Fevre Dream

  • by George R. R. Martin
  • Narrated by Ron Donachie
  • 13 hrs and 37 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

When struggling riverboat captain Abner Marsh receives an offer of partnership from a wealthy aristocrat, he suspects something’s amiss. But when he meets the hauntingly pale, steely-eyed Joshua York, he is certain. For York doesn’t care that the icy winter of 1857 has wiped out all but one of Marsh’s dilapidated fleet. Nor does he care that he won’t earn back his investment in a decade. York has his own reasons for wanting to traverse the powerful Mississippi. And they are to be none of Marsh’s concern - no matter how bizarre, arbitrary, or capricious his actions may prove.
Marsh meant to turn down York’s offer. It was too full of secrets that spelled danger. But the promise of both gold and a grand new boat that could make history crushed his resolve - coupled with the terrible force of York’s mesmerizing gaze. Not until the maiden voyage of his new sidewheeler Fevre Dream would Marsh realize he had joined a mission both more sinister, and perhaps more noble, than his most fantastic nightmare...and mankind’s most impossible dream. Here is the spellbinding tale of a vampire’s quest to unite his race with humanity, of a garrulous riverman’s dream of immortality, and of the undying legends of the steamboat era and a majestic, ancient river.


What the Critics Say

"A novel that will delight fans of both Stephen King and Mark Twain...darkly romantic, chilling, and rousing by turns...a thundering success. (Roger Zelazny)
"An adventure into the heart of darkness that transcends even the most inventive vampire novels...Fevre Dream runs red with original, high adventure." (Los Angeles Herald Examiner)
"Engaging and meaningful." (Washington Post Book World)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Captain Stoker Marking Twain on the River Styx

I cut my teeth on the Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn; reading the 2 books (especially HBF) so many times I could quote whole passages before I knew what half the words meant. A world away from my world of beaches, surfers, and fish tacos--nothing was more intoxicating to think about than that big mysterious river, dark spooky swamps, and steamboats, (and alligators seemed much more menacing than sharks). My kids hated being dragged onto Disneyland's Mark Twain Riverboat, but I did it every time, this dork, looking down from the top deck, mesmerized by those big paddles churning in the murky green water... I mention this because I think many of us have at some time in our lives been intrigued by that mighty American river and the thrill of captaining our own raft to explore its secrets.

Knowing I was not a fan of fantasy, had never heard of G.R.R.M., my son badgered me relentlessly until I agreed to read A Game of Thrones, (I agreed if he would read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee). Finishing, I bought the remaining 4 books and plowed through the series like Sherman went through the South. I discovered that Martin is an artist and an original, creating dimensional characters and thrilling stories far beyond the realm of fantasy. His worlds are ingenious, magical, and convincing; they swallow you. Martin is everywhere right now, (HBO series starting up again) and when I saw a list of his books featuring Fevre Dream...steamboat, vampires, and the Mississippi... I knew this was no Twain, but the intrigue!

That atmosphere and scenery Martin does so well drips from this book, it has to be one of the eeriest settings in horror literature I've read. Moss hangs from the once majestic side wheel of the Fevre Dream, the black smoke stack seems to breathe, ornately carved railings are rotted, the parlor carpets and walls stained and moldy--a dark almost spectral boat, hidden in a secret swamp with its blood-thirsty passengers, waiting like a predator for a passing boat. The river is also menacing, devouring boats with its hidden sandbars and tangled buried stumps, flowing like a bloody artery. Martin takes Rice's New Orleans and descends it to an even more foreboding level of darkness. This was even better than Madame Medusa's deserted riverboat in Devil's Bayou (from Disney's The Rescuer's.)

The noble-ish Marsh and cantankerous York (the Yosemite Sam of the Mississippi) are a disparate and fascinating pairing, Damon Julian is what vampires devolve into when their ties to a once mortal life are completely forgotten, Billy Tipton is horribly wonderful. The "boat parties" are like scenes from Poe's Masque of the Red Death. That is what worked for me. What didn't work was the detail that is such a hallmark of Martin. The book seemed bogged with descriptions that went on and on, and York's fondness for peppering his sentences with "G-damned" added at least a quarter of the pages. Martin masters the stage settings, I had to pull myself out of this book-- but with all of the promise, I missed having more story about the characters besides York, more action on the river once the boat is turned into a vampire, more depth. I liked this unique approach, will never shake these scenes out of my head, but I prefer Martin's dragon stories to his vampire stories.

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- Mel

Vampires, the Mississippi, and George R. R. Martin

This is not a typical vampire story. It is not a typical George R. R. Martin fantasy. The vampires are more like Barnabas Collins of "Dark Shadows" and Louis and Lestat of the Ann Rice novels than the Transylvanian Count, but they soon stand beyond comparison. Imagine Jonathan Harker morphed into Mark Twain. Sour Billy Tipton fills the Renfrew role, but you won't even remember who Renfrew was within 30 seconds of meeting Sour Billy.

So I guess I'd better stop with the similes and just say that this book defies categorization. It's not set in any of Martin's famous fantasy worlds, but travels up and down the Mississippi River and its tributaries in the magnificent steam paddlewheelers of the mid nineteenth century, one of which is the eponymous "Fevre Dream." From New Orleans to the shipyards of New Albany, Indiana, with stops in plantations and cities, the saga flows on Ol' Man River. And yes, there will be a race and an on-board fire (reference the famous "Robert E. Lee").

George R. R. Martin can create a full-blown minor character with a few strokes of the keyboard, and his major characters are indelibly etched within one chapter of meeting them. This artistry reaches its peak, in my opinion, in "Game of Thrones" and "Clash of Kings," the first two volumes of "Song of Ice and Fire," but it's plenty evident in "Fevre Dream." Martin is simply a magnificent writer.

As good as Martin's written words are, I suggest listening to this version rather than reading the book. The Scottish actor Ron Donachie doesn't narrate the book, he performs it. Donachie played Ser Rodrik, Winterfell's master-at-arms, in HBO's "Game of Thrones," and I like to think (though of course I don't know) that he and Martin are friends. Friend or not, Donachie does Martin's novel full justice.
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- Carol "Genre fiction, trashy to literary--mystery, action, sci fi, fantasy, and, yes, even romance. Also history. Listener reviews help a lot!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-16-2012
  • Publisher: Random House Audio