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Clan Novel: Tzimisce
Eric Griffin
White Wolf Books, 273 pages

Art: John van Fleet
Clan Novel: Tzimisce
Additional Information
The Tzimisce, called the fiends by the other clans, are the rulers of the Sabbat.

Distrusted by the Camarilla, hunted by the Sabbat, shunned by the independents, the Tzimisce antitribu struggle to reach some form of recognition.

Evolving as a separate bloodline from their Sabbat and Old World Kin, they have formed a shaky alliance with the Tremere and the Malkavians. Refusing to be pawns in anyone's Jyhad, they fight bravely to maintain the few cities they control.

SF Site Review: Clan Novel: Toreador
White Wolf Games

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jonathan Fesmire

The World of Darkness epic, started in Clan Novel: Toreador, continues in this second volume of the Clan Novel series, Clan Novel: Tzimisce.  For those not familiar with White Wolf's World of Darkness, there are many types of vampires, organized into clans, each with its own characteristics.  There are the beast like Gangrel, the mentally deranged Malkavians, the brutish Brujah, and many more.  This novel focuses on what I consider the most twisted of all the vampire clans, the Tzimisce, fleshcrafters able to change shape, mold skin, bone, and brains to their bizarre specifications.  They habitually sculpt their own bodies, but can also alter the bodies of others.

Though penned by a different author, the writing style in Tzimisce is very similar to Toreador, which lends the series a strong feeling of consistency.  Often, a dark atmosphere and graphic horror do not quite mix; unseen terrors raise the level of fear and contribute to the atmosphere.  However, in this gruesome novel, Eric Griffin manages to plunge the reader into a chilling world that is unbroken by its graphic violence, as vampires do battle, killing and torturing each other with ghastly creativity.

The Toreador vampires are members of a group of clans called the Camarilla, an extended organization that controls most of the vampire world.  One of the main missions of the Camarilla is to keep the existence of vampires, wizards, werewolves, and other supernatural beings a secret from ordinary mortals in what they call "The Masquerade."  The Sabbat, their main enemy group which is made up of such clans as the Tzimisce and the shadowy Lasombra, wish to rise in worldly power.  The Sabbat does not seem to care about the Masquerade and would break it if they could.  These novels cover the Sabbat war against the Camarilla.

As in the first book, Tzimisce is filled with vivid, believable characters.  Few of these characters are very likeable.  To my mind, some of the sympathetic characters from the first novel either do not appear in Tzimisce, or they have already been killed. Yet the story, which covers in great detail a huge clan war, is filled with twists and intrigue that make the story compelling.

Although Toreador had graphic violence (blood sucking is the least of it!), Tzimisce is more graphic still.  I expect this to be less in the following novels, since the physical cruelties shown in Tzimisce seem particular to that ghoulish clan.

Victoria Ash, one of the main characters from Toreador, is back in Tzimisce, but the story mostly focuses on Sacha Vykos, a Tzimisce leader overseeing the takeover of Atlanta, Georgia.  Time-wise, these novels overlap, so we get to see some of the same events from different angles.  In Toreador, we saw Victoria Ash plan the soirée she hoped would make her leader of Atlanta, and the Sabbat attack on that Camarilla gathering.  Now, we see the plans for that very attack, and the repercussions.

Tzimisce is far from the end of this saga.  One could read these novels individually, but they do not feel like complete stories, only chapters in this 13 novel epic.  I suggest starting them soon and reading them as they come out.

I, for one, look forward to Clan Novel: Gangrel, the next in the series.  I also hope to see the horrid Tzimisce vampires get what they deserve.

Copyright © 1999 by Jonathan Fesmire

Jonathan Fesmire has travelled to France, Germany, Estonia, Finland, and Ireland. He enjoys speaking French and learning bits of other foreign languages, but most of all, he loves writing, and has sold fiction to Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine, SpaceWays Weekly, Jackhammer, and others.

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