A Mass Murder. A Disappearance. A Cemetery Ransacked. It looked like another ordinary day in Los Angeles. Then night came...Evil as old as the centuries has descended upon the City of Angels - it comes as a kiss from the terrifying but seductive immortals. Slowly at first, then by the legions, the ravenous undead choke Los Angeles with bloodthirsty determination - and the hordes of monstrous victims steadily mount each night. High above glitter city a deadly contest begins. In the decaying castle of a long-dead screen idol, the few remaining human survivors prepare to face the Prince of Evil and his satanic disciples. Whilst the very forces of nature are called into play, isolating the city from the rest of the world and leaving it at the mercy of the blood-hungry vultures of the night...They Thirst
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This is a fun, could be the end of the world novel, that never takes it's self too serious. There are few writers that can keep me entertained for 19 hours. Off the top of my head they would be Robin Hobb, James Michener, Stephen King, Bryce Courtenay and Robert McCammon. He even dinks one of his earlier works in this book. I also appreciate getting this in one volume. This was written in 1981 and had it bee written today by another writer, he would have added 10 boring hours and made it a trilogy. See Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan's The Strain, The Fall, The Night Eternal (a good series, just would have been better done in one long book.)
The story is about Vampires and McCammon stays true to all the legends. Only instead of being dark and secret, they launch a campaign to take over the world, starting with Los Angeles. It is well done and will not bore you in any part.
If you are a fan of Zombie books, give this a try, it is very similar.
Ray Porter is by far one of the best narrators around. That being said I will say he only has one female voice. I also relate him so much to Joe Ledger, that it often takes me a few minutes to get my brain to forget Joe Ledger and get in the present story.
They Thirst is a classic vampire horror story. If you love Vampires, you’ll love this work. It is well plotted, a good story and the narration by Ray Porter only adds to its excellence. It is a classic story that has shades of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and shades of The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan. In They Thirst as in classic Vampire lore, the ancient vampire of East European origin, in this case, Prince Vulcan, who was made a vampire at the age of 17 in twelfth century Hungary, comes to America in order to conquer it for the undead and to create a Vampire Army to conquer the world. While this sounds fairly vainglorious, Robert McCammon pulls it off. His narrative allows you to suspend belief just enough to buy into his plot and storyline. Though it is a little slow in the beginning, as it gathers momentum you soon are not able to put it down.
I love narratives where the allegory is the fundamental Good versus Evil. This is primarily seen at the confrontation of the four brave souls, Father Silvera, Wes Richer, Andy Palatazin, Tommy Chandler, who eventually confront the vampire in his lair, (in this case the lair is in the Hollywood hills). They have unexpected help, (divine assistance?) from Solange, a newly turned vampire and Wes’ girlfriend before her change, and Ratty, who lives in the tunnels that run below the city of Los Angeles. The fate of the future of the world and the future of the soul of man comes down to these six individuals and is won or lost by their actions. The hero in the journey is a LAPD Homicide, Detective Andy (Andre) Palatazin of East European origin who has had a brush with vampires early on in his life. Until the present confrontation, he has denied the reality of this earlier confrontation.
The scene of Palatazin’s early vampire confrontation informs the narrative, and plot in the story. The earliest scenes take place in the little Hungarian village, Krajeck, where Andy (Andre) Palatazin grew up. There have been unexplained deaths there, such as Ivon Griska. One evening, Andy’s father with other men of the village, go out to see if they can find and set right “the problem.” Of course, Palatazin’s father returns to he and his mother, but he is “changed.” When his mother realizes what has happenned, ("like a slap in the face"), she must shoot his father in order to help them get away. In this event Palatazin denies the fact that his father had become a vampire and his mother had to shoot him. Even as he and his mother are running from his, now, vampire father, they also run into Ivon Griska, standing in the road in spite of the fact that Andy has attended his burial. This underlies the fact that the problems in Krajeck are vampire related. Palatazin still denies. Until the present crisis in the City of the Angels, Palatazin has chosen to believe that his mother was insane in spite of what he witnessed as a child. His mother shot his father in the face with a shot gun and instead of dying, his father gets up again to chase them. Here again, McCammon communicates the idea that “the best defense for evil is our failure to believe in it.” McCammon makes this case again and again in They Thirst. As Palatazin, a resolute and stalwart soul, and others eventually begin to believe the full horror of what is happening, there are many more who continue to deny the truth of it. Will our heroes be too late to make a difference? Will enough people come to believe? This is what we must find out and cannot find out until the narrative culminates.
Another remarkable character in this novel is the supernatural sand storm that has been inexplicably brought into existence to make the painstaking and already dangerous journey to the Vampire’s Lair even more dangerous and difficult. The sandstorm mystically arises, suddenly, in the Mojave Desert and blows west over southern California, primarily Los Angeles, Hollywood, and the Hollywood hills, East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, the Canyon areas, and the coastal cities. This is a sandstorm that can ground airplanes, strip the paint off of cars, blow cars off the highway, and smother you before you have gone three feet if you are unprepared. It hinders or kills the average person, and only aids the spawn of evil. This is a brilliant creative invention that allows one to experience the struggle of the characters in , yet, another dimension.
The story begins in Krajeck, Hungary and ends in the City of the Angels in Southern California.
The performance of Ray Porter is “aces high” and adds solidity to a well-produced narrative. This is a solid four star read.