A 1989 {{historical fantasy}} novel by Creator/TimPowers, set in early nineteenth century Europe. The premise [[CanonWelding reworks]] several historically collected quotations and poems from authors in that era into a meta-CosmicHorrorStory, exploring and explaining the [[DysfunctionJunction personal anguish]] inherent to artists through the lens of [[{{Vampire}} vampires]] and [[AncientConspiracy ancient conspiracies.]] As such, Powers gets to [[ShownTheirWork show off]] his knowledge of the minutiae of that era by writing an adventure spanning the entire European continent.

Earth is secretly home to at least three intelligent species, of which only humans were active in historical times - until someone woke one of them up 800 years before the story opens, seeking to become [[{{immortality}} immortal]] in exchange for providing a linkage between the two species which would allow them to become active again. This species is referred to in-story as the nephelim - a reference to the ancient Christian myths of the {{Nephilim}} that once walked the earth in the days before the Flood. (The third species is represented by the mountains themselves; they are expected to inherit the Earth in the far future.)

The nephelim can offer {{immortality}} and poetic inspiration, but at a price: they are [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampires]], and while they do not directly harm their human hosts, they are jealous "spouses" and will kill their hosts' families. Several English Romantic poets encountered over the course of the story have such "spouses" and have lost close family members to them, but cannot bear to break free at the cost of no longer being able to create great poetry. Those who try to break free are subject to pursuit.

The story's protagonist is an English obstetrician named Crawford, who is about to marry for the second time (his first, unhappy marriage ended with his wife's death in a fire) to a respectable young Englishwoman named Julia. During a drunken escapade the night before marrying Julia, Crawford puts a wedding ring on the finger of a statue; unfortunately, the statue was a nephelim seeking a human host that would let her cross the English channel in pursuit of her previous host, Creator/PercyByssheShelley. The nephelim kills Julia on their wedding night, forcing him to flee to the Continent. He is pursued by her twin sister, Josephine, who has... issues. While on the run, he involves himself with several similarly affected persons-of-importance, gets roped into both sides of a conspiracy-cum-revolutionary-movement, and slowly uncovers the ties that bind mankind and the nephelim.

