First of all, I need to explain what steampunk as a genre is. After looking at several definitions on the web, I think that the editors of Wikipedia give the most complete definition:
"Steampunk is a sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction... Specifically, steampunk involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain—that incorporates prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy"
So with that definition in mind, I want to share with you my thoughts on Book 1 of The Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar.
Written by a husband and wife team, Clay and Susan Griffith, this alternative history of a Victorian world not only has vampires, but evil vampires.
So many of the vampire books that have been published in the last 10 years or so show a kinder, gentler vampire--vampires that readers see as friends, lovers and companions. Not only are the vampires enthralling and gorgeous, but benevolent in spite of their diet of (mostly) human blood. Vampires that in a sense strive to be as human as possible.
Not in the Vampire Empire. Vampires in this novel have taken over the Northern Hemisphere and have bred humans to satisfy their diet of human blood. These factory farmed humans have basically lost the will and desire to fight against their masters.
But all is not lost--free humanity has retreated to the Southern Hemisphere where the vampires can't maneuver in the heat and humidity.
Enter Princess Adele, heir to the Empire Equatoria, a vestige of the tropical British Empire. Adele is on a tour of the northern frontier (Marseilles, France) when her convoy is attacked and she is kidnapped by a vampire clan.
We then are introduced to a mysterious, valiant figure: the Greyfriar. Mythic in stories, this famous but reclusive vampire-hunter shows up to liberate the Princess. As Adele and the Greyfriar attempt to escape the vampire clans, Adele is intrigued by this legendary figure who she thought was a fairy tale. Although a vampire clan manages to re-capture Adele, she knows that the Greyfriar will come for her.
Untold horrors await Princess Adele when she is taken deep into vampire territory: bloody orgies and the blank stares of the human slave population.
Can Adele survive her kidnapping until the Greyfriar comes for her? The politics of both vampire and human empires are in flux, as forces strive to change the balance of power.
Who will emerge triumphant?
Stay tuned for book 2 which will be published November 2011.
I can't wait!