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Vampire Empire #1

The Greyfriar

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Rousing pulp action and steampunk come together in a heartbreaking story of high adventure and alternate history.

In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. 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. 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 first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

303 pages, Paperback

First published November 1, 2010

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About the author

Clay Griffith

109 books520 followers
Clay and Susan Griffith are the authors of THE FLASH: THE HAUNTING OF BARRY ALLEN and ARROW: A GENERATION OF VIPERS, as well as the creators of the VAMPIRE EMPIRE series and authors of the CROWN & KEY trilogy.

"Vampire Empire is transforming genre fiction." Paul Goat Allen, B&N Explorations.

If you're on Facebook, please think about going to www.facebook.com/vampireempire and clicking LIKE. If you done it already...Thank you.

Clay & Susan Griffith are a married couple who have written and published together for more than a decade. Their credits not only include two novels for Bantam Doubleday Dell in the mid-1990s and another novel for Pinnacle Entertainment Group in 2002 but also numerous short stories published in many anthologies, some featuring noted genre characters like Kolchak the Night Stalker and The Phantom. They've also written scripts for television and published graphic novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 820 reviews
Profile Image for Michelle, the Bookshelf Stalker.
596 reviews370 followers
February 21, 2011
Update- Book 2 is The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire, #2), it will come out in September 2011, Yeah!!!

Review is still below: :)

The rambling review of a book fanatic…

I finished the book and I hugged it. Yup, I’m gonna admit it. I hugged the book. It was THAT good. You are going to have many reviews for this book that will do an awesome job of detailing what the book is about and they will do a much better job of explaining the story. Therefore, I am going to do a funky bullet point list of what I loved about this book and what I did not like.
What I loved about this book:

• The characters- The book is full of them. These are not your superficial I’ll-put-you-in-to-take-up-pages characters but characters with meaning and a story behind each one. You have Princess Adele, the main character of the story. In addition to Adele, you have (and this is just a few of them) Greyfriar (but who is he really?), Clark- the American War Hero (again- who is he really?), Colonel Anhalt (I loved him- he is so sweet), Lord Kelvin (I think he will be big in book 2), Mamoru (such an interesting character), Selkirk, Simon and one of my favorite characters Flay. The characters are so well written, I was never confused. Trust me, that is saying plenty!

• The combining of genres- The book combines horror, romance, action, adventure, politics, war, steampunk, and satire with such ease that you don’t even realize you are reading a book outside your comfort zone because it blends so perfectly.

• The imagery- holy cow can the authors write (can you tell I cant!). The best I can do is give you an example-

“Adele saw dark mounds scattered on the avenues, streets, and alleys. A closer examination revealed that the mounds were piles of dead bodies. The city’s wide circles and narrow courtyards were heaped with bones. The turgid river Thames was at low tide and, as the airship skimmed over it, Adele saw white femurs and rib cages protruding from the muck along the shoreline. Nearly all the glass windows in the city were smashed, except amazingly, some of the stained glass of….”

• The vampires- These vampires are not your typical vampires. It would be easy to say they are vile, horrific, simplistic creatures that either destroyed or imprisoned most of the humans in the “Great Killing” of 1870 but that would be far from the truth. I cannot really explain the vampires since one of the rewards of reading the story is learning about the vampires as Adele does. Not everything is what it seems.

Ok, so I am going to stop now since as the top line states… I am rambling. I forgot to write about what I did not like about the book…. It ended.

Definitely my favorite book of 2010. A 6 star out of 5 (yup, I just wrote 6 out of 5).
Profile Image for Stacia (the 2010 club).
1,045 reviews3,955 followers
February 7, 2013
Soon he would have to reveal himself to her, and he knew what her reaction would be.
His numb heart broke at that realization.

What to say, what to say, what to say...

Swashbuckling Adventure! Political Intrigue! Forbidden Desire!

My apologies in advance for the sheer amount of quotes I'm saddling you with this time. I tried to cut back as much as possible, but I was so in love with the imagery through words in The Greyfriar that I had such a hard time choosing what to include and what to leave out. My absolute favorite quotes would have been spoilers so I had to sorrowfully (dramatic much?) leave those out.

I got so many warm fuzzies from this book and this isn't even a "warm fuzzy" kind of book. When blood is spurting everywhere and heads are-a-rolling, you'd think I would find no time to say things such as awww. But I did. And I think I said (or at least thought) it quite often.

You might ask - what kind of book is this exactly? Let's see if I can come up with an appropriate answer. The closest I could probably get to defining a genre would be something along the lines of Alternate History/Steampunk with aspects of horror, mystery, and traditional fantasy politicking. There is the potential for romance, but the connection between characters dances on a line of 'want what you can't have,' so my guess it that we'll have at least a book or two of heavy sexual tension before any deals are sealed on that front. The first half of this book read closer to a traditional fantasy. I was enthralled from the get-go (how can you go wrong with a kidnap scene thrown in almost right off the bat?), but a couple of my reading buddies took several chapters before they started to warm up to the story because of the heavy emphasis on wars, factions and racial politicking upfront. If you are the type to struggle with this sort of dry information dump, I'd ask you to consider giving the book at least a few chapters. There is something magical about the interaction between the Greyfriar and Adele which will suck you into the story.

