The second book in the Vampire Empire series.
Publication year: 2011
Running time: 13 hours, 35 minutes
Publisher: Buzzy Multimedia Publishing
Narrator: James Marsters
The book starts three months after the end of the previous book, Greyfriar.
Prince Gareth of the British Vampire Empire has returned home and is dealing with politics. Unlike all other vampires, Gareth is on the side of the humans and wants to stop his brother from ruling the whole world. Prince Cesare is forming an alliance with other vampire monarchs in order to destroy the Equatorian human empire which holds lands in the warm south. Gareth doesn’t like this alliance but he can’t stop it from forming. Then he hears that his love Princess Adele is in danger and he hurries to her side.
Princess Adele is the heir to the Equatorian Empire and the only hope of uniting her Empire with the American Republic. The American Senator Clark came to Alexandria to marry Adele and thus form a human alliance against the vampires. However, Adele has noticed that Clark is bloodthirsty bore; she doesn’t want to marry him, especially because her heart belongs to the Grayfriar. But she also knows her duty and has reluctantly agreed, even though she’s trying to postpone the wedding as long as she can. When she hears that Clark and her father the Emperor intend to start the war with a strike against the vampire’s food source, she tries to stop it. Killing thousands of humans just to deprive the vampires of food, is deeply wrong to her. But the men insist that it’s the logical way and too soon her wedding day arrives.
But during the wedding, Greyfriar appears and kidnaps Adele. She’s happy to abandon her duty and escapes with him, leaving Clark roaring after them. Adele and Grayfriar travel to Egypt in order to escape the imperial pursuers and in hopes of finding allies. They are also seeking a way to defeat the vampires which doesn’t involve killing a lot of humans.
This was again a fun and quick read, at times almost a melodramatic swashbuckling adventure. Adele and the Grayfriar have now become the romantic couple at the heart of humanity’s survival. The book is fast-paced and has some very interesting twists which I didn’t see coming.
However, the book has so flaws, too. I think that Grayfriar’s desire to protect humans is pretty strange. He isn’t human, after all. Also, both Adele and Grayfriar are characterized as good, or great, leaders and tacticians. Yet, when the tactics include each other, they fail. For example, at the start of the book, when he saves a whole town from slaughter at the hands of vampires, Grayfriar’s concerned that he doesn’t do enough for humans. Yet, when he hears that Adele is in danger, he drops everything to help her. He doesn’t give another thought to humans he’s supposed to be protecting. Adele’s powers are growing and she knows that she needs them in order to defend humans from vampires. Her Japanese teacher Mamuru teaches her to use her powers. Yet, when her growing powers start to cause Grayfriar pain, she just blithely decides not to train anymore which could mean that the next time she has to use her powers against the vampires, she could lose and every person dependent on her might die.
The book also had lots of stuff I enjoyed. The people have decided that Adele and Grayfriar are a romantic couple and they write penny dreadfuls and plays about them. They’re hilarious! There were also some delightful twists I didn’t see coming and by the end, the status quo has been changed which I enjoyed a lot. Clark is also an enjoyable antagonist although I can’t help thinking that sacrificing a lot of people is the way that real wars are fought (and won?). Prince Cesare reveals another tactic against the humans which I also liked.
Most of the secondary characters from the first book return and we’re also introduced to a bunch of new characters when Adele and Grayfriar travel to Africa. My favorite secondary characters are Mamuru and Colonel Anhalt who commands Adele’s personal guard. Both have strong convictions and aren’t afraid to stand behind them.
The book doesn’t end in a cliffhanger but the great confrontation between the two empires is clearly coming.