Kit Marlowe

Q and A #59

Question 1: Reading about Anthony and Cleo’s history made me wonder about historical events. Masks was great that way, with many historical figures making an appearance, and for example the fall of Constantinople referenced along with “disputed territories” and “rebels” by the Consul. It brings up, how much were world history events influenced by supernaturals in your universe?

A fair amount. If you’re the minority, what the majority of a society decides to do is probably going to have an impact, giving you reason to try to influence it to benefit you, if you can. That was why Marlowe was made, if you’ll recall. But your success is going to vary, especially when something involves a huge movement of people into new areas, as the Ottoman expansion did.

Question 2: Radu’s been said to be mooching off big brother; why didn’t he make more vampires after Louis-Cesare? Mental unsuitability, lack of interest, personal issues, etc…? Isn’t he as a servantless emancipated master highly unusual, and even vulnerable/potential liability to Mircea and the Senate?

Radu is protected by big brother Mircea, yes, meaning that nobody in their right minds messes with Radu. And Mircea is generous, so ‘Du has all the money he can spend as well as servants, status, and basically all the things that a large family can provide. Of course, to be fair to him, so do all masters who choose to stay and serve their old mentors rather than breaking away to form their own courts. Most of them do make Children, too, but Radu was forbidden from that until recently in order not to screw up the timeline. It gave him a chance to learn that the families you make and are afterwards responsible for come with some definite advantages, but also with considerable liabilities at times. Radu found that he liked the freedom of not being responsible for a huge household himself.

As far as mooching is concerned, however, most vamps wouldn’t see it that way. Staying and serving your senator brother would likely be seen as somewhat selfless, as you’re forfeiting your own court and relegating yourself to a life forever in his shadow. Masters who choose to stay with their own master after they are powerful enough to leave are given a certain degree of respect for that, especially upper level ones. Plus, having Radu free to concentrate on senate business has yielded a lot of advantages for them (Radu is a bit of a scientific genius, in his own way). Dory didn’t really get all of that, as Dory — the perpetual outsider — doesn’t always understand as much about vamp society as she thinks she does. But one of the reasons Mircea is so powerful is that there are two, not one, Basarab brothers working together. And having one seriously underestimated by vamp society is exactly the way they like it.

Question 3: Is the Danieli who was killed (presumably?) in the FK coup the Danieli from Masks or a different person?

Different person. It’s a common name.

Question 4: Will Dmitri feature more in the books, or can you tell us what caused the animosity between him and Mircea in CbS?

I don’t do spoilers. But the animosity started with a woman who preferred Mircea, and snowballed from there.

Question 5: Some of the series’ masters showed signs of moving / holding objects with their will. Is telekinesis another common power to develop amongst vamps like the ability to mind-speak with each other?

It’s not common. It does sometime come with the mental trait, however. You saw Mircea slam Pritkin against a wall without laying a hand on him in TTD, and hold him there. It was an early hint of Mircea’s mental adroitness.

Question 6: You answered once that vampires only need to use the bathroom if they consume a lot of human food. Does hair and nail growth for example happen for vampires after blood consumption, only on demand, or not at all?

Vampires have virtually complete control over their bodies after death, once they figure out how that works. Marti shaved the newbies in Masks because it was easier than teaching them, and because many are often less than successful with it at first, still thinking too much like a human. Baby vamps who try to configure their bodies sometimes end up looking a little . . . odd. Wild eyebrows, for instance, or too prominent eyes. One tried to increase his stature and ended up with gorilla arms. And even the older ones don’t always get the knack of it. It’s why many vamps just appear to change their looks with a glamourie, or go to a bokor who has more skill with that sort of thing, if they want the vamp version of plastic surgery. Having said that, however, after a few decades they usually figure out that their hair doesn’t grow, for example, unless they want it to. Same as you already learned about breathing/heartbeat/etc.

Question 7: Aaaaand finally… – I’m sorry but I have to ask – *using my best imitation of a Stark voice* Brace yourself… you know it’s coming…: are there any news of the Dory shorts? There’s been people on the forums anxiously looking for preorder links, I volunteered to ask. 😀

I would have posted them for preorder already, but Amazon won’t let me. They want the entire, edited version of the stories before they’ll put something on preorder, which makes no sense to me. If I had the final form of the shorts already, why wouldn’t I just post them both now? Why make people wait? I didn’t know this when I promised the preorders before, but I do now. So let’s revise this: you’ll be able to purchase the stories in April and July respectively.

Q and A # 52

Question 1: I really liked Masks and felt like it gave me a much better sense of Mircea’s character.  I don’t want to spoiler those who haven’t read it, but given his history with the Consul, where is her paranoia about his loyalty coming from? Yes, he’s powerful, but it sounds like he’s proven himself and his value to her many times.