Speaking of the Greyfriar and Adele... Is there ever a time in the history of ever when a mysterious masked man isn't intriguing and sexy? EVER? How could you not want to know who this person is? It's like V for Vendetta or Zorro all over again - JUST LET US LOOK BEHIND THE MASK!
"I wear a mask to hide my true self."

Plus, the man knows his way around a rapier (that's a special skinny sword-thing, not a bad sexual act). Yes, that would equal double swoon points.

But then, there's Gareth, the unusual vampire prince holding the princess hostage... He's taken a curious interest in Adele. What are his motives? Is he wanting to protect her or use her?

It's an interesting take on a vampiric world when you realize that the vampires are the ones holding most of the power. I was fascinated that they'd used brute force to make humans do all of their work, so that they had no use for knowledge of menial, everyday tasks. If the vampires needed something, they'd steal or force a human to make or get them what they needed. It was so extreme that their society had little use for even the written word or many necessities of human-kind.
"We use your clothes because your skin is too fragile to wear."

"Would it insult you if I used your alphabet? I don't think I could start from scratch."

Gareth and Adele's interactions were quite amusing. At times I felt like Adele was the teacher and Gareth was not much more than a child because his social graces were extremely lacking. I was almost vaguely reminded of Tarzan and Jane.
"Well, newborns could well nurse their mothers to death." Gareth waved a dismissive hand. "Things happen."

"Don't worry about the meat. It is cow. And some horse. That is acceptable to humans, yes?"
"Horse? No! Civilized people don't eat horses. We ride them. Oh God, have you fed me horse?"

Actually, horse can be considered a delicacy in many countries, which means that it might be viewed by some as food for civilized people. Not that I would know. I have yet to try horse and doubt I ever will.

I really wish there was a way to explain the way that I felt while reading The Greyfriar. Horse meat aside - it's almost as if I'd been snacking on books which weren't fully satisfying my hunger and then I stumbled upon one which satiated me.

The imagery was raw, gory and sometimes beautiful. You felt like you were dropped right there in the middle of a scene.
The palace's decrepit decorations were overwhelmed by piles of bone and hundreds of skulls staring down from broken chandeliers. Vampires slouched along the walls, drunk with blood, sometimes with red hands resting on humans who still showed signs of life.

And did I say there were humorous moments too?
"I'm sorry, but watching a vampire talk politics is like putting a gown on an ape and calling it a duchess."

This book might not be for everyone, but I loved it.
His whole species was damned, but he didn't care.
He looked up, his breath a shuddering inhale. "I will always protect you."

Thanks Joan, Crystal, Rebecca and Amanda for the buddy read!
Profile Image for carol..
1,532 reviews7,856 followers
December 4, 2013

Would you like some wine with your pastiche?*

Soulless meets Beauty, shares meaningful whispers and lingering gazes, then elopes to The War of the Worlds, undoubtedly to spawn a trilogy (if they sell well).

Understand, I didn't mean to read this. But it was a recent monthly read, and I'm trying to be more open minded about urban fantasy. Why? Because I desperately want to believe in the worlds urban fantasy creates--if they weren't so glaringly awful at it.

This is not awful.

This is, however, fairly obvious.

The most interesting twist in this world is that the vampires came out of the shadows in 1870, slaughtering millions and overtaking most of the cooler zones of the world. (The Passage). Humanity retreated to the tropics and has slowly regrouped, rebuilding nations along the old lines of the British Protectorates, the USA, China and other various world-powers.

The humans are finally starting to feel ready to take the war back to the vampires, and a political alliance has been made with an arranged marriage between a British princess and an American Senator. As he heads to the Empire to seal the deal, the plucky Princess is riding a heavily fortified dirigible to northern fringe nations on a goodwill mission, and her younger brother is along for the ride. Like many heroines, she is Destined for Greater Things, but she has No Clue About her Special Powers (Winds of Fate). Vampires attack the dirigible, it crashes, and she quickly discovers she and her brother are the target of the attack. Shortly after, she meets the legendary Greyfriar, a semi-mythical mysterious figure who fights for humanity in the north (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Greyfriar safely gets her to a village and leaves.


I enjoyed the idea of vampires used in an apocalypse type scenario, and then smashing it into a steampunk novel. The lead heroine is specifically described as of a darker skin tone, taking after her Indian mother's side of the family. That's about the only multi-culti nod, but it could be a hint of more interesting development to come. As it is, it provides the reason she believes herself unattractive, and a potential for alienation from the court.

Otherwise, it was overly-burdened with unoriginal ideas. Although the reader is given a fair amount of background on the species difference of vampires, I still can't quite wrap my head around the visuals when the scenes focus on vampire-controlled cities.

