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‘The blood shone black as liquid night, as the River of the Underland. It tasted meat-thick, and salt, and sweet, familiar as wine or milk or oil. He gulped it down and down. And as he drank, every physical apparatus of his body shone within as if with cores of fire.’ Presenting twenty tales of vampire horror from acclaimed fantasy and horror writer Tanith Lee. Selected f ‘The blood shone black as liquid night, as the River of the Underland. It tasted meat-thick, and salt, and sweet, familiar as wine or milk or oil. He gulped it down and down. And as he drank, every physical apparatus of his body shone within as if with cores of fire.’ Presenting twenty tales of vampire horror from acclaimed fantasy and horror writer Tanith Lee. Selected from Tanith’s incredible body of writing, the stories represent a journey through time into darkness from which you may not emerge unscathed. From the Roman Empire to cursed Dukes; from sickly sisters to haunted Ladies; from the Parisian underground to a far flung and unknowable future: Tanith Lee’s incredible imagination knows no bounds, and the horrors and visions revealed by her words will stay with you forever. Including five stories original to this collection and fifteen previously published works, this book represents Tanith Lee at the very height of her literary powers. Drink deep, and never forget ...


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‘The blood shone black as liquid night, as the River of the Underland. It tasted meat-thick, and salt, and sweet, familiar as wine or milk or oil. He gulped it down and down. And as he drank, every physical apparatus of his body shone within as if with cores of fire.’ Presenting twenty tales of vampire horror from acclaimed fantasy and horror writer Tanith Lee. Selected f ‘The blood shone black as liquid night, as the River of the Underland. It tasted meat-thick, and salt, and sweet, familiar as wine or milk or oil. He gulped it down and down. And as he drank, every physical apparatus of his body shone within as if with cores of fire.’ Presenting twenty tales of vampire horror from acclaimed fantasy and horror writer Tanith Lee. Selected from Tanith’s incredible body of writing, the stories represent a journey through time into darkness from which you may not emerge unscathed. From the Roman Empire to cursed Dukes; from sickly sisters to haunted Ladies; from the Parisian underground to a far flung and unknowable future: Tanith Lee’s incredible imagination knows no bounds, and the horrors and visions revealed by her words will stay with you forever. Including five stories original to this collection and fifteen previously published works, this book represents Tanith Lee at the very height of her literary powers. Drink deep, and never forget ...

44 review for Blood 20: Tales of Vampire Horror

  1. 5 out of 5

    Char

    I finished this collection of vampire tales from Tanith Lee and I enjoyed them, though not all of them floated my boat. When I was offered the chance to read this volume for free, I jumped at it. I was familiar with Lee's name and her recent death last June, and I felt sad that I hadn't yet read any of her work. Here was my chance to rectify that. This was a mixed bag of tales. There were twenty of them and the only connecting thread was vampires. However, they may or may not be vampires similar I finished this collection of vampire tales from Tanith Lee and I enjoyed them, though not all of them floated my boat. When I was offered the chance to read this volume for free, I jumped at it. I was familiar with Lee's name and her recent death last June, and I felt sad that I hadn't yet read any of her work. Here was my chance to rectify that. This was a mixed bag of tales. There were twenty of them and the only connecting thread was vampires. However, they may or may not be vampires similar to those you've read about in the past. These tales varied from the more recent and technological, like VHONE , the newest and latest cell phone that you suckle like a newborn babe, (I love my VHONE),or to a vampire in a nursing home, (or does she have Alzheimer's?) as in La Vampiresse ,or to Winter Flowers where the vampires get out-vampired. Of all these stories, there was one I did not finish, Bite-Me-Not , and one other that I didn't care for. There were a few more than those I mentioned above that I thought were home runs, like Blood Chess and Remember Me , (a tale about the birth and rise of Van Helsing.) Overall, these vampire tales ranged from modern to ancient, from short to quite long, and everything in between. The creativity to invent vampires in almost every age and situation one can think of boggles the imagination. I know that Chelsea Quinn Yarbro does it and does it very well and I now think of Tanith Lee along that same vein. To write stories about vampires where the vampire is not the main event is pretty tricky business in my book, and in this case I think Tanith Lee has managed it quite well. These tales are about people, their preconceptions about vampires, and what happens to them both. If that sounds interesting to you, I recommend you check out this collection! *I received a free copy of this collection from Telos Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This is it.*

