Queer Vampyres

Desmond: A Novel of Love and the Modern Vampire

book      fiction

  • Desmond: A Novel of Love and the Modern Vampire
  • Author: Ulysses Dietz
  • Publisher: Alyson Publications
  • Year: 1998
  • Country: US
  • 331 pages
book cover

Desmond is a 250-year-old gay vampire who lives in a huge house, is financially secure, and is surrounded by beautiful things. But he is unhappy. That is, until he meets Tony in a bar, and falls in love. Things get complicated, though, when he tries to tell his new love about his past.

Qvamp says:

A cute story that is especially exciting if you are the type of person who thrives on hearing how a fabulous hundred year old house is decorated.

Not really the type of story for a fanatic of horror, but perfect for men who look longingly into the night waiting for their Dark Prince to show up.

Rating B
Queer Vampire Rating B+
Amount of Gay Content same-sex relationship


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From Publishers Weekly 6/1/1998

As proven by Dietz's not-quite-undead debut, it takes more than a serial killer and a couple of vampires to give us a chill. There's little tension, no moral conflict and everyone (except the occasional homophobe) is utterly agreeable, including vampire protagonists Desmond Beckwith and Roger Deland. Desmond volunteers for AIDS organizations, never kills his victims and uses his wealth to help peopleAyet for all his niceness, he's unhappy. He's gay and pines for Roger, who's straight, so he picks up beguiling Tony ChapmanAand they fall instantly in love. Since Tony is an unemployed museum curator, they discuss Desmond's antiques in great detail. The insipid dialogue is a showcase for stereotypical camp banter ('You cad'), and even the erotic encounters are disappointingly dull: 'Their lovemaking was like a spring breeze to Desmond's winter-bruised soul. They romped happily and intensely until both were exhausted and content.' Although they're aware of an at-large gay serial killer whose M.O. is vampiric, there's no sense of danger until near the end, and even that quickly subsides. Two flashbacks, one to England for Desmond's transformation and one to revolutionary Paris, fail to bring those periodsAor this bloodless taleAto life.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.


From Library Journal 6/1/1998

Dietz's disappointing first novel is a romance with a gay theme and a vampire protagonist. The extremely nice, ultra-rich Desmond Beckwith has been around for 250 years. Before becoming one of the undead he had known true love, but as an immortal he knows only loneliness. Everything changes when he meets the very sweet, good-looking mortal, Tony, and the two become lovers. There are problems for them, of course, including a serial killer who targets gays. Unfortunately, the characters are so dull and the plot so predictable that it is hard to care what happens. Nor does this novel offer anything unique about vampires. Good-guy vampires, even gay, good-guy vampires, have been better portrayed in such stories as Gary Bowen's Diary of a Vampire (Masquerade, 1995). Dietz, however, does have some talent; perhaps he can do better next time. Not recommended.?Patricia Altner, Information Seekers, Bowie, MD


From Kirkus Reviews 6/12/1998

A first novel (subtitled A Novel About Love and the Modern Vampire), that hopes to redefine vampire lore by creating an immortal whose life is dominated by human desires and problems. And he's gay. Openly. But Desmond Beckwith, 250 years old, still loves the hetero vampire romances of Anne Rice, though he knows they're trash and wishes someone would get beyond all that make-believe about mindless killers depressed with the misery of eternal life. The decidedly sanguine Desmond lives in a fabulous old house on the Bowery that hes inhabited for centuries. Old as he is, he looks a particularly well-tended 45. He loves his straight friend Roger but of course can neither bed nor bite him. Financially secure, Desmond is a money wizard with an international investment empire--hey, just like Anne Rice's Mayfair folks. But despite all the world's comfort and a house full of beautiful antiques and a glittering chandelier, Desmond is trs dsol, so lonely. So when he meets gorgeous young Tony Chapman at a gay bar, and Tony's a student of antiques and the history of house furnishingswell, Desmond's just swept away. Down on his luck, Tony at first demands money, then simply becomes Desmond's lover, unknowingly affording him some blissful bloodsucking (the bites heal quickly). Meanwhile, Desmond's past life is revealed intermittently: his upbringing in the Berkshires, life in Georgian England and revolutionary France, his grand tour during the Age of Reason. Must he tell Tony of his immortality? Well, Tony finds out but is tragically attacked by a vengeful nut with an awl, and his only chance to remain alive is to accept a blood transfusion from Desmond. Wonderful entertainment for a cold gray day. And breathe easy, Anne. -- Copyright


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