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Fevre Dreamby George R.R. Martin
Synopses & Reviews
St. Louis, April 1857 Abner Marsh rapped the head of his hickory walking stick smartly on the hotel desk to get the clerk's attention. I'm here to see a man named York, he said. “Josh York, I believe he calls hisself. You got such a man here?”
The clerk was an elderly man with spectacles. He jumped at the sound of the rap, then turned and spied Marsh and smiled. Why, it's Cap’n Marsh, he said amiably. “Ain’t seen you for half a year, Cap'n. Heard about your misfortune, though. Terrible, just terrible. I been here since ’36 and I never seen no ice jam like that one.
Never you mind about that, Abner Marsh said, annoyed. He had anticipated such comments. The Planters' House was a popular hostelry among steamboatmen. Marsh himself had dined there regularly before that cruel winter. But since the ice jam he'd been staying away, and not only because of the prices. Much as he liked Planters’ House food, he was not eager for its brand of company: pilots and captains and mates, rivermen all, old friends and old rivals, and all of them knowing his misfortune. Abner Marsh wanted no man's pity. You just say where York’s room is, he told the clerk peremptorily.
The clerk bobbed his head nervously. Mister York won't be in his room, Cap’n. You’ll find him in the dining room, taking his meal.
Now? At this hour?” Marsh glanced at the ornate hotel clock, then loosed the brass buttons of his coat and pulled out his own gold pocket watch. “Ten past midnight, he said, incredulous. You say he's eatin’?”
“Yes sir, that he is. He chooses his own times, Mister York, and he’s not the sort you say no to, Cap'n.
Abner Marsh made a rude noise deep in his throat, pocketed his watch, and turned away without a word, setting off across the richly appointed lobby with long, heavy strides. He was a big man, and not a patient one, and he was not accustomed to business meetings at midnight. He carried his walking stick with a flourish, as if he had never had a misfortune, and was still the man he had been.
The dining room was almost as grand and lavish as the main saloon on a big steamer, with cut-glass chandeliers and polished brass fixtures and tables covered with fine white linen and the best china and crystal. During normal hours, the tables would have been full of travelers and steamboatmen, but now the room was empty, most of the lights extinguished. Perhaps there was something to be said for midnight meetings after all, Marsh reflected; at least he would have to suffer no condolences. Near the kitchen door, two Negro waiters were talking softly. Marsh ignored them and walked to the far side of the room, where a well-dressed stranger was dining alone.
The man must have heard him approach, but he did not look up. He was busy spooning up mock turtle soup from a china bowl. The cut of his long black coat made it clear he was no riverman; an Easterner then, or maybe even a foreigner. He was big, Marsh saw, though not near so big as Marsh; seated, he gave the impression of height, but he had none of Marsh's girth. At first Marsh thought him an old man, for his hair was white. Then, when he came closer, he saw that it was not white at all, but a very pale blond, and suddenly the stranger took on an almost boyish aspect. Yor
During the icy winter of 1857, riverboat man Abner Marsh is made captain of his own grand Mississippi steamboat by Joshua York, a vampire intent upon saving his maligned race from extinction. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilot
About the Author
GEORGE R. R. MARTIN sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid '90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since. Whenever he's allowed to leave, he returns to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he lives with the lovely Parris, a big white dog called Mischa, and two cats named Augustus and Caligula, who think they run the place.
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