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The Immortal Conquistador

Sunday, May 31, 2020

The Immortal Conquistador (2020) Carrie Vaughn (Kitty Norville)

The Immortal ConquistadorSet in the Americans, 1500s to present.

This has four stories and a surrounding tale.

“Conquistador de la Noche” (2009) Subterranean Online
“El Hidalgo de la Noche” (2015) First time in print
“El Conquistador del Tiempo” (2019) Original appearance
“Dead Men in Central City” (2017) Asimov’s Science Fiction

Ricardo de Avila was a third son who chose to go to the new world to make his fortune. But Coronado didn’t find the city of gold–instead they found starvation and natives who were easily slaughtered.

Ten years later, Ricardo discovered that monsters were real, and he was to become one himself.

“You should know that you never had a chance against us. Perhaps you might take comfort in that fact.”

“I take no comfort,” Ricardo said, his words spitting.

“Good. You will have none.”

“Conquistador de la Noche” is one of my favorite stories. Ever. It tells how Rick was turned–and fought to become more that just a mindless monster.

What I love about this story is that it shows just how complicated Rick / Ricardo is. He is a man of faith who is turned into a monster, but refuses to believe that God has completely abandoned him.

His baptism had been burned away from him. The Mother Church was poison to him now. God had rejected him.

But I do not reject God, Ricardo thought helplessly.

Captain Ricardo de Avila, you must accept what you are, let the creature have its will.”

Ricardo smiled. “I am a loyal subject of Spain and a child of God who has been saddled with a particularly troublesome burden.”

This book gives us the stories of Rick’s past–of how he refused to give into the evil within him, and for five hundred years remained an enigma among vampires.

The second story finds Rick discovering he is no longer the only of his kind in the new world–and the decisions he makes to save the people he has cared for, for a century.

The third story, “Dead Men in Central City” tells of how Ricardo met Doc Holliday. That was the fun story in this book.

The fourth story tells of the month where Ricardo became the Master of Santa Fe for a month. There are parallels to the second story here, where he does his best to protect the humans around him–quite unlike the other vampires.

“Some of our kind seem to enjoy blood that tastes like fear. I never understood that.”

“You prefer your blood to taste of what, generosity?”

“Kindness, I think.” Maybe even love.

What I love most about Rick / Ricardo is he is quite unlike any other vampire I’ve read. He never wanted to be a vampire, and refused to allow his changing to turn him into a monster.

Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Rating: 9/10

Categories: 9/10, Fantasy, Historical, Supernatural     Comments (0)    



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