From Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks to Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, from The X-Files to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, creators are mixing old European myths and legends with modern American pop culture. Incorporating influences ranging from blaxploitation movies and erotic novels to tabloid staples like UFOs and Elvis, authors and directors are creating a new mythology for the strip-mall, tract-house, cell-phone America of the new millennium.
One of the best-known and best writers of the new American mythology is Charlaine Harris. Dead to the World is the fourth novel in her Anthony Award-winning Southern Vampire series. It continues the story of psychic waitress Sookie Stackhouse, who has fallen out with her undead lover, Bill. Bill has no sooner departed for Peru, than Sookie finds the head vampire, Eric, running naked and terrified through the rural night. She helps Eric, and discovers his memory has been destroyed by a coven of unscrupulous, astonishingly powerful witches, newly arrived in her small Louisiana town, and offering a huge reward for Eric. Sookie tries to hide Eric, but her brother sees him–and immediately disappears. And Sookie finds herself caught in a war among witches, vampires, and werewolves.