then, they opened up the poets' biographies and started fitting this new explanation to them. They even added another fictional main character to fill in the gaps. But the act of...more
So at times I felt a little angry with this book, mostly because of the Mary Shelley character. However, I love the amount of research that Powers put into it and found myself respecting what he did in terms of two of the characters.

And the vampires had bite.
A.K. Marshall
How did I miss this one for so many years? This Tim Powers book from 1989 is still a fresh, terrifying (in some places), fascinating read! Follow the lives of Byron, Shelley, and Michael Crawford (only one fictitious), and be pulled into an alternate history hinted at by both Byron and Percy Shelley's own writings. I don't want to spoil it. It's an otherworldly, terrifyingly supernatural reality that co-exists with our own, and if you write, you're part of it--whether you realize it or not.

I tho...more
Ned Hayes
Even though I don't write fantasy (instead I write historical novels like Sinful Folk), I absolutely love the intricately plotted, surreal, supernaturally-infused work of Tim Powers.

In fact, I've tried to buy everything he's ever written. So yes, I'm a bit of a Tim Powers completist.... and the proof is here

I highly recommend Declare, if you want to learn how to write a well-plotted spy thriller, Last Call for an amazing Poker + Tarot story, On Stranger Tides for probably the best pirates + sor...more
Melissa Proffitt
This has everything I look for in a Tim Powers novel: dark, rich magic; an alternate history that fits perfectly with historical fact; and well-paced plotting that slowly reveals the secrets at the heart of the novel. I have trouble thinking of this as a vampire novel (which it is) because although the vampires behave just as tradition dictates, their origins are completely different. That origin story is, I think, what I really love about the book; the idea of their being lifeforms from a pre-h...more
Jeff Meyers
I read this when it was first published in 1989. With all of the talk about Powers's book On Stranger Tides and the newest Disney Pirates movie I decided to reread some of these older books by Powers. Here's a little review I wrote 20 years ago.

The story is set in early nineteenth century England and Italy, in the world of the poets John Keats, Percy Shelley, and Lord Byron. Michael Crawford, a young obstetrician, the night before his wedding day, inadvertently (but not without blame) marries a...more
Masha Toit
You just know that things are going to go bad from the moment when a very drunk Michael Crawford, on the night before his wedding, puts his wedding ring on the finger of an ancient female statue. In the middle of a stormy night. For safekeeping. He has reason to regret that decision very soon.

This book is not for the faint hearted. These vampires may sparkle at times, but they bite hard too. And yet they are not just evil monsters. They fit into our world with Tim Powers's convincing mixture of...more
Daniel Cann
This highly acclaimed 1989 novel by Tim Powers has been re-released as a “prequel” to the recently published Hide Me Among the Graves. Having read and generally enjoyed “Graves” I was eager to see for myself what the fuss was all about regarding the first book.

It is lengthy at over 500 pages, but, I can happily report, it was well worth it. With the original premise of following the poets Byron, Keats and Shelley and blending their exploits with fiction, Powers has pulled a masterstroke in the...more
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
From my blog:

One aspect of the Romantic period of English literature that I’ve always found fascinating is the fact that the three greatest of poets of the period (Byron, Shelley, and Keats) not only changed the face of literature together but actually interacted with each other and seemed to draw inspiration from the same wells of creativity. All died too young (though Byron outlived them all) and all left an indelible mark on the world. For me they were...more
Catherine Siemann
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Timothy Thomas Powers is an American science fiction and fantasy author. Powers has won the World Fantasy Award twice for his critically acclaimed novels Last Call and Declare.

Most of Powers's novels are "secret histories": he uses actual, documented historical events featuring famous people, but shows another view of them in which occult or supernatural factors heavily influence the motivations a...more
More about Tim Powers...
The Anubis Gates Last Call (Fault Lines, #1) On Stranger Tides Declare The Drawing of the Dark

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“Summer lightning made it seem that flickering white-hot wires were turning in the terribly blue sky just above the horizon, and the recent storms had driven in toward shore hundreds of gigantic Portuguese man-o'-wars that now hung below the surface of the water like big malignant pearls.” 1 likes
“Byron had drawn his pistol, and was looking closely at the leaves and dirt around him, as if he'd dropped something. "It's -- do keep calm now -- it's right over your head. I suppose you could look, if you can do it slowly."

Crawford felt drops of sweat run down his ribs under his shirt as he slowly forced the muscles of his neck to tilt his head up; he saw the upper slope, bristling with trees that obstructed a view of the road, and then he saw the outer branches of the tree he was braced against, and finally he gathered his tattered courage and looked straight up.

And it took all of his self-control not to recoil or scream, and he was distantly resentful that he couldn't just die in this instant.”
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