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    There are a number of stories in this collection that have never been previously published, and they are: 007 - "On Reflection" 213 - "Night Visitor" 257 - "Scarabesque: The Girl Who Broke Dracula" 291 - "Vhone" 295 - "Real and Vine" There are a number of stories in this collection that have never been previously published, and they are: 007 - "On Reflection" 213 - "Night Visitor" 257 - "Scarabesque: The Girl Who Broke Dracula" 291 - "Vhone" 295 - "Real and Vine"

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tom

    A collection of novellas and short stories based on the theme of vampirism. I have rated each individually below. Five of the stories in this collection are previously unpublished. +++ On Reflection - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Bite Me Not or Fleur De Fur - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Vampire Lover - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Winter Flowers - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Il Bacio (Il Chave) - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Blood Chess - ⭐⭐⭐ The Isle Is Full of Noises - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Israbel - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Remember Me - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Night Visitor - ⭐⭐⭐ The Third Horseman - ⭐⭐⭐ Mirror, Mirror - ⭐⭐ Nunc Dimittis - ⭐⭐⭐ La Vampiresse - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Scarab A collection of novellas and short stories based on the theme of vampirism. I have rated each individually below. Five of the stories in this collection are previously unpublished. +++ On Reflection - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Bite Me Not or Fleur De Fur - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Vampire Lover - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Winter Flowers - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Il Bacio (Il Chave) - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Blood Chess - ⭐⭐⭐ The Isle Is Full of Noises - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Israbel - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Remember Me - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Night Visitor - ⭐⭐⭐ The Third Horseman - ⭐⭐⭐ Mirror, Mirror - ⭐⭐ Nunc Dimittis - ⭐⭐⭐ La Vampiresse - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ Scarabesque: The Girl Who Broke Dracula - ⭐⭐ Vermilia - ⭐⭐⭐ Vhone - ⭐⭐ Real and Vire - ⭐⭐⭐⭐ The Beautiful Biting Machine - ⭐⭐⭐ Beyond the Sun - ⭐⭐⭐

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tina Rath

    This is a wonderful collection of vampire stories, some traditional, some actually including new and startling takes on the vampire myth - you would not have thought it possible to write an original vampire story, but Tanith Lee did it, and did it well. I can't recommend it too highly This is a wonderful collection of vampire stories, some traditional, some actually including new and startling takes on the vampire myth - you would not have thought it possible to write an original vampire story, but Tanith Lee did it, and did it well. I can't recommend it too highly

