Night Inside, The

Rating: 
4
The Night Inside
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 3-Nov-1994

Adapted from "Vampires in Print" in The Vampire's Crypt #10 (Fall 1994).

This review contains material that was omitted from VC #10 due to lack of space.

Review by Cathy Krusberg

Nancy Baker. The Night Inside. (Fawcett Columbine, 1993; $20.00/$26.00).

On her way to a useless Ph.D., Ardeth Alexander can actually make some money with her skills: Armitage Historical Research hires her and a few other University of Toronto graduate students to research seemingly unrelated topics: sixteenth-century magician-scientists, a Russian dynasty, and the ownership of buildings in nineteenth-century Toronto.

Then one of her fellow researchers dies. Then another. One of the warehouses that was researched is burned down.

And very suddenly, Ardeth herself is captured.

Of course, suggested a tiny voice in the back of her mind, if you did decide to panic, only if mind you, you would be excused as having every reason. You are, after all, bound, gagged and blindfolded in the back of a van driven by two maniacs who've already killed someone else.

But they're not going to kill her. "Our guest needs her."

In what was once an asylum, Ardeth finds herself in a cell beside "our guest" -- a human-shaped figure with gray hair and a molten gaze of mad hunger. At intervals, Ardeth's captors shove her arm through the intervening bars to provide sustenance for her strange neighbor.

*A vampire, dear God, it's a vampire.*

In long days of captivity interrupted only by the occasional appearance of food and water, Ardeth mulls over her circumstances. Her research. The deaths. The burned warehouse. Russian dynasties. The other captive:

"You're Rozokov. Dimitri Rozokov."

And Ardeth offers her blood to someone who is no less a captive than she: a vampire controlled with a cattle prod and an ultrasound machine that puts him into agonized paralysis. Under the influence of nourishment and charity, he gradually grows saner and comes to trust his companion. But even as Rozokov recovers, Ardeth grows weaker from his gentle predations. Soon she'll join the bodies buried in the woods, bodies of other prisoners who have slaked Rozokov's thirst.

Unless she can arrange not to stay among them. Unless Rozokov can make her a vampire so she can return to free him and avenge them both for the indignities they have suffered. Rozokov obliges (what other choice?), Ardeth returns, and they indulge in a bloodbath-cum-rampage (destroying, for example, videotapes of Rozokov ripping out throats and drinking blood). Ardeth helps herself to one of their captors' cars and drives both of them to Toronto -- where Rozokov insists that they part. "We are solitary creatures. It does not do for us to forget that. I shall manage. You shall manage as well."

So they do: Ardeth bitter at what she sees as Rozokov's abandonment but determined and resourceful, beginning with a makeover at a Queen Street salon: "Something so that no one will recognize me." Rozokov has been out of circulation for ninety years, his resources gone or inaccessible: some have been reclaimed by banks; trusts for set up for "descendants" require at least three pieces of documentation as proof of parentage, and he does not even know who to contact for forgeries. With wealth closed, he seeks the other route to anonymity: great poverty. Rozokov takes up a life on the streets, among the homeless. He visits the library, reading up on history and law and economics; he searches through garbage cans for newspapers and magazines that will diminish his ignorance of the very new world he inhabits.

Ardeth makes a slightly better existence for herself -- but through coincidences, her sister learns that Ardeth has been sighted. Sara is determined to track Ardeth down, and soon posters with Ardeth's face appear throughout Toronto. Rozokov sees one, realizes this could tip off the parties who still seek him -- but who will settle for any vampire they can capture.

Solitary creatures they may be, but he can't let that happen to Ardeth.

I had great difficulty writing this review because I kept stopping to re-read the good bits. Ardeth's early conversations with Rozokov, the mutual pleasure of sharing blood with him; Rozokov's reacquaintance with a world so greatly changed, yet so much the same, and with the humanity in his own nature, humanity he has pushed aside but never altogether stilled. While I never found Rozokov's attraction to Ardeth completely convincing -- or Ardeth's attraction to Rozokov -- much of The Night Inside, including characters' feelings and motives, *is* believable, very believable. I enjoyed this story about *people*, people I could not help believing in and caring about -- vampire and human alike.

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From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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