But it’s a double-edged sword, isn’t it? Someone powerful enough to be a major asset is also powerful enough to be a major threat. And the consul hasn’t stayed in control this long by ignoring threats. Plus, there’s the burning question Mircea either doesn’t answer or answers in such a way that isn’t convincing: why was he at Tony’s for a year? He has charmed first level masters who hate the senate in a week, yet he needed a year with this child? Why?

He said it was because he wanted to ensure that Cassie would be on the senate’s side if she was to grow up and inherit the pythian power, which sounds good on the surface. But then again . . . a year? A year away from his court, a year of putting up with Tony, a year in a run-down farmhouse outside Philly? And a year in which he never got around to mentioning that he had found a possible pythia until Marlowe discovered it himself. Why a whole year? And why the secrecy?

It bothers her, and it bothers Marlowe, because Mircea is not the kind of man to do something for no reason. But she doesn’t believe his reason here, or doesn’t think that’s all there is to it, and that’s a problem. That is potentially a big problem considering that Mircea has a very powerful family, has a gift for making allies, has mental abilities that she doesn’t know the full extent of, has a close tie to one of her greatest rivals (Ming-de) and now . . . he also has a pythia. Who is loyal to him, and not to her.

Wouldn’t you be worried?


Question 2: I love the Marlowe character and his interactions with Mircea and Dory!  I was wondering, if a master’s child ends up committing a major crime (e.g., high treason), is the master ever punished for not having managed his/her child better / not having known?  Is it a spoiler to ask how Marlowe reacted when he learned about Lawrence’s betrayal?

I explained this already in a question that came up on the sidebar, but I’ll do it here for those who may not have seen it. By the way, asking questions that have short answers works okay in that format, but any that require a lengthy explanation (as in more than a couple sentences) are better submitted as part of the Q&A. It gives me more space to answer.

Anyway, a master is responsible for his children until they are emancipated. After that, they are considered to be responsible for themselves. That is one of the main reasons why masters tend to emancipate powerful servants; they become harder to control, and the master doesn’t want to answer for anything they may do that is outside his control. So Lawrence was responsible for himself, having been emancipated from Marlowe years before. As for Marlowe’s reaction, he was furious. But by the time he realized what had been happening, Lawrence was already dead.


Question 3: In that near-death scene in FK, Radu seemed shocked by Dory’s outburst. Was he surprised because he wasn’t used to Dory showing so much emotion or because of the topic of Dory’s mom (how much did he know about that anyway?)

Dory always maintained the façade of not caring, either about Mircea or about a past she couldn’t remember. Radu is intelligent but not perceptive, at least not about people, and it had never occurred to him before that she might be lying. Or how much hurt, anger and resentment she had built up over the years that he didn’t know about. He was also surprised that she would speak to her father that way as he lay dying, and dying because he had just allowed himself to be savaged in order to save her. But Dory knew Mircea better than Radu, and what he needed then wasn’t tears and sympathy. He needed to be reminded of what he once told Rafe: Life isn’t a gift, it’s a challenge. Rise to it.


Question 4: In DM, Mircea told Dory that he couldn’t give her memories about her mother back to her. In Fury’s Kiss however, Lawrence was able to show Dory a previously repressed scene from her memory (the pier), and she has also shown signs of mental abilities later on (projecting). Presuming Mircea still has his memories about his wife, couldn’t he share them with Dory that way?

Lawrence isn’t Mircea, and Dory at the pier was not Dory as a child. To elaborate: Lawrence tried to remove Dory’s recollection of that night, but when he got into her mind, he found it to be a scary, scary place. He didn’t know what the hell was going on, and was interrupted before he could try to figure it out (not that he was all that enthusiastic about it, frankly). But the result was a hatchet job of a mind wipe that didn’t actually wipe much at all; it mostly just covered things over a little. If it hadn’t also resulted in the fall of a barrier that fey wine had already weakened to the breaking point, it might not have worked at all.

The memories of Dory’s mother, on the other hand, were removed when she was much younger and much more vulnerable. And the wipe was done by someone both more powerful and more careful than Lawrence. Mircea had to do a good job, or shards of returning memories might have caused the destruction of the barrier that was the only thing keeping her sane.

As far as sharing his own memories, yes, he could. But he can’t give her back her own because he doesn’t have them. He never saw Dory and her mother together, so how can he return what he doesn’t have? Also, when Mircea said that to her, it was in DM, before the barrier came down. He would not have dared try to show her anything at that point.


Question 5: How did Tony give Sal orders from Faerie when Tomas got relieved of having to obey when he crossed over?