Writing was acceptable, even above average in the UF field. I don't mean to damn it with faint praise; that's a compliment from me. While it didn't soar, neither did it annoy with redundant word choice or simplistic structure. The story is decently paced with action scenes described well. I suspect it will appeal to fans of the Parasol Protectorate. While romance is an important part of the story, it is developed slowly, which may appeal to some readers.

Three redundant stars.

*For reference, similar books and tropes have been provided in links.

Cross posted at http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...
Profile Image for Emma.
2,433 reviews828 followers
August 31, 2017
Absolutely loved it! Fabulous world building. I love the idea of a vampire empire, the characters were great. I don't normally read the books one after another in a series, but I plan to with this series as I am so invested!
Profile Image for Alexa.
481 reviews121 followers
August 19, 2015
This was unexpectedly good and I have to thank Sandra for recommending it time and time again.

So, what's so good about this one?

✔ Steampunk!

✔ A masked hero! Which in my head was some sort of crossover between Zorro and Dread Pirate Roberts (aka. Dreamy)

✔ A kickass princess.

✔ Some pretty awesome world building that included the creation of a new Empire around the tropical regions.

✔ A SLOW romance and zero insta-love. (Can't even explain how happy I am about this!)

Profile Image for Jess the Romanceaholic.
1,033 reviews468 followers
March 14, 2011
I swear I have no words, but dangit I'm going to try!

This book has a little bit of everything. There's steampunk, romance (the heartfelt kind, not the steamy kind), swashbuckling adventure, horror (complete with gore), politics, religion, family issues, intrigue, betrayal, all wrapped up int a giant ball of awesomeness.

What worked for me:

*The whole secret identity of Greyfriar. I actually had a hard time deciding who I liked better -- "Greyfriar" or his alter-ego, .

*The "sex talk" had me rolling, yet oddly disappointed that it wasn't discussed further :P I'm truly dying to learn more about the physiology and culture of the vampires. Which brings me to

*The vampires. I. LOVED. how they managed to put a new spin on the "same old same old" vampire stories. Some of our commonly accepted vampire lore is fact (such as vampires being able to fly), some is only based on fact (such as the idea of vampires being unable to tolerate sunlight -- this is true, only not because they turn to ash; rather because they simply function better in colder temperatures), and some is purely fiction (such as vampires not having a reflection in a mirror). It kept things fresh while still appealing to fans of the "original" vampire mythologies.

*The romance -- for once, I loved the fact that the "romance" wasn't in the forefront of the whole story. The Greyfriar is NOT about the blossoming affection between the hero and heroine, but rather is about this incredible world perched on the cusp of a terrible war, the nasty politics and prejudices boiling behind the scenes, and a small resistance desperately trying to set things straight. And yet, even with all of that, the romance felt REAL -- it was a slow build of affection, set back by betrayal and mistrust, but ultimately culminating in a love (rather than lust and chemistry) that I as a reader could actually feel.

*I love the cats. :D

*I really enjoyed watching Adele mature throughout the story, as her prejudices and preconceptions were constantly both reaffirmed and destroyed.

*I admit, I like Flay, despite the fact she's one of The Bad Guys.

*The "Steampunk" elements felt natural rather than being forced or simply used as window dressing to ride the wave of popularity that the genre is currently enjoying. It wasn't the "Victorian England only with automata and aviator goggles" feel that a lot of steampunk has -- this is a war-ravaged people with a whole different set of technology. Yes, there's steam engines, and yes there are airships (and even goggles lol) but there's also a strong emphasis on chemical weapons rather than clockwork. It's a VERY refreshing twist to the genre.

*I also liked that even though this is OBVIOUSLY the setup for a series, it didn't feel bogged down with all the extra baggage that typically comes with pilot novels, AND more importantly, it ended at a satisfactory place. Yes, I will preorder the next novel just as soon as it becomes available to do so. However, I'm not left screaming my dismay at even a partial cliff-hanger ending, which is nice.

What didn't work for me:

*The fact that the rest of the series isn't out yet! GAH!

*The writing got a little odd at times.. Not "bad", just.. odd.. It was in third person, so it would refer to Adele by her name (as in, "Adele walked to the window."), but then it would turn around and refer to her as "the princess" or "the young woman" or whatever, which got a bit confusing at times.

*The price. $10 on kindle is outside of my normal purchase range -- as a matter of principal I tend to stick to my $6.99 price points unless it's an author that I've read and enjoyed previously. All I can say is THANK HEAVENS FOR AMAZON GIFT CARDS because that's the only reason I bit the bullet on this one and trust me, this is one purchase I can honestly say is worth the extra.

Overall? This one gets the honor of going on my Yes It's Really THAT Good shelf -- I would give this one WAY more than 5 Stars if it was possible.

lol How's THAT for "having no words"?? :P
Profile Image for Mogsy (MMOGC).
2,028 reviews2,605 followers
July 3, 2015
Note: I received a review copy of this book compliments of the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinions. Thanks, Pyr/Prometheus Books!

