Title: Vampire Empire Book One: The Greyfriar
Author: Clay & Susan Griffith
May Contain Spoilers
In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once great cities were shrouded by the grey empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.
It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming.
Princess Adele is heir to the Empire of Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is The Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.
The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, The Greyfriar brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.
The Greyfriar is a very fun book, and once I picked it up, it was very difficult to put it back down again. With a full cast of compelling characters, there is a lot going on as the humans and the vampires battle it out for world domination. After a horrible plague of vampires sweeps over the northern regions of the world, life has become a struggle that the humans can’t afford to lose. Fleeing to the south because of the vampires’ inability to tolerate the heat, the nations of the world have fought hard to find prosperity and security from their vampire adversaries. The human nations have been rebuilt in a world very different from our own.
Princess Adele is soon to be wed to the brash Senator Clark, in a union that will bring the Empire of Equatoria and America together. With the strength of both of their armies working in unison, the nations should be able to end the vampire threat forever. Too bad the vampires aren’t so willing to allow the wedding to take place. After kidnapping Adele, the plans of human domination are threatened. As Adele struggles to survive, and Clark battles to free her, the dark plans of Cesare, a vampire prince, are put in motion. Will the vampires bring the humans to their knees?
I loved the setting, and found this alternate future Earth fascinating. And deadly. The vampires in The Greyfriar are brutal and dangerous, and they only see humans as cattle to feed their appetite for blood. Humans travel in air ships and battle their vampire enemies with blades and firearms, struggling to keep control of their hard won territories. The humans have painstakingly rebuilt their cities in the south, but the threat that the vampires will launch a campaign against them hangs constantly over their heads. In an effort to make the first strike, the two strongest nations plan to join forces.
Adele is one tough princess! She holds her own in a fight, but when sheer numbers overwhelm her small contingent, she is captured by a scary, scary vampire. Then only her wits see her through her ordeal. I liked that Adele didn’t turn into a cowering captive once Cesare got his grubby claws on her. She knows her duty and she is determined to live long enough to carry them out. Once she and Clark are married, the joint forces from Equatoria and America will be hard for the vampires to fight off. Even though she’s terrified on the inside, she is valiant and brave on the outside. Just my kind of heroine!
Adele gets a little help from the mysterious Greyfriar, a rebel who battles vampires within their own lands. The attraction between Adele and the Greyfriar is instant and intense. As they fight to escape the vampires, they also try to resist their feelings for each other. When Adele learns the Greyfriar’s secret, their friendship is tested to the extreme. I was a little disappointed with Adele for her reaction to the man who risked so much to help her, but given her circumstances, I could at least understand her feelings. She needed to mature, and her conflict with the Greyfriar gave her the much needed impetuous to achieve this.
Senator Clark. You I didn’t care for. At. All. Pompous, abrasive, annoying, I am embarrassed to admit that I was hoping the vampires would put an end to your obnoxious presence. How can this braggart ever be a world leader? How can Adele ever marry him? Ah, that’s a relationship to watch in the next installment of the series.
For a rollicking read, look no further than The Greyfriar. It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it flies by. I can hardly wait for the next book in the series. And, oh, that cover is to die for!
Review copy provided by publisher