  5. 5 out of 5

    Eamonn Murphy

    ‘Blood 20: Tales Of Vampire Horror’ is a collection of vampire stories written by Tanith Lee. Having heard of her but never read her work, I looked forward to getting a good sample here. The first story, ‘On Reflection’, is set in a desert outpost of the diminishing Roman Empire and starts with battalion commander Marcus Scorpius Corbo finding a polished metal mirror by a sabotaged well on the way back to his fort. The mirror seemed to want him to find it. Mirrors are rare things owned only by th ‘Blood 20: Tales Of Vampire Horror’ is a collection of vampire stories written by Tanith Lee. Having heard of her but never read her work, I looked forward to getting a good sample here. The first story, ‘On Reflection’, is set in a desert outpost of the diminishing Roman Empire and starts with battalion commander Marcus Scorpius Corbo finding a polished metal mirror by a sabotaged well on the way back to his fort. The mirror seemed to want him to find it. Mirrors are rare things owned only by the rich and there’s an odd sensation when he gazes into it. Vampirism rears its head towards the end. A well-wrought mood piece that realistically portrayed the attitudes of a veteran Roman soldier accustomed to blood and death. In the castle of the Cursed Duke, besieged by vampires but they can’t get in, there’s a scullery maid of no importance whatsoever but she does bear a remarkable resemblance to the Duke’s daughter. This takes an odd, amoral turn and ends up as an unconventional romance that is still, somehow, touching, thanks to the author’s skill. There are lords and ladies of a more ordinary kind in ‘The Vampire Lover’, a family tale of two sisters. Mariamme is the apple of her father’s eye and beloved by all, especially those young men who come a-courting. The other is scholarly, plain, of little significance but seems to admire her beautiful sister as much as everyone else so when Mariamme has a frequent, secret night-time visitor to her bedroom and becomes ill, it’s time to act. This is subtle. Dismissed unpaid by Duke Waif after the siege of Bethelmai, Maurs and his troop of soldiers, vampires all, wander away, hungry and poor. In the snowy mountains, they find a luxurious, deserted castle with food all laid on ready, fire in the hearth and luxurious beds and clothing. Enchanted, surely. A trap? ‘Winter Flowers’ reads like a classic from ‘Weird Tales’ with prose like this: ‘The lamps had all gone out and the changeless fire was sunken low, livid hovering lizard tongues on the remnants of the wood like blackened bones.’ There is, sometimes, more to reading than the story. Films can do a story, sometimes better than text but only prose can give you this special kind of pleasure and this book is full of it. I’m not sure if I liked ‘The Isle Is Full Of Noises’. It’s a novella about a woman called Yse, pronounced to rhyme with ‘please’. An author, she lives on a partly flooded island and is writing a story about Gregers Vonderjan, a powerful wealthy man who rescued his wife, Antoinelle, from her family after she was disgraced and now has a passionate sexual relationship with her. The tales of Yse and Antoinelle alternate and have some motifs in common. I guess it’s metafiction. It was certainly interesting and the characters, the observation of humanity and the lovely leisurely prose made it readable enough. Plinta the Parisian painter is fascinated by his friend’s new paramour Israbel, a part-time opera singer in small roles and full-time vampire. She wants Plinta to paint her because although other people can see her reflection, she can’t and wants to know how she looks now, one hundred years after being changed as a sixteen year-old girl. Finding her fascinating, he takes the commission and is paid in more than money and one big surprise. ‘Isarabel’ is strangely sensual. Inevitably, reading story after story about old-fashioned vampires gets slightly samey, so this collection is best taken in small bites. There’s a minor change of pace with ‘La Vampiresse’, which tells of a reporter interviewing a lady living at the top of a tower under high security. Another with ‘Scarabesque: The Girl Who Broke Dracula’. Here, Sue Wyatt is a shy, plain suburban girl who turns Goth at fourteen and becomes Ruby Sin on her nights out. Her ambition is to meet a real vampire. There’s a sad real-life story under her glamour. Delightfully winding up the collection are two Science Fiction tales of future vampires, for if they exist now, they will still be around in centuries to come. ‘The Beautiful Biting Machine’ is set in Nightfair, a vast funfair that comes up at night on a far off pleasure planet. Among the leading and most expensive attractions is Malvanda, a beautiful lady. Beldek is the multi-lingual employee who tends to Malvanda and admits humans and aliens to her den. I’ve never read a vampire story like it. ‘Beyond The Sun’ is set in a very far future where humanity is building star systems to suit itself, including suns. A vampire leads a small team of engineers, for the attributes of the undead are useful in space exploration. They can levitate, they don’t need to breathe and they’re extremely tough. I enjoyed these last two stories. Someone should do an anthology of future vampire yarns. Sadly, Tanith Lee passed away in 2015. She won many awards and was a successful writer, even scripting a couple of episodes for ‘Blake’s 7’. She had a few lean years when her work went out of fashion but, thankfully, the Internet led to a revival. Rightly so. She writes beautifully. Vampires have become somewhat stale through overuse and ill-use in the twilight of our soi-disant civilisation, but there are still a few excellent examples of how they should be done and this is one of the best. Recommended.