Vampires and steampunk! The former, obviously, is a topic that's been wildly popular for years and years. The latter, as well, has been a subgenre gaining more traction in the science fiction and fantasy world lately, hence the fact that I would finally stumble across a book which unites both concepts in the foundation for its story was only a matter of time! What did strike me as a pleasant surprise, however, was finding a book that does this so well.

The Greyfriar is set in an alternate history in which humans and vampires have been locked in a bitter war for more than a century. In 1870, the blood drinkers rose up to conquer the northern lands, driving the humans towards warmer climes. Now, the young princess Adele of Equatoria is to wed the famed vampire hunter senator of the American Republic, their marriage to be the start of an alliance to take back their lands. But a month before the wedding, an ambush on the princess' airship throws all plans into turmoil. Adele's way home now involves a partnership with the Greyfriar, a semi-legendary figure who has become a symbol of humanity's fight against the vampires.

Notice I say "partnership with" and not "dependency upon", because as princesses go, Adele is far from your dainty damsel in distress and can most certainly hold her own. In this book, both the main protagonist and also the enemy vampire warchief are female characters one would not be wise to cross, as each woman has a commanding presence about them in their own way. With Adele, I loved her for her independence, intelligence, fighting skills, as well as for her protectiveness and love for her little brother. All the characters here are pretty well written, but it's extra nice having a heroine I genuinely like and enjoy reading about.

Still, while I'm steadfastly rooting for Adele, it's hard not to be drawn to the vampires as well, with their fascinating empire, politics, family conspiracies and infighting among their peerage. The vampires in this book are atypical enough not to bore me, with their strange biological quirks allowing their bodies to be lighter and to "float" in the air, and it amuses me to no end how disdainful they are of human myths like the ones claiming vampires to be their own dead risen to life. Their culture is well defined, like everything else in this book's world.

My favorite part, though, is the thread of romance woven through the second half of the book! Admittedly, as much as I enjoy love stories, romance in these types of books usually make me balk -- like, seriously, why spoil a perfectly awesome action adventure tale by forcing a contrived and cringe-worthy romantic side plot just for the sake of having it? And yet, the thing is, the love story in this book could not have been more natural and just...totally appropriate, like it belongs. I don't know what it is, but perhaps the fact that the authors are a married couple who have been writing and publishing together for years has something to do with it, because the attraction between Adele and Greyfriar felt passionate, gradual, sweet, real and -- most importantly -- earned. None of that insta-love nonsense.

Plus, no worries if romance isn't your thing; as I've said, it's not the dominant focus and does not overtake the entire story, and I liked how there were just as many if not more action-oriented battles and fight scenes in this book. In fact, my only wish is that the novel was better paced and balanced. After a very bombastic introduction, it wasn't until halfway through the book that my enthusiasm spiked again, but once it did, you can be sure I was completely enamored. I read the second half all in one sitting, and loved every minute of it.
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews710 followers
January 9, 2011
Here’s what the blurb on the back says,

“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 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 a 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 blurb did little to prepare me for the ride that I was about to take. OK. Hype, hype, hype. I know, but I think the book deserves all the hype it got when it was released. Here's why I think vampire lovers/ steampunk lovers/ YA lovers should read it (NOW):

Three words: Alternate. World. History.
Not enough? How about vampires… and not the sparkly kind either. They’re merciless and they’re in control. Enter Adele and the mysterious Greyfriar. It is impossible, impossible, I tell you, not to fall in love with the lot of them. The writing is superb so much so you just want to root for them, because you totally understand what they want and where they’re coming from.

So, merciless vampires meant action was a given… but the hints of romance were freaking KICK ASS!


Profile Image for Rebecca Crunden.
Author 17 books493 followers
Shelved as 'started-but-unfinished'
October 19, 2021
❧ audiobook review

A book about steampunk vampires, narrated by resident vampire Spike aka William the Bloody aka James Marsters? Sign. Me. Up.

Where has this fun tale been hiding, hmm? How serendipitous that I stumbled upon it randomly. I’m delighted I picked it up! Firstly, James Marsters is an excellent narrator! Perfectly suited to regaling us with steampunk vampire madness.

The characters in this are so well done and Marsters really brings the world to life. The world overrun by vampires is a terrifying one and the backstory of how everything unfolded is fascinating.

I also started shipping the Princess and Greyfriar from like minute one. But seriously, the dynamic that they have is great!

Final RTC.

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Profile Image for Gergana.
227 reviews391 followers
December 6, 2015
WOW! Starting from the gorgeous cover, the setting, the characters, the fights - this book is absolutely amazing! I honestly don't know how to write a review of The Greyfriar without spending hours praising its originality, world-building, character development and so on.

Imagine people on steam-powered ships fighting vampires in the air with some extra-cool gadgets that only human imagination can conceive. Or Vampires who can decrease their bodies' density so they can float on air and who have driven the Europeans out of their lands and made London into their main stronghold where humans are kept as cattle or used as servants since vampires are no good at~ GAH! I can't even write a cohesive sentence without sounding like a total fangirl. Oh! And let's not forget the flashy bearded Americans with the white cowboy hats, the "British" (here, known as Equatorians) and their obsession with etiquette, the world-wide politics, the kick-ass heroine who has her weaknesses and fears, but is brave and strong-minded nevertheless, the Vampire princes, did I mention the awesome plot twists in the beginning?