Who said Tony gave them to her from Faerie?


Question 6: Marlowe mentioned that Mircea’s interest in Pythias couldn’t be on the behest of a consul he did not know at that time. Shouldn’t Mircea have already known the consul(s) due to his experiences in Masks? Or do they kinda keep that their dirty little secret, even from the chief spy? What does/did Anthony think of Mircea anyway? Can’t imagine him being overjoyed at him coming to Paris after all…

It wasn’t considered a dirty little secret. It was considered an honor, especially for one as young as Mircea, to be noticed by someone in her position. But it also happened long before Marlowe was even born and, to most people, was not a major incident. Mircea’s part in the old consul’s fall was not made generally known, as the new co-consuls needed the admiration that killing him on their own provided (vampires respect strength). It also didn’t take place at court, where the gossips might have been more likely to keep it alive, and was overshadowed by far more important events in most people’s minds. So not too many people even recall that she had a young Romanian lover for what was, after all, a very short time.

Q&A #36: (First published on Facebook December 21, 2012)

Q#1: The name of Louis-Cesare’s court, Les Pléiades, refers to the constellation? Or to the nymphs, for whom the stars are named? How did it come to be named so? And are all main vampire courts named?

I never know how to answer questions like these, since there’s a book answer and a real-world answer, and I’m not sure which you want. The book answer is that the estate was named after the Pléiade, a group of sixteenth-century French poets whose work Louis-Cesare liked when he was a boy. So, yes, the poets named themselves after the constellation, but Louis-Cesare wasn’t thinking of the stars when he named the estate. The real-world answer is that I lived in an apartment complex called Les Pléiades in Marne-la-Vallée when I was sent to France as part of the opening crew for Disneyland Paris. It was my introduction to Europe, and I had a fun time. Okay, mostly fun. Anyway, here’s baby me in my Disney outfit:


Q#2: In Curse the Dawn, Alphonse says of Marlowe “I thought he liked stubborn, powerful, complicated types”. Any hints about who Alphonse is talking about? And also, why is Alphonse of all people saying this? I don’t get the impression he and Marlowe are best buds. How does he know what ‘type’Marlowe likes? Do lesser vampires gossip about Senators’ love lives the way we might gossip about movie stars?

Yes. Senators are celebrities in Cassie’s world. Very much like rock stars. And Marlowe is an object of fascination because he’s so mysterious. He’s always being linked with somebody.:-)

Q#3: What historical figure (if any) is Hassani based on?

Hassan-i Sabbā, the founder of the Order of Assassins. Since he’s head of the African Senate, which governs the Middle East as well as Africa, I thought it only fair to use someone with ties to both regions. Hassani was born in Iran and ended up in Cairo, so he fit. Plus, he and the order he founded have always interested me.

Q#4: I was wondering how Pritkin’s singing voice sounds. Is there any singer who comes close to how he sounds in your head?

No, not really. Of course, I don’t listen to music much, so I wouldn’t. He’s a nice tenor, though, if that helps.

Q#5: For the Q&A, I was wondering what happened to Marco’s date in Curse the Dawn. He said that Cassie was enough trouble. So did he actually go on the date and something disastrous happened or did he just call it off? I’m pretty sure this isn’t a spoiler, so it’s safe to ask.

Marco was a little busy to worry about dating in Hunt the Moon! In fact, body-guarding Cassie has taken a tragic toll on his personal life. He said to tell interested ladies that he’s still available, however, and that he doesn’t bite…hard. 🙂

Q&A #34: (First published on Facebook November 11, 2012)

QUESTION 1: About the title, does Fury’s Kiss refers to Dorina, opposed to Dory, since Midnight’s Daughter was Dory and Death’s Mistress was Christine?

Yes, it was Dorina who received the kiss (from the Irin child) which allowed her and Dory’s natures to meet and do what they did.

QUESTON 2: In Death’s Mistress, Mircea said he and Marlowe had worked to select master vampires with political views similar to their own and skilled in combat, but did any of those masters manage to get a senate seat, apart from Louis-Cesare, who was supposed to be banned, and Dory?

You’ll find out all about the senate in the next book—I promise! But I will say that Mircea and Marlowe’s faction wasn’t as successful as they had hoped, which was one reason the Consul was willing to do what she did. Simply put, they needed the extra vote.

QUESTION 3: Did Mircea know of the traditional gift to children who become masters when he changed his brothers? If so, what did he give Radu? And did Radu ever give anything to Louis-Cesare, maybe anonymously or later when they could meet again?