  6. 5 out of 5

    SDKalos

    I admit I bought this solely to have a digital copy of Winter Flowers, which is one of my favorite vampire stories ever written. I've worked my way through the rest of the collection and, while they're not all gems, Lee has always written wonderfully about vampires and the supernatural. Very worth the read. I admit I bought this solely to have a digital copy of Winter Flowers, which is one of my favorite vampire stories ever written. I've worked my way through the rest of the collection and, while they're not all gems, Lee has always written wonderfully about vampires and the supernatural. Very worth the read.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Bryant

    Anyone who is used to the classic Dracula trope, or high-school vampires who fall in love with high-school teens, and thinks that that's the full vampire genre, needs to read this book. Covering almost all of Lee's decades playing with the genre, you can find answers to some of the 'what if?' questions about conventonal-type vampires, but you'll also find blood-suckers in ways that no one else has imagined - and if they have imagined them, haven't been able to carry them off so successfully. "I'v Anyone who is used to the classic Dracula trope, or high-school vampires who fall in love with high-school teens, and thinks that that's the full vampire genre, needs to read this book. Covering almost all of Lee's decades playing with the genre, you can find answers to some of the 'what if?' questions about conventonal-type vampires, but you'll also find blood-suckers in ways that no one else has imagined - and if they have imagined them, haven't been able to carry them off so successfully. "I've just read a story about a vampire piano, and it wasn't silly or implausible," I said to my husband. "Upright or grand?" he asked, interested. "Well, it had three legs...it swam with them." "Grand, then." It might sound preposterous, but on a West Indian island just after slavery has been abolished, with all the black-white tensions and stifling social roles for everybody, think of those black and white keys, like teeth...Lee builds a full world in a few words for each of her ideas, with the result that the reader is transported to strange yet fully-realised places. This is why I pity non-readers - however many mountains you climb or dances you dance, you can never travel like a reader does. Seasoned Lee fans will find much to adore here. There are a few stories that have been anthologised to - well - death: Bite-Me-Not, The Beautiful Biting Machine, and so on. There are also (like The Isle is Full of Noises, that I talked about above) stories that have appeared elsewhere. There are, however, stories that haven't been seen before except for their original publication, and others that are completely new to this volume. I'm always fascinated by the latter. Often Lee's unpublished stories are fascinating; playful, gentle (possibly too playful and gentle for publication in current markets) or wonderfully odd. The loss of Tanith Lee is unbearable, and my biggest regret in life is that I didn't make the effort to meet her. I thought that I had plenty of time. I take painful solace in the mass of writing of genius she left for us. This is part of that.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Barbora

  9. 4 out of 5

    ANGUS GAVIN

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  11. 5 out of 5

    R.A.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sharell

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ute Maria Magdalena von Hengstenberg

  14. 4 out of 5

    Blythe Gambol

  15. 4 out of 5

    Quill

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kisa

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tuck NG

  18. 4 out of 5

    Donna

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sirensongs

  20. 5 out of 5

    Liana

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mira

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lane

  23. 4 out of 5

    OTIS

  24. 5 out of 5

    Samantha Anne Davila

  25. 5 out of 5

    frazzledsoul

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vermillion

  27. 5 out of 5

    Aariel Portera

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Gamble

  29. 5 out of 5

    Alice Ambrose

  30. 4 out of 5

    Roberta Mitchell

  31. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Weston

  32. 4 out of 5

    Hippodameia8527

  33. 5 out of 5

    Trebor53

  34. 4 out of 5

    Raimondo Lagioia

  35. 5 out of 5

    David

  36. 5 out of 5

    Bill

  37. 4 out of 5

    Jenn

  38. 5 out of 5

    Eldorankin

  39. 5 out of 5

    Aric Cushing

  40. 5 out of 5

    Ashe Armstrong

  41. 5 out of 5

    Anji

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lori Cooper

  43. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine

  44. 5 out of 5

    Kim

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