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Fevre Dream is a vampire novel written by George R. R. Martin and published in 1982. It is set on the antebellum Mississippi River beginning in 1857, and has been described by some as "Bram Stoker meets Mark Twain." The book was first published in the US by Poseidon Press in 1982. It was notably reprinted by Orion Books in 2001 as volume 13 of their Fantasy Masterworks series, and was nominated for both the Locus and World Fantasy Awards in 1983.

Plot summary

Abner Marsh, a remarkably ugly but highly skilled steamboat captain, is grappling with a financial crisis in 1857 when he is contacted by Joshua York, a rich, soft-spoken gentleman. They become unlikely business partners, with Joshua winning Abner over by promising to pay for the construction of a magnificent new steamboat, bigger, faster and more opulent than any along the Mississippi River.

This steamboat is named the Fevre Dream, after Abner's previously-failing company, the Fevre River Packet Company. Joshua and Abner co-captain the ship, with Abner being solely responsible for her actual command and navigation. However, many questions are raised by the crew and passengers about Joshua York and his friends, who hardly ever venture out of their cabins during daylight hours. Abner's suspicions about his mysterious partner grow when he finds in Joshua's cabin books of newspaper clippings detailing mysterious deaths. He confronts Joshua, who tells Abner that he and his friends are vampire hunters. They are using the Fevre Dream as their base of operations to investigate a trail of mysterious deaths along the river. In time, however, Joshua finally tells Abner the truth: he and his friends are themselves vampires. Joshua has developed an alchemic potion which controls the blood fever of vampires, and he is on a crusade to free other vampires of their need for living blood. Some vampires consider him the "Pale King," lord or "bloodmaster" to all vampires.

The evil and amoral Damon Julian, another bloodmaster, formerly of New Orleansmarker, learns of Joshua's efforts. He boards the Fevre Dream with his own entourage of vampires, and manages to overpower Joshua. As bloodmaster of all the vampires on the ship, he forces Abner out and uses the Fevre Dream for his own nefarious purposes, disappearing down the river. Abner becomes obsessed with the lost, demonic ship, and spends his remaining fortune searching for it, until finally giving up. He later serves as a naval officer during the American Civil War. Much later, after receiving a letter from Joshua, the now-elderly Abner returns to help Joshua depose Julian. The vampires square off, and with Abner's aid Joshua overpowers Julian and becomes bloodmaster.

The novel closes many years later by implying that all vampires were eventually freed by Joshua's work. They make nighttime pilgrimages, of sorts, to Abner's grave beside the Mississippi River, honoring his contribution to their cause.

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