Yes, Mircea knew. He’d had to trap Radu (in the kind of magical snare you see him use on Vlad in Claimed by Shadow) to stop his aging, because he wasn’t a master yet when Radu became seriously ill. So by the time Mircea finally was able to change his brother, he’d had a chance to learn a little more about the vampire world. As for what he gave him–the villa in Tuscany that Radu mentions in Fury’s Kiss. It was where ‘Du became so fond of making wine!

And no, Radu couldn’t give anything to Louis-Cesare, because he wasn’t supposed to have any contact with him at all (see Midnight’s Daughter for why). He wasn’t there when Louis attained master status, as a result. So now he’s doing his best to rectify that oversight and give him Dory!

QUESTION 4: If it’s not a spoiler, does Dorina see the type and intensity of magic, when she sees the auras? How does it relate to her seeing vampires’ family line?

I think you might be confusing two of her abilities. Dory can see the bonds between vampires (or their family aura, if you like) as can some other vamps. But one of her master’s gifts, which never manifested until this book because it was carried on Dorina’s side of the mind, was also related to sight. Dorina sees further along the electromagnetic spectrum than humans, or even most vampires, including infrared. In other words, she sees heat signatures, and can therefore identify what she’s hunting even in pure darkness.

QUESTION 5: At which age did Dory begin to have problems with her powers, when did Mircea began to separate her two sides and how long did it take him to complete the barrier?

Dory began to have trouble between her two halves early, with minor blackouts even before she met Mircea. But it didn’t become a serious threat to her health until they’d been in Venice for several years. Mircea then began trying to find a solution by traveling (at great risk, because he belonged to no one and was therefore under no one’s protection) to various areas of Italy and beyond to talk to well-known healers. Incidentally, that’s why he never demonstrates any of the fear most vamps show about using the ley line system. He had to use it early on to go and come quickly, because he couldn’t afford to leave Dory for long, but he also couldn’t take her with him due to the danger.

In any case, when he failed to find help, he returned to Venice, where the family was based because it was an open port (and they therefore weren’t violating any family’s territory by being there). It made it safer for them, but nothing was safer for Dory, who was having more and more trouble as time went on. Mircea was finally left with no choice but to try his novel approach to the problem and to separate her two natures. But remember, he was not a master then. He was weak, and it drained him greatly to do what he did. He got a little help, as you’ll see in “Masks”, but it was still an uphill battle to contain a vampire half that was gaining in strength almost as fast as he was.

It took decades to isolate Dory from her other nature. But Mircea never “completed” the barrier because Dorina never stopped growing in power and thereby threatening its integrity. He managed to stabilize Dory a few decades after he gained master status, which was lucky, because having a dhampir attached to his growing court was gaining her too much attention. It was likely to get her killed if she stayed with him any longer (because dhampirs were a no-no in the vampire world), so he had to let her go. But he erased much of her memory before doing so. He was afraid that, if she knew about Dorina, it would have been impossible to keep her from reaching out to her other side and thereby to maintain the barrier.

And it required maintaining. That was one reason, beyond wanting to see her, that Mircea reconnected with her every decade or so. He had to check on the stability of the wall, and to add to it as necessary, or risk a breech. Dorina had inherited his mental abilities, and while she was completely untrained and also handicapped by only being “out” occasionally, she had nonetheless gained master status. And containing a mentally adept master is not so easy.

Hope that clarifies things!

QUESTION 6: Marlowe has some diehard fans and we’re a little obsessed with his sex life, since it seems he hasn’t been laid for about 400 years. This would clearly explain why he’s perpetually angry! Maybe this also explains why, after reading Fury’s Kiss, some of us are now speculating wildly about him and Dory. I mean, what was that ‘searing look’ about at the end? Any words of comfort for frustrated Marlowe fans?

Lol! Where do you guys come up with this stuff? Honestly!

But you asked, so firstly, Marlowe has never been celibate, much less for 400 years! Secondly, he isn’t perpetually angry, just when he’s around Dory. Third, I honestly applaud the creativity, but no. Just…no. It is safe to say that Dory and Marlowe loathe each other (see Q&A #33 for why, beyond the obvious). However, I will say that Dory’s love life has some…ups and downs…headed her way. Or should I say, Dorina’s does? 🙂

Q&A #33: (First published on Facebook September 13, 2012)

QUESTION 1: If I remember correctly (which I hope I have) in the books and in Gillian’s stories Marlowe is described to wear a large ruby ring. Seeing that he has worn it in the Gillian stories and is still wearing it many years later, I wonder whether there is any significance of that ring (i.e. related to how it was obtained).

It’s traditional for a master to give their child a gift when the child becomes a master him or herself. The Consul gave Marlowe the ring in question, which meant a lot to him because a) he didn’t come from wealth or a noble background, and in his day, such a ring would have been worn mostly by that class. It was his way of reminding himself that what he had been, and the insults he’d had to endure over his birth, were a thing of the past. In vampire society, he could rise as high as his ambition and power could take him.