Dammit, ok, so, obviously, I liked it. But then, why am I not giving it a 5-stars rating? As much as I loved the whole idea of the book, there were a few major problems for me.

1. Sometimes it felt like I was reading two completely different books - one of them is this epic adventure of two future rulers trying to prevent war, while the second one was a very slow, kind of cute, romance that was just too...Ok, I liked it, but it felt like it was trying to keep me away from the better, more action-packed parts of the book. I couldn't wait for the - I hate/like/hate/love/hate/not sure/like/etc. you part to be over so I can get to the fun.



As a conclusion:
- This book is amazing!
- Audiobook is equally amazing! The narrator is absolutely brilliant, he even screams when he's supposed to (and managed to startle me a few times). He really puts a lot of skills and emotion in his performance and I would definitely recommend checking the Audiobook version!
- Will I read the sequels - yes, but not right away. Although I enjoyed it, I still feel there was something missing for me.

Profile Image for Ahimsa.
Author 24 books48 followers
April 23, 2015
This is a book with a lot of buzz and good reviews, and the novel has some nice things going for it. The pace is frenetic; the action starts in the first chapter and rarely tapers off. The setting is creative and it's fun to think about the world the Griffiths have created. Basing humanity in the tropics was a stroke of world-building genius. But there are significant problems with the setting, plot, and characters.
Character: The characters are really one-dimensional. Adele is yet another form of Mary-Sue, destined for greatness and possessing unexplained unique skills. The development of her feelings toward Greyfriar was clumsily handled. The Senator is a cartoon character, as are most of the vampires. Anhalt is almost interesting, but we know too little of his story. He'd be an interesting link to the repercussions of vampires in Nepal--the mountains must be full of them but the Terrai would presumably be hot enough for them to avoid.
Setting: According to their bio, the authors were married in Scotland, but it didn't feel they knew it well. The Edinburgh castle is on a large hill, which isn't mentioned. Was there a remnant of the royal mile? Could you see Arthur's Seat? Or the Firth? There are none of the details that make a setting feel real here.
Plot: The plot was basic and seemed like an adventure from Rifts, complete with ley-line walkers. The foreshadowing was overdone on certain plot twists and they were overly obvious long before the reveal. The fast pace helped make up for these deficiencies, but it doesn't excuse it.
Particularly in a post-Twilight world, a book with vampires that respect humanity has to recreate the legend a bit. And indeed most of the traditional vampire mythos was debunked. Vampires can cast reflections, but cannot turn into wolfs or bats. This makes it all the stranger that crosses and churches still had power over the undead. (Who aren't really undead in this rendering).
All in all, this is light enough to feel like a comic book or video game. It's entertaining enough to read, but I'm not compelled to ever read more of the series. The steampunk elements are lightly applied, and the vampire story isn’t very new or interesting.

Profile Image for harlequin {Stephanie}.
592 reviews28 followers
February 20, 2013
Love a book with a good strong name. The greyfriar, rolls off your tongue nicely doesn't it.

This is gonna be a short review. Hello? Five stars should speak for itself. I want to highlight a few key things that blew me away.

1: Not only is this a fantastical tale to work them poor missused brain muscles, but it is truly great literature. Not overly so. Will not bore you to tears. I promise.

2: I don't know about you, but I hate characters with no follow through. Authors have a tendancy to write characters that end up tooting their own horn or are all talk.

Love Gareth aka the Greyfriar. Not always hard for me to fall in love with the male lead character when I'm reading a book. The hard sell is always the female lead. They are never as strong as the writer portrays and they make stupid decisions.

Adele broke the habit. While the average tough female is saying, "I'm gonna mess you up". Adele walks past said female and proceeds to kick the ass of any baddie that stands in her way. She can also be very diplomatic when needed.

3: Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith wrote this series together. I am very fond of husband & wife writing teams. It blows me away what can come of two great minds coming together. I don't think this would have been half as fantastic as it is had it been writer singularly.

