The best books about vampires you want to root for

David Lee Summers Author Of Vampires of the Scarlet Order
By David Lee Summers

Who am I?

I first started reading vampire stories when I worked at Kitt Peak National Observatory in the 1990s. One of my co-workers suggested that we were the vampires of the mountain because we were only seen between sunset and sunrise. She encouraged me to read Anne Rice, whose work gave me a taste for heroic vampires. A while later, I moved to Las Cruces, New Mexico, known as the City of Crosses. Another friend suggested I write a story asking what a vampire would make of such a thing. That became an early chapter in Vampires of the Scarlet Order.


I wrote...

Vampires of the Scarlet Order

By David Lee Summers,

Book cover of Vampires of the Scarlet Order

What is my book about?

Over the centuries, an elite cadre of vampire mercenaries called the Scarlet Order has plied its trade to governments around the world. Now, in the twenty-first century, vampires are too expensive, too dangerous, and too untrustworthy for governments to hire any longer. Using nanotechnology, scientists can engineer reliable super soldiers.

Three vampires discover this technology is so advanced it'll tap into realms and dimensions humans can't understand. To save humans and vampires alike, the vampires Jane, Marcella, and Daniel must seek out the legendary master vampire Desmond, Lord Draco, and encourage him to resurrect the Scarlet Order in order to stop these dangerous experiments. After all, a vampire must do what's necessary for job security!

The books I picked & why

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Hotel Transylvania

By Chelsea Quinn Yarbro,

Book cover of Hotel Transylvania

Why this book?

Based on a real historical figure, Hotel Transylvania tells the story of the Compte de Saint-Germain who arrives in the Court of Louis XV in 1743 and falls in love with a young woman named Madelaine de Montalia. The historical Saint-Germain was rumored to be an alchemist who never aged, and some speculated he was a vampire. Yarbro gives us a heroic vampire who must step in and save the woman he loves when she becomes a target for devil-worshiping Paris nobility. I loved how Yarbro spun characters from a historical setting into a suspenseful, thrilling tale leaving us wanting more. Lucky for us Yarbro delivered over twenty sequels.


The Vampire Lestat

By Anne Rice,

Book cover of The Vampire Lestat

Why this book?

The novel opens with Lestat waking up after a decades-long sleep, only to be entranced by a rock band. He falls in love with the music and decides to reveal vampire kind to humanity. I fell in love with the idea of a rockstar vampire right away. After reading Interview with the Vampire, I loved how Rice went back and told Lestat's story in his own voice, allowing us to gain a completely new perspective on a character we thought we knew from the first book. This book, more than any other, taught me the importance of characters telling stories from their own points of view.


The Vampire Tapestry

By Suzy McKee Charnas,

Book cover of The Vampire Tapestry

Why this book?

Charnas steps away from the idea of vampires as supernatural creatures. Her protagonist, Dr. Edward Weyland is a natural creature who must feed on blood to survive. He's not always presented as a "good guy" but I still found myself rooting for him as he moved through the story, trying to understand who and what he truly is. This was also one of the first novels I read where the vampire wasn't fabulously wealthy. Instead, he had to make a living as an anthropology professor. His background as a professor also made his quest for self-understanding feel authentic and relatable.


Bloodshot

By Cherie Priest,

Book cover of Bloodshot

Why this book?

Bloodshot is a mystery thriller that tells the story of a vampire thief named Raylene Pendle who is hired by a blind vampire to find and steal records that'll help a doctor restore his sight. The idea that the military would find vampires interesting has always seemed natural and Raylene soon finds herself in a world of military secrets. Although Raylene is a vampire, she cares for the people in her life, particularly the two homeless, human children who have taken up residence in her Seattle lair. Although Raylene is strong and smart, she can be hurt, especially by soldiers who are used to containing vampires. I loved that she needed to use her wits to solve the mystery she's presented.


Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

By Keisuke Makino, karei (illustrator),

Book cover of Irina: The Vampire Cosmonaut

Why this book?

In this Japanese light novel, vampires are an oppressed people living in a country adjoining a Soviet Union-like country, the Republic of Zirnitra. In this world, almost all of the stories you've heard about vampires being evil and hunting humans are Zirnitran propaganda, but vampires do drink blood and are sensitive to sunlight. Irina is a young vampire woman who volunteers to be a test subject for the Zirnitran space program so she can get closer to the moon, which she loves. The story is based on the real Soviet space program of the 1960s and I rooted for Irina as she overcame her own fears and Zirnitran oppression to fly in orbit and see her beloved moon up close before any human went into orbit.


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