And b) it was also a sort of good luck charm. Marlowe hadn’t gained master status the usual way. The consul had needed someone with insight into the English government at the time and had found and changed him. But that had left her with a baby vamp, who was too weak to be useful. So she “pushed” him to become a master far earlier than he would have been on his own (how is explained in the stories). The procedure is rare, because most people don’t survive it. So for Marlowe, the ruby in the ring (the color of blood) was a reminder of the strength of his own blood now, and of his will to live. So no, he wasn’t going to give it up to Gillian’s need for some quick cash.

QUESTION 2: What is Mircea’s biological age? Cassie said he looked about 30, but the historical figure supposedly died at the age of 19. Is it because you decided to show us your own take on this story? Or maybe he just didn’t age well (after all, it’s not like he spent thousands of dollars on skin treatment, ate healthy stuff and knew how to deal with certain illnesses). When Mircea talked to Dory about her mom, he described himself as a ‘young man’. It struck me as odd, given the fact that in the 16th century people died at a relatively young age, and a 30-year old guy would be happily (or, well, not really) married. But then again, maybe he had no time for stuff like that, given the whole Ottoman Empire situation? Sorry for possible huge flaws in my logic, but it’s just one of those things that keep bugging me!

Somewhere or other, I have answered this question before, but I’m too lazy to look back through the Q&As to see if it was here. So forgive me anyone who may already have heard this.

Basically, no one knows how old Mircea was when he died, because no one is entirely sure when he was born. It may have been 1428, and his mother may have been Princess Cneajna of Moldavia (Vlad II’s second wife) as many stories say. But there are rumors that his father’s first wife, whose identity is unknown, may have been Mircea’s mother instead. And if that was the case, he could have been much older than history records.

But despite the fact that, by the time of his death, he had already led armies and conducted a massive siege, I went with the more popular story. It makes Mircea quite young when he died, but childhood was frequently brief in those days and it is not impossible that he did everything recorded by age nineteen. However, he doesn’t have to look that way now. My vampires can change their appearance with a glamourie and many do. Plus, as you pointed out, nineteen in Mircea’s day was not nineteen today, and his life had not been easy. So he probably looked older than a modern teenager would have in any case.

Oh, and by the way, he WAS married (see Death’s Mistress for details).

QUESTION 3: I had a timeline related question resulting from a Dory reread: a) She is given up to the travelers; b) her mother begins to search for her; c) Her mother is killed; d) she hunts and finds her father; e) he hides her/erases her memories to “remeet” her years later. Is the time between these events weeks, months or years in various cases?

Some of the answers to your questions are explained in Fury’s Kiss. I don’t want to spoil the book right before it comes out, so all I can tell you now is that Dory was given away as a baby (which is why she has no memory of her mother), and was nine when she tried to kill Mircea. You know, for the first time. Hope that helps.

QUESTION 4: In Midnight’s Daughter, Dory says Marlowe is “one evil son of a bitch, as I could testify on a personal level, and we weren’t exactly buddies.” Sounds like Dory and Marlowe have had a run-in before on at least one occasion. Care to spill any beans on the back story here?

Two Marlowe questions in one day? I think that’s a first! But okay.

Marlowe didn’t know Mircea had a dhampir daughter until one of Marlowe’s own vampires went missing, and was eventually found in a less than pristine condition. Someone fingered Dorina, and Marlowe went hunting her through a particularly vile swamp. For his part, Marlowe thought he knew all about nasty tricks. But during that long, hot, humid trudge through a positively prehistoric bog, he discovered he’d thought wrong.

Dory, for her part, found the pursuit amusing for a while, because few vamps actually come looking for a dhampir. And because watching Marlowe flounder around in muddy water, getting snake and mosquito bit (how’s that for irony) and being attacked by some of the nastiest magic money can buy was her idea of fun. Until she started adding up the cost of the pursuit. And until she ran out of weapons.

A very beat up, very pissed-off Marlowe eventually hunted her down and dragged her back alive, because no way was she getting an easy death after all of that. Only to find out that she wasn’t getting a death at all. His so very suave, so very sophisticated, so very even-tempered co-senator, the lofty Mircea, became surprisingly…irate…at Marlowe’s treatment of Dorina, and demanded her release. Luckily for Dory (and for the balance of power on the senate), she hadn’t killed Marlowe’s vamp. She’d just been a convenient scapegoat for the real culprit, a romantic rival of the dead guy’s, who had found out that a dhampir was in the neighborhood. That had enabled him to remove the competition and to put the blame on someone else. So Marlowe had to let Dory go. But bad blood remains.

