Monday, October 17, 2016

The Gal's 62 Days of Horror 17: Stephen Kozeniewski


Stephen Kozeniewski's latest book, Hunter of the Dead, has been out a short time now and is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2016 thus far.  When I told him that my favorite character was Cicatrice, a vampire that reminds me a lot of Viktor from Underworld, he offered to let me sit down and talk to him.


The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Thank you, Cicatrice, for coming by today and agreeing to speak with me.  I'm honored... and very curious about you.  What was your childhood like?

Cicatrice:
I've had two periods of adolescence in the long span of my existence: the first being my early days as a human and the second being my early days as an immortal.  I assume you're asking about the former, thought it really is a matter of utter indifference to me.  I was raised during the Dark Ages in a vineyard in what would become France.  Life was brutish and I was beset on all sides of disease and privation.  I have no sense of nostalgia for those days.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you consider yourself a bad person?

Cicatrice:
Human morality has no meaning to me.  My status as a "bad person" in your eyes is about as relevant as your status as a "bad cow" in the eyes of your steak dinner.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
If you could go back in time and change things, would you want to be turned?  Or would you do things differently?

Cicatrice:
Oh, no.  I would never change that.  I would never give up immortality for the petty condolences of human existence.  Would you trade your place with a mayfly's?  What Lily Luchesi granted me was a gift beyond all measure.  The greatest gift that can be given.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
You spoke a little of your background and religious beliefs in a conversation with Carter.  How has that changed over your years as a vampire?

Cicatrice:
Faith is a poison.  If I could I would draw mine out like venom from a snakebite.  But as a practical mater at this late hour I've seen far too much to rid myself of that particular burden.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
You are shown to have some "emotions" during the story.  What really moves you or touches you to your soul?

Cicatrice:
I have no soul, nor do I suffer emotions in any sense that you could comprehend.  Any interpretation of my actions as being driven by human weakness is merely indicative of the flawed perceptions of the observer.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
What do you consider your biggest weakness?

Cicatrice:
Perhaps over-indulging my gets.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
You were my favorite character in Hunter of the Dead.  Does that surprise you?

Cicatrice:
Not in the slightest.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How do you see yourself?

Cicatrice:
I see myself as no more or less than the oldest and most powerful of my kind.  I am both sword and portion to the immortal community, the mouth of the river of all good things that flow and, if need be, the dam as well.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does your enemy see you?

Cicatrice:
Otto Signari sees me - and rightly so - as an existential threat that not even the combined forces of all twelve of the lesser Houses could stand toe-to-toe with.  Unless you meant the Inquisition, in which case, they are so far beneath my contempt that I have never given a single moment's thought to their opinion of me.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
How does the author see you?

Cicatrice:
I suspect he sees me as some sort of hyper masculine power fantasy.  He'll never know what it's like to have power or respect so he achieves them vicariously through me, like a voyeur with binoculars servicing himself outside a brothel.

The Gal in the Blue Mask:
Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?  Would you change anything about the story told?

Cicatrice:
The man's a clown, clattering away at a keyboard, incapable of stringing together more than two polysyllabic words in a row.  It isn't worth my time to critique him, and I'm immortal.


About Cicatrice:
Cicatrice is the oldest and most powerful vampire alive.  he is the head of the eponymous House Cicatrice, rightful master of the Necropolis, heir to Empress Lily the Only, and founder of the vampire code.

About the book:
Someone has begun targeting vampires.
            Vampire leaders of the thirteen Houses attribute the string of recent losses to over-zealous vampire hunters.  Only Cicatrice, the most ancient and powerful vampire in the world, suspects that the semi-legendary Hunter of the Dead may be the real culprit.
            Carter Price, a vampire hunter who despises the way his profession is becoming centralized and corporatized, begins to suspect the Hunter of the Dead is back, too - and no longer distinguishing between vampires and mortals.  Against his better judgment, Price agrees to work with Cicatrice.
            The uneasy allies attempt to uncover the truth about the Hunter, while a vampire civil war brews in the background.  But perhaps most difficult of all, they must contend with their new apprentices, who seem to be falling in love with each other against every rule of man and monster...
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1 comment:

Martin Berman-Gorvine said...

"Life was brutish and I was beset on all sides of disease and privation." Sounds like my junior high school!