I can see a Mrs. Greyfriar in the future. Monsterzzz beware.
Profile Image for oliviasbooks.
774 reviews514 followers
March 28, 2011
What a potent mixture:
- An alternative history setting that has the human states and kingdoms huddled around the equator since the repelled-by-warmth vampire (homo nosferatii) clans crawled out of their hidden spots to initiate the Great Killing in 1870, leaving only enough human prey alive to keep as cattle herds.
- Steampunk elements like pneumatic sailboats cruising the skies that somehow underline both the excotic atmosphere of the strange British-Egyptian-Persian Empire and the war-and-power-crazy American States, who have dropped a little farther south on the globe (Who doesn't hate Senator Clark with all her heart? do I ask).
- Gruesome horror scenes provided by cold-blooded, underestimated, zombie-like vampire clans who can fly by changing their bodies' density and who swoop down onto their human cattle leaving the streets of former Europe littered with mountains of decaying flesh and carpets of crunched bones.
- Action, action, action: A fearless, faceless vampire hunter, a brave princess skilled in martial arts, armies, vampires ambushes, traitors ...
- Dangerous politics, weak kings, cunning planners, advisers who are to be trusted or not to be trusted, a vampires prince with a craving to be human and a vampire prince with a craving to rule the world.
- Predudices, conceit, sibling love, hope, the essence of being human.
- Subtly changing points of view.
- A but later started sweet, sparkling and heart-warming Beauty-and-the-Beast-worthy impossible romance between a dashing, idealistic, vulnerable hero with an aching heart and a strong-willed and lovely heroine, which even includes a library (of fifteen volumes).
- An ending of the sort which ties most of the lose strands but wets your mouth for more adventures to come.

What did I think? I thoroughly enjoyed it and I thought "What a potent mixture!" Didn't I say that already?

Note: Although the date on the cover says "It's now 2010" this is no science fiction story set in the future. Apart from the steampunk elements the alternative history novel could be set still in the Victorian Era.
Profile Image for Felicia.
Author 45 books128k followers
September 20, 2011
I enjoyed this book a lot, surprisingly, because I had no expectations and it's sat on my Kindle for a WHILE. I'm kinda OVER vampires, but this was a really interesting interpretation, with alt-historical-European history thrown in (written to be young adult friendly). I liked the old-fashioned quality of the writing, it felt like an early 20th century book, a bit fairy tale-ish, simple but compelling. I definitely will enjoy reading the next. I think the cover art doesn't sell the book the way that it reads just for the record!
Profile Image for Linda .
1,809 reviews255 followers
May 26, 2020
I am not sure why I enjoy some authors that write the steampunk genre and others I do not, but I found The Greyfriar was an interesting blend of family, an alternate reality and an unusual friendship. As in most first stories in a series, there was a heavy amount of time spent on introducing characters and building the storyline. I ran into some slow reading towards the beginning but once it took off, I was reading at a fast clip.

The Greyfriar was NOT a light story. The vampires were portrayed as animalistic killers. Humans were simply food.

I want to write this review without any spoilers. I enjoyed the Victorian vibe even though the year was 2020! Note: the story was published in 2010. I liked the odd friendship between Princess Adele and the Greyfriar and watching it evolve. After finishing the book, I immediately started The Rift Walker.
Profile Image for Alkyoni.
111 reviews168 followers
May 21, 2012

The airship that is carrying princess Adele, heir to the throne of the Equatorian Empire, is under attack. Colonel Anhalt is desperately trying to protect her but soon their ship crashes into the hostile vampire grounds and the young girl is separated from him. Thankfully Adele is not alone. A man who is considered to be a legend among her people comes to her rescue and so their journey together begins.

I must admit that the first chapters of the book were hard for me to follow. English is not my mother tongue so the descriptions of the airship, the clothes and the landscapes in a steampunk manner had me googling every second page.

Another thing that didn’t help in the early chapters was the frequent POV change between the characters. I wasn’t eager to leave the character in action only to follow another one that was concerned about court formalities.

However, it didn’t take long for everything to fall into place and for me to leave all my whining behind. I came to appreciate the vivid descriptions as well as the pages that the authors dedicated to the better understanding of each character.

I can't say much about Greyfriar, partly because I don't want to give away the plot and partly because my friend Anzu has claimed him as her own and I can't bring myself to stand in her way. I'll just say that he is one of the most beautifully portrayed characters that I've ever read about.

So is Princess Adele. She never forgets who she is or her responsibility towards her people, but at the same time she is kind, gentle and capable of putting a good fight of her own when needed.

There were parts in the story that these two reminded me of Beuaty and the Beast. That might be a little misleading, since Vampire Empire is not a romance, it's more like an adventure, but there is a hint in it and they do share some very sweet moments together.

I also loved Colonel Anhald, the dedicated officer who failed to protect his princess. I wanted to give him a hug and tell him that it will be ok, but from what I understand his kind of soldier is not the hugging type. Oh, well...

Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,988 reviews195 followers
September 24, 2013
The human world has been nearly destroyed by a great vampire killing war. Humans are living in small closed communities along the equator. A princess from one of the larger settlements is to marry the Butcher an American Vampire Hunter to unite the two nations into one giant campaign to end the Vampires world dominance. Her visit to neighboring towns goes terribly wrong when her ships are attacked and she is taken hostage. Greyfrair, a legend among humans tries to save her and the empires future heir. He is a mystery always covered, a great swordsman, nobody knows his true identity. Their path curves and twists going deep into the politics and horrors of state of the world.
i loved every page, I was swept away into this world the authors created. They created a very visual world, detailed and flowing beautifully. The characters where believable and reacted in a realistic way to their environments. The Vampires are nasty, not human at all, no sparkles. It is book 1 in a Trilogy. I can't wait for the next book !
Profile Image for Mad Scientist.
135 reviews30 followers
April 14, 2011
Review appearing at Steampunkery & Book Reviews http://madsteampunkery.blogspot.com

Concoction of a Review:
This was a great ride – not your average ordinary bland bandwagon vampire novel. I wanted to read it fast because it was so good and slow because I didn’t want it to end. When Greyfrair finally did come to an end I was full of emotion for this book that once I read the last word I literally hugged the book. For the Mad Scientist this book was that good. No, it was an amazing string of words that needs to be put on a silver platter!

Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar is quite a book that is made by twisting and welding together Steampunkery, a dash of horror, whipped with major action and adventure, if that were not enough lets top it off with slight romance with a side of politics and of course some bloody war. Really, what in the world is this book missing. Not a thing!

However, this book was not good just because it was the ultimate at combining genres. Clay and Susan Griffith have a gift for providing the most wonderful words together to bring you right into the book. The images that were tossing about in my head were bold and full which had me thinking I was really along for the ride. Not only did the imagery of the world blow me away but the fight scenes had me all up in a huff of excitement! I wanted to grab a sword and a hero and jump into the fight!

The Northern Hemisphere was attacked in 1870, nearly killing and destroying what we know to be the Western Civilization. The Great Killing.

Princess Adele, the heir of Equatoria is due to wed a renowned vampire killer, Senator Clark, and united her Empire with America. This arrangement now poses a threat to the vampires that live in the northern areas of the world. Adele and her younger brother Simon are on their way to northern territories for political matters in Marseilles when their dirigible is intercepted by a larger than normal ban of vampires lead by Flay. She is warrior vampress that follows orders from her master, Cesare the youngest son of King Dimitry. He is known for mass killing of humans. Now the heir of Equatoria, Adele, is running from… Flay. These vampires are parasitic with very powerful physical characteristics whom roam freely in the colder areas, feedlot humans for dinner, and terrorize others so they are afraid of being enslaved by them.

*Damsel in distress announces the entrance of said hero.*

The Greyfriar swoops in to save her. I fell in love with him as soon as he pulled out all of these weapons and started hacking up the vampires on top of him in a gory morbid way. *sigh* It is also quite a shock because The Greyfriar is a man whose stories of heroism and acts of battle are all thought to be fables. He ended up being this strong yet mysterious man who drew in not only me but our lovely Adele as well. (I should mention that she is crafty with a weapon as well!) Ultimately is kidnapped… ah, heiress-napped albeit her best efforts of flight and the efforts of her masked mystery fighter, by Flay who brings her to England for Cesare.

Enter… Gareth, the oldest son and heir to the Vampire Empire once King Dimitry leaves this world. He lives in Scotland away from his role of heir to the supposed throne. He pulls the heir card and takes Adele away from Cesare’s hand. He starts to learn more about “human” culture through Adele. I found myself chuckling when he was learning to write.

There is one huge shocking twist to this tale that had me and probably most of the readers a bit shocked when it was revealed. It is something that makes this story just that more incredible. I urge you to read this one because if you don’t you are missing out, *wink*.

The growth and development between Adele and Greyfriar was utterly touching, it had me dabbing a small tear away. Their emotions gradual grew to make it all that more believable. She was strong and held herself up to her values. He showed her that not all things you are taught are always right. She learned to trust another. The tender relationship between these two was very pleasing.

Overall, Loved Loved Loved Vampire Empire: The Greyfriar. Tis was truly a grand tale of vampires and humans that was packed full of action right from chapter 1! I am going to be waiting for Book Two... Wait! I am already waiting for Book Two, from the minute this book ended!

*Thanks to the wonderful people behind PYR I received a copy of this fabulous Steampunkery novel. However, this has not affected my actions, feelings, or review of this book.*
Profile Image for Sharon.
505 reviews258 followers
October 1, 2017
Really wished I liked this. The plot was kinda interesting, but slow. I would have liked more stuff to happen.

Why are there only like 2 female characters in this book? Adele is OK. Not great, not bad. But...
Why does the only OTHER female character (Flay) have to be promoting female rivalry and jealousy?
Thus, no female friendship/companionship in this book.

Like here we have this badass girl. She's captain of the military, great fighter, super ambitious, and despite her being a "commoner," she rose to this station and career. I mean I know she's supposed to be the villain, but even villains can be admirable. I wanted to understand her as a villain. But NOPE. It was ruined because all of that was pretty much negated by her need for Gareth (to be both her king and her lover). I felt like she could've been a great character, if her character wasn't so OBSESSED with Gareth. Like damn can she not?

Also, I feel like it was a bit sudden for me to dive into the syrup-y romance when one of the beginning-middle scenes, Gareth (the main guy) was contemplating on accepting Flay's offer where she'll help him become king with the implicit offer of being his sexual partner. Like, he was so close to saying yes (but didn't because she accidentally said the wrong thing), and then, few chapters later, he's protecting Adele, and they're on their way to their full-fledged, cheesy romance. Not that Adele have any claim on him, but it was hard for me to enjoy the romance with this weird transition.