QUESTION 5: I’d presumed Augusta was killed by Rasputin and Myra’s efforts before TtD, but Sal said that Ismitta was the only woman injured when Cassie asked. So what actually happened to Augusta? Is she still alive?

I was originally going to kill off Augusta, but she’s just too much fun. So I decided that she transferred to the European Senate after some infighting on her own made things uncomfortable for her, and is still there.

Q&A #32: (First published on Facebook August 1, 2012)

QUESTION 1: Did Marco ever have guard duty for Dorina? If so, which does he prefer, Dory’s duty or Cassie’s duty?

Dory doesn’t need a bodyguard. Dory regularly causes other people to need bodyguards. And in any case, Marco is in no way stronger than she is. If anything, based on power alone, she would be more likely to be guarding him, not the other way around. But Marco, along with most vampires who aren’t the over-powered, and quite possibly overconfident, Louis-Cesare would feel extremely uncomfortable with a dhampir guard. It would be akin to setting the fox to watch the henhouse—no one’s idea of a good time.

QUESTION 2: When, where and how Radu and Dorina first met? I can’t quite imagine how exactly it could have gone but I can’t help thinking it must have been hilarious!

Their first meeting was in medieval Italy, where the family lived for a time, although Dory doesn’t remember it. I won’t say more here because I might want to write it up at some point.

QUESTION 3: Could you give us a peek on the first meeting between Dory and Mircea from Mircea’s point of view? (I hope it is not a spoiler question) In particular, I would like to know if he recognized Dory from the first, what he felt when he did recognize her and what he thought of her plan of killing Vlad!

Mircea recognized her resemblance to her mother, which is striking. He also guessed what she was, even before she admitted it, because he’d heard tales about dhampirs (although she was the first he’d met). And considering that he went to the lengths of erasing her memory to make certain that she did not again attempt to kill his brother, it’s pretty clear he wasn’t in favor of it. If she’d succeeded, it would have given Vlad a much better fate than Mircea had in mind for him, and if she’d failed, she would have died. So no good either way.

QUESTION 4: Why did Augusta leave Jack alive? I had understood she only wanted to torture him a little before killing him. And is Jack the youngest Senate member for North America?

Mei Ling is the youngest senator by a long way. As for Augusta, she kept intending to kill Jack, but it wasn’t like there was a rush and she enjoyed having him around to torment. Eventually, she just got used to him.

QUESTION 5: Does Marlowe have his own court? Can you tell us anything about it?

All of the senators have their own courts, many more than one. Since Marlowe’s homes also double as spy outposts on the other senates, he has more than most, with impressive residences in London, Paris, New York (City and Upstate), Beijing, Cairo, Hyderabad and Mexico City. It’s also speculated that he has some hidden ones, because he just disappears sometimes and nobody knows where he goes. But he didn’t have one in Vegas, because he just used his extensive suite at MAGIC. He’s rarely at most of these homes, of course, but his people staff them and keep him apprised of goings on in the area.

Q&A #29: (First published on Facebook March 2, 2012)

QUESTION 1: I understand that vampire fangs retract and expand, but there are references in the books that someone “flashed a bit of fang”. Do vampires have fangs visible all the time, or can they make their teeth look like normal human teeth?

The vampires in my universe have retractable fangs (like a snake). How’s that for sexy?

But it wouldn’t be a problem even if they didn’t. Any vamp worth his or her salt can mess with human heads well enough to blend in. They’d starve otherwise.

QUESTION 2: Why did you decide to portray Marlowe as straight, when most historical evidence points to him being gay? Don’t you realise your readers would enjoy a bit of man-love? Could he at least be bi-sexual in the books?

I never actually recall saying anything about Marlowe’s preferences, one way or the other. Since I deal with historical characters part of the time, I try to keep them as accurate to the historical record as possible. But on some questions, there’s just no reliable info. Like Mircea’s eye color. Did you know there’s no reference for it anywhere that I could find? I ended up going with brown, simply because it’s common in Romania, and because Radu and Vlad (who lived long enough to rate descriptions, I suppose) already had blue and green covered. But I could be wrong. We’ll probably never know for sure.

Likewise with Marlowe’s preferences. There’s no clear, unbiased evidence (in fact, there’s little verifiable info about a lot of his life–always the man of mystery). So it remains a fun topic for scholars to debate. But with people on both sides of the question, it’s hard to know who to believe. But if it makes you happy to think of him as bi, go for it. There’s nothing in the books to contradict you.

As far as man love is concerned, Radu would like to point out that, while he understands that his macho demeanor may have fooled you, he is actually quite progressive on that concept. Quite, quite, progressive. He would be even more progressive, but his boyfriend has stamina issues. After three or four hours, he’s bottomed out. So to speak.

