I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
in Paperback edition on September 20, 2011 and has 399 pages.
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Second in the Vampire Empire steampunk series for young adults that is an alternate reality with war between vampires and humans.
This was much better than the writing in Greyfriar and I’m anxious to read what happens next in Kingmakers. Still lots of action with quite the melodramatic touch with betrayals galore. Although, I really don’t understand how the Griffiths reconcile the Equatorians not wanting war and hating Clark with forcing Adele to marry the jerk so they can go to war. I am so confused.
As for my reactions to actions within the story:
Gareth/Greyfriar is amazingly innocent as far as politics is concerned.
I did love how upset Clark gets! Even if he did have so much more coming to him!
In some respects, I think that the betrayals in Alexandria will be good for Adele. Cleaning out some old, fossilized wood.
I have a hard time believing that Mamoru can be so prejudiced and closeminded.
Oh, yeah, I did love the dramatic entrance that Adele makes into Alexandria with the Greyfriar!
The story introduces us to the Greyfriar, the saviour of mankind. And a vampire. It also slides us into the dramatic view that the people of Alexandria have of the man who saved their beloved princess.
Unfortunately, it’s only the people of Alexandria who love her. Her father, his government, the powers-that-be refuse to acknowledge that she has knowledge about the vampires that is important to their war planning. They treat her like a mindless idiot and have no respect for her. And they intend to force her into this marriage with the obnoxious Clark who believes he will be the emperor.
Only Cesare has other plans for Adele and Clark’s wedding day. Plans the Greyfriar will thwart, but which will have enormous consequences for Adele’s family and her country.
Meanwhile, it’s an escape down the Nile by dahabiya, an air ship to a potential ally, and a jungle trek to war before Adele can consider home.
Princess Adele is safe back in Alexandria where her father, Emperor Constantine II, reigns. And she’s missing Greyfriar even as she tries to avoid marriage to Senator Miles Clark, the hero of America. I think his public relations people are more responsible for that reputation. He’s certainly a major jerk with no manners and no consideration for others. Major Stoddard is his second-in-command and he hates Clark. Colonel Mehmet Anhalt, a Ghurka, is in command of her White Guard, her household troops. Prince Simon is her younger brother and heir to the throne after Adele.
The Greyfriar is a Robin Hood who rescues humans from their conquerors, the vampires. His real life identity is Prince Gareth, the vampire heir to King Dimitri‘s throne, the ruler of conquered England. Gareth’s territory is Scotland where he and Baudoin, his vampire servant, are the only vampires and he cares for the humans there.
Prince Cesare is his younger brother and a scheming, conniving vampire who lives to destroy whether it’s humanity or his father. Flay is his out-of-favor war chief. General Montrose is a human and commands Cesare’s Undead army. Lady Hallow now works for Cesare and was once with Gareth. She will coordinate the allied effort. Cesare is working on an alliance with King Ashkenazy of Budapest, King Draken of Munich, and Queen Fen of New York (she despises Cesare and hungers for Gareth).
Mamoru is the mystical samurai who has been teaching Adele how to fight, how to access her abilities as part of a promise to her mother. He is part of a small group who have designs on using Adele. Sir Godfrey Randolph is a fellow member and a surgeon who has written several books including the Treatise on Homo Nosferatii which is one of Gareth’s most treasured books. Nzingu and Sanah are women members. Mamoru also runs a spy network Kelvin would love to get his hands on; Selkirk is one of Mamoru’s spies and a geomancer assigned to map the leylines of the British Isles.
Trellech and Hawkshaw are two of the ley-protected villages in Britain where Selkirk can find allies including Reverend Richard Goronwy. A man with some deep, dark secrets who is also known as the Doctor of Comparative Spirituality. Whatever helps your conscience, I guess.
Captain Eskandari leads the Imperial Marines. Lord Kelvin is the prime minister who is hungry for power and running the empire to his ideals. The wealthy Lord Aden (Laurence Randolph) is a co-conspirator. Captain Hariri is a renegade whom Anhalt seeks.
King Msiri rules Katanga from his capital of Bunia and is independent of Alexandria. General Ngongo is an old friend of Anhalt’s. Msiri’s mother is a geomancer and seer. Jaga leads the ndoki vampires who torment Msiri’s people.
The Undead are humans who believe the myth that Cesare promotes, that when they die they will rise up again as vampires.
The Cover and Title
The cover finds Princess Adele lying down, asleep or wounded, in a crypt with the Greyfriar staring down at her. The slab on which she’s lying is covered in rich fabrics as she is while Gareth, as the Greyfriar, wears his goggles pushed up on his forehead, a military jacket, and the fabric that normally swaths his head around his shoulders. It looks like flower petals or butterflies floating in the air. The background is the stone that makes up the walls and the arched opening to the wide stairway leading upwards.
The title refers to Adele’s growing ability as a Rift Walker.