Received a sequel, ''Hide Me Among the Graves'', in 2012.
!! This work features the following as characters:
* Creator/LordByron
* Creator/JohnKeats
* Creator/MaryShelley
* Creator/PercyByssheShelley
!! This work provides examples of:
* AccidentalMarriage: Crawford and the nephilim statue. [[spoiler:Accidental on ''his'' part, anyway. Turns out the nephilim needed a host to get across the channel and arranged events to get one.]]
* AngstySurvivingTwin: Josephine.
* AstralProjection: [[spoiler:Though Werner himself is immobile, he can make several solid projections of himself with which to experience the world.]]
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: Several major English Romantic poets - Byron, Keats, and Shelley - draw their inspiration from nephelim "spouses".
* {{Bizarrchitecture}}
* BlessedWithSuck: It's great being a Nephilim's lover. You develop astounding skill with language and words, and you'll be [[MadeOfIron protected from anything that could ever hurt you]], [[WhoWantsToLiveForever even old age and death]]. And all it wants is all of your love. [[KillEmAll Oh, and the deaths of everyone else in your life.]] [[AndIMustScream And you won't be allowed to love anyone else. Not even yourself.]]
* BrotherSisterIncest: [[spoiler:Shelley's nephilim is his twin sister.]]
** Byron also engaged in this with his sister.
* ByronicHero: Creator/LordByron is a major character who provides critical help at key points in the story. All the other (successful) authors that show up (Keats and Shelley, among others) are examples. It seems to be a chronic ailment among artists.
* ChekhovsGun: Several instances.
** Numerous pieces of period literature, fiction and nonfiction, are reinterpreted or reworked into the supernatural setting. These quotations tend to be at the beginning of each chapter, and act as unfired guns for the moment.
** The biggest one would have to be the fact that Aickman came across some intimate knowledge of the BigBad disguised as rather obscure information while in medical school.
* CityOfCanals: Venice. The protagonists' favorite city in the world, as it happens.
* CosmicHorrorStory: All over the place. The nephilim are both far more powerful than any man and a little too insubstantial to touch. All attempts to oppose them tend to be some dangerous desperate ritual. Garlic and extremely conductive or insulative material (in the form of, say, [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything highly conductive silver bullets, or highly insulative wooden stakes]]) are the only defenses, and the slightest bit of human error will screw those over.
** A sequence in the middle of the book bears mentioning: Creator/PercyShelley, Aickman, Josephine and various family friends are all living together at a beach-house in Italy. Percy is afflicted by a nephilim and is attempting to ward it off. It's some time before he can fully cast it off, and in the meantime the dozen or so people in the house have to constantly be on guard against nephelim: don't go outside at night, coat your windows with garlic, don't talk to strangers, always keep the blinds closed. The confined nature doesn't make anyone else that happy. Then, one by one, people in the house fall in love with various nephilim that came to haunt Shelley. Most of these people are married and don't know anything about the nephelim, but are carrying out secret affairs with them and becoming more and more lifeless. So you have, essentially, families and loved ones being destroyed by some supernatural force no one truly see or understand.
* DeadGuyJunior: [[spoiler:In the end, we learn that Crawford and Josephine named their son John for the poet John Keats.]]
* DealWithTheDevil: [[spoiler:Shelley makes a deal with his twin sister, giving himself to her (and apparently allowing her to burn out the creative part of his brain) in exchange for leaving his children alone. She reneges pretty much immediately.]]
* DeathByChildbirth: The mother of Julia and Josephine.
** [[spoiler: Technically she's not the only one, as The Man Behind The Curtain does eventually die off-screen from surgical complications that revoke his MisterSeahorse status.]]
* DesecratingTheDead: [[spoiler:Shelley, during his bid to have his daughter resurrected (long story) is forced to disguise her as a puppet. And then some guards he needs to get by demand to see a show...even worse, the resurrection fails anyway.]]
* {{Dhampyr}}: Having gestated at the same time as a nephilim, Shelley is sort of one of these. He hasn't inherited any cool powers, just a much-lesser form of their weaknesses. Also, as something caught between the two different forms of life, humans are disgusted by him and nephilim are fascinated by him.
* DysfunctionJunction: Aickman, Josephine, Keats, and Shelley and their families all spend some time living together.
* DrivenToSuicide
* EarnYourHappyEnding: Crawford and Josephine, among others, and [[TraumaCongaLine man do they ever earn it]]. [[Creator/LordByron The]] [[Creator/JohnKeats poets]] have it just as bad.
* EmotionlessGirl: Josephine, when she slips into her {{Robot Girl}}-imitation defense mechanism.
* EyeScream: Josephine resists manipulation by the nephilim by gouging out an eye to break the spell. Later, she uses a glass eye that doubles as an emergency stash of garlic.
* FaceDeathWithDignity
* FamousLastWords: Creator/JohnKeats' epitaph, "Here lies one whose name was writ in water". Given a very different meaning in context of the story than the usual interpretation in RealLife.
* {{Fingore}}: Those bonded to a Nephilim commonly receive the "nephilim's kiss", having their left ring finger bitten off. Crawford, for eminently sensible and logical reasons, later bites off most of his left pinky and spits it in a small child's face.
* FrankensteinsMonster: The inspiration for Creator/MaryShelley's story is shown early in the book - the friendly writing contest that gave rise to ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'' was inspired because some of the attendees had noticed at least one of the creatures hanging around, and decided to turn the stalker incident into a joke.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler: The cruise of poets]].
* IfICantHaveYou: The [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Nephilim]] just want to be loved, completely and unconditionally, by the humans they choose. And to make sure you'll always love them they'll [[spoiler:kill everyone else you love]] to make sure you're all theirs.
* {{Immortality}}: The nephilim can provide this to their lovers, as long as their stay in direct contact with earth or stone.
* ImpaledWithExtremePrejudice: [[spoiler:The nephilim roleplaying Julia]] in Venice.
* LovingAShadow: Crawford realizes eventually that he never really knew Julia, and that if Josephine's imitation of her is anything like the real thing, he's better off without her.
* TheManBehindTheCurtain: The man who made the original bargain. While he lives and maintains the link between humans and the nephelim, humans will never be free of them.
* MistakenForMurderer: Crawford by Josephine.
* MoreThanMindControl: It's hard enough for normal people to give up their connection to a nephilim. For people inclined to define themselves by their writing, such as every poet in this book, it's like cutting off your own limb.
* NotBloodSiblings: Crawford and his sister-in-law Josephine.
* OurVampiresAreDifferent: The creatures that feed on humans are a separate species that can be thought of as animated stones. They grant extended life, but are very jealous of their... proteges... and tend to kill their families. They are vulnerable to garlic and holy water, and cannot cross oceans without a human host. They can be "divorced", but afterward one must be careful not to allow them back into one's life.
* PlotTailoredToTheParty: The book isn't a medical drama, and Aickman and Josephine's medical professions, while useful, aren't really relevant to the superatural conflicts. Suffice it to say, they are ''integral'' in the last act, as are Byron's own skills.
* PsychicLink: Those who have been touched by the nephilim can drink each others' blood to form a temporary one of these.
* RegencyEngland: Crawford's part of the story begins there.
* RiddleOfTheSphinx: Given a new spin, in which "A man" is only ''coincidentally'' a viable answer. The actual correct answer is [[spoiler: sentient life on Earth]], and the "legs" referred to in the riddle are [[spoiler: the atomic bonds in the skeletons of, respectively, Earth's primordial silicon-based vampires, its current calcium-boned humans, and its future aluminum-boned race to come (presumably robots, although only the reader can deduce that)]].
* SplitPersonality: Josephine has at least two: An imitation of her sister Julia, and one which is likened in movement and personality to an automaton. She's prone to slipping into them at inconvenient times.
* TheStoic: Josephine.
* SuicidePact: [[spoiler: The cruise of poets]].
* TakingYouWithMe: [[spoiler: The cruise of poets has this as its objective - to remove the nephilim threat to the families of those on the cruise.]]
* TheUnfavorite: Crawford's sister-in-law Josephine, the younger twin of his wife Julia, who blames herself for her mother's DeathByChildbirth. Crawford sees her Unfavorite status when he first meets her shortly before the wedding, but her family appears oblivious to this.
* VoluntaryShapeshifter: The nephelim can take on the shapes of humans, and can act very convincingly.