QUESTION 3: If Cassie has visited a place, time or dimension already, can she easily shift there again without effort?

Come now. Has there ever been a “without effort” card in my universe? About anything? Where would be the fun in that? Or the drama. Or the resemblance to real life, which rarely works that way.

QUESTION 4: Has Marlowe’s relationship with The Consul ever been more than strictly business?

Lol. First you want him with dudes and now with…whatever she is these days. You guys need to make up your minds. Or not. After all, that’s what fan fic is for. You know, if it existed. Which it doesn’t.

QUESTION 5: Cassie’s mother is obviously one of the good guys, so her father presumably is too, yet he joined the Black Circle. It says at the end of Hunt the Moon that Artemis joined the Pythian Court as her power was almost exhausted and this was the only source left to her. Did her father hope to use the Black Circle’s power for Cassie’s mother?

Wow, and you guys were doing so well with the non-spoiler questions.

QUESTION 6: In one of the latest Q&A notes you said that Mircea speaks eight languages. Can you tell us what languages they are?

From his early education:
Spoke–Wallachian dialect of Romanian, German, some Turkish (not fluent)
Studied/read (when forced): Greek, Latin, Old Church Slavonic
From his years in Italy:
Italian, Venetian
From his years in France:
French, Spanish, English
From his years in China:

Q&A #14: (First published to Facebook August 20, 2011)

QUESTION 1: In the short story, “A Family Affair”, Pritkin was recalling a conversation with his father and it states that “he looked at the creature he once admired and for the first time saw him for what he was.” Is it safe to assume that Pritkin had a good relationship with his father at one point?

Yes, of course. Why would it immediately have been bad? Rosier can be extremely charming when he wants to be, and he had every reason to use some of that charm on his son. And Pritkin was young and naïve and had a lively curiosity and found this whole new world of his fascinating—for a while.

QUESTION 2: In “A Family Affair,” Sid implied there was something special about the incubus royal line. What can you tell us about the royal line without giving us spoilers? Sid also mentions Rosier as a child. Since incubi obviously don’t reproduce the way humans do (at least not usually), how do they reproduce?

Incubi are normally a very weak kind of demon. Of course, currying favor doesn’t require a lot of physical strength, and neither does spying, blackmailing, or influencing, which is what Rosier’s family does best. But then, that’s because they don’t have a choice. An incubus in a fight with virtually any other demon is toast. Unless it is an incubus of the royal line.

As you discovered in “A Family Affair,” the royal line is a) a great deal stronger than the average incubus, so b) they can drain someone extremely fast, while c) absorbing the attributes of those they drain and d) thereafter kicking ass. At least for a little while.

As far as reproduction goes, you already know that. They reproduce, as do all non-corporeal demons, through the feedback loop of power that Pritkin explained to Cassie. It doesn’t result in a child often, but it does happen or there wouldn’t be any more little incubi running around.

QUESTION 3: Finally, how did Pritkin choose the name he currently uses?

He was being cute. The Pritanni were among the oldest groups of people in the British Isles and the ones who gave the country its name (the Romans misspelled it with a ‘B’ and it stuck.) They were also the group Pritkin’s mother was descended from, so he was literally “kin of the Pritanni” or Pritkin.

QUESTION 4: In some of the short stories featuring Marlowe, he seemed to have a passion for protecting England and Queen Elizabeth. Does it ever bother him that he is no longer providing any security for the royal family or Britain and is serving the Senate in the States?

Hahahahaha! Oh, my God *wipes eyes* thank you for that. I needed a good laugh today. And the royal family are always good for it, aren’t they? God love ‘em.

Seriously, though, what exactly would he be protecting them from? The pope hasn’t called for open rebellion against them, other countries aren’t regularly sending assassins after them, and the only Armada floating across the channel these days are hovercrafts filled with tourists. So I’m not really seeing a lot of parallels with Elizabeth I’s reign.

QUESTION 5: Pritkin doesn’t seem to have many real friends that value him, so I was wondering how he reacted to Mac’s death (he didn’t really have time to react in Faerie)? Is he in constant “battle” zone due to the war or did he have a chance to mourn? (I really liked Mac and was sad to see him die.)

Pritkin has friends, but it is difficult to let a lot of people close when you have to hide half of what you are and most of what you’ve done. He was very upset about Mac, who shouldn’t have been there in the first place. But he was, and he died protecting the Pythia, which is what a war mage is supposed to do. And Pritkin honored his sacrifice in the way Mac would have preferred–and how Mac would have mourned him, had their positions been reversed–by getting sloshed on Mac’s favorite brand of whiskey.

QUESTION 6: I love the Cassie/Pritkin story line, but through all the books regardless of which way you decide to go with those two characters in the future, Pritkin can be seen as Cassie’s protector/guard. Regardless if the story goes love interest or just bodyguard/protector there is a connection between the two that you are writing on. Whether that connection is to the bond they have pertaining to the Hell focus (Mom is over the 9 gates and dad is a demon lord) or that he is not human and neither is she, etc. So it got me thinking is Pritkin to Cassie as Garm is to Artemis/Hel? Pritkin can be seen as Cassie’s protector, campaign, mentor, guard, warrior, etc, throughout all the books thus far; just like Garm is to Artemis. That would make sense of why Cassie feels this bond with Pritkin almost from day one, when Cassie says that she does not let anyone get close to her; Pritkin ‘bulldozed his way past her defenses”. It would also explain why both of them would risk themselves to protect and save the other time and time again. Just curious, I do not think this is a future spoiler question just more of a connection/relationship question.

It’s an interesting point, but I’m not really sure what your question is. Yes, Pritkin is Cassie’s protector. But then, Mircea is, too. And as Cassie grew up with vampires, she could be said to have a connection to them as well. It all depends on how you want to look at it, doesn’t it?

QUESTION 7: In “A Family Affair” Pritkin says to Sid “I came across a few of the tunnels as a boy”. I thought Rosier did not claim Pritkin until he was 24 – the same age Cassie was when her life went sideways (from a post on your old forum). So did Pritkin somehow find the tunnels in Shadowland while he was a child? I have a hard time thinking of a 24 year old as a “child” or “boy”.

But then you aren’t three hundred years old. Twenty-four might seem pretty darn young to you, if you were. And he never used the term “child”, just “boy.” Which in experience, naiveté and general cluelessness, he pretty much was.

Q&A #2 (First published to Facebook, April 29, 2011)

Q&A #2:

(1) How do vampires cease to exist? Both Cassie & Dori say that it is either direct sun exposure or the combined staking/decapitation. Yet Cassie said that Sal and Nicu died because they fell off the 20th floor.

Cassie and Dory were both discussing sure-fire methods. But enough damage to the body will also do it–like being turned into mush from a twenty-story fall! After all, that would also destroy the head and the heart, wouldn’t it?

(2) How do vampires survive in Fairy, since Dori has said that they do not drink fairy blood?

They either (a) find one of the humans the Fey keep as servants and feed from them, or (b) they get the heck out of Faerie!

(3) In “The Gauntlet” Marlowe refers to Walsingham as “my master”. Does he mean Sir Francis Walsingaham and that the latter was a vampire, because historically Francis Walsingham predeceased Christopher Marlowe?

Marlowe doesn’t mention Walsingham in “The Gauntlet.” I think you must be thinking of the sequel, “The Queen’s Witch.” Marlowe mentions Walsingham twice in that story, and both times it’s made clear that he is deceased.

(4) Are there going to be any more Kitt/Gillian, Claire short stories?

Yes, on Kit and Gillian. Maybe on Claire. Claire is also in the Dory novels, so she gets a bit of an outing there.

(5) Silly question but it’s in relation to one of last week’s answers. It’s about the 3 bite rule for turning vamp. When it was answered, the rule did not really apply correctly for Dory because Dory didn’t ask to be drained, just to be turned. The vamp in question got a little too enthusiastic, leaving her lightheaded the next day. It got me thinking a bit, Cassie asks Mircea in the first book if she were to taste bitter. I guess all creatures have a different taste to a vamp.

• Was Dory too ‘tasty’ for the vamp?

No, he was trying to make sure that the disease “took”. In my universe, vampirism is a metaphysical disease, and the Change is, in essence, the infection of a new person with it. And being the first to Change a dhampir would have been quite an accomplishment for him.

• What would Cassie taste like?

Read Hunt the Moon and you’ll find out!

• Also feeding consistently from the same person forms a bond…are there withdrawal symptoms when stopped?

No, but the bond will fade over time, if the feeding stops and the person in question isn’t Changed.

(6) What exactly did Pritkin and Jonas argue about in Curse the Dawn while Cassie was in the garden? We get a general idea but the actual escalation to a shouting argument happens off screen.

Pritkin didn’t think Jonas should have broken the news about Cassie’s parents the way he did. He didn’t object to her hearing what was common knowledge in the Corps, but thought it could have waited for a better time. Jonas thought he was mollycoddling her. If she was strong enough to be Pythia, she was strong enough to hear the truth–or at least the Circle’s version of it. That was usually Pritkin’s view, too, but this particular issue hit fairly close to home for him, and he was not happy about it being dumped on her like that.