Gareth has the potential of being a deep, thoughtful character. I mean he has dual sides, and he has a good heart. He fights against his own kind to protect the humans in the world, which is crazy and amazing. However, I can't seem to connect to his character fully. I wanted him to be a little less... dry. He's a character who should have felt 3-dimensional but ended up feeling 1-dimensional. Hhmm..

Anyway, the politics were kinda interesting, but the pacing was weird, so I found myself enjoying it less.

So I'm giving this 2 stars.

Also-also, Colonel Anhalt is the best. <3

Things that you might want to know (WARNING: Spoilers below)
Is there a happy/satisfying ending?
What age level would be appropriate?
Profile Image for Crystal.
263 reviews
February 7, 2013
I feel like I've read so many different takes on vampires – pretty ones, sparkly ones, scary ones, ugly ones, heroic ones, gruesome ones etc. There are so many out there that sometimes I forget the acute differences or which particular vampire society I’m currently reading about. Besides Eric the Viking – my all-time favourite vampire, I’ve come to realise that I do prefer my vampires to be the broody, dark, mysterious and slightly evil ones which Greyfriar delivered.

The vampires in Greyfriar stand out to me amongst the huge collection of fictional vampires that exist. Are they good or evil? A little of both. Are they redeemable? Probably not. They have their own agendas and political system and are much more complex and interesting than they first appear. They are an original take in an overpopulated world of vampires. I’m very intrigued to discover what the future holds for both the vampire and human populations in this world.

The imagery created in the book was really intense. The floating airships, the rotting, decaying corpses that littered the streets of London and the Dracula-type cold, dark hallways and opulent rooms of Gareth’s castle were very vivid in my mind. I could picture exactly what they looked like and even what the cities must have smelt like. The action and fight scenes were awesome and well-paced, I often felt like I was experiencing and surviving the battles right alongside Adele.

This is my first steampunk novel so I don’t have much to compare it to. I did enjoy the aspects – the clothing, language and technology. These are the things that stood out to me as the most obvious signs of the steampunk genre. The technology and political landscape of this world was overly descriptive and informative at times but this is not unusual for a first book in a series.

There is also a potentially beautiful but slow building and subtle relationship which develops in this book. I look forward to watching it progress. Overall I found this book very entertaining and a great start to a series. I certainly plan on reading the next book.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews613 followers
October 26, 2010
Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

I was blindsided by how phenomenal THE GREYFRIAR was from start to finish. Amazing vampire mythology, a chilling alternate history, and a poignant romance that grips your whole heart and refuses to let go.

Imagine a world where vampires have decimated the population on nearly every continent for the past century, where the remnants of humanity have fled to the warmest parts of the earth and attempted to rebuild society, where the humans who didn’t escape (and those who are captured during raids) live as cattle. Welcome to the Vampire Empire.

The vampires in THE GREYFRIAR are frighteningly fascinating. Cunning and merciless, they view humanity much the same way we would a hive a bees: useful yet bothersome, and ultimately expendable. They have a complex political structure steeped in tradition and social pedigree. They are preternaturally strong and, among other abilities, they can control their density enabling them to ‘fly’ along wind currents.

As rich and absorbing as the vampire empire is, the heart of THE GREYFRIAR was the blossoming romance that grew between Adele and Greyfriar amidst the war between humans and vampires. It was moving and heartbreaking at every turn. She duty bound and promised to another man, he torn between family loyalty and the woman he desperately wants to understand.

I’m amazed that a story as epic and lavish as THE GREYFRIAR comes in at just over 300 pages. That’s a testament to writing ability of husband and wife duo Clay and Susan Griffith who wasted not one word in their superb vampire steampunk novel. The action is exhilarating, the vampires are refreshingly sinister, and the love story a gentle force so captivating that I truly believe it will weather even the most daunting obstacles. Book two in the Vampire Empire can’t come soon enough.

Sexual Content: Kissing.
Profile Image for Anne.
3,917 reviews69.3k followers
September 25, 2011
Looking at all of the absolutely glowing reviews of Greyfriar I feel like I'm definitely in the minority, but the story didn't grab me enough to give it 4 stars. I did enjoy reading it, and I liked the unique alternate world that the authors created.
Buuuuut... I just couldn't bring myself to really care about the characters until the book was almost over.

Greyfriar isn't a romance, but there is nice slow burn love story woven throughout it. It was pretty well done, and probably what helped me finally connect with the characters at the end. However,

I'm willing to give this series another shot, but if I still feel lukewarm about it after the next book, then I'm done.
Profile Image for Lady Heather .
1,292 reviews692 followers
December 28, 2012

I really enjoyed this story!

This is the first book in the 'Greyfriar' Trilogy.

The story takes place 150 years after 'The Killing'. A time when the Vampires have come out of hiding, and take over the world. Humans have either escaped to other organized human settlements (in the south), or became 'blood slaves' to the Vampires (in the north).

The Vampires in 'this world' are viscous & merciless, and think nothing of the humans except as a source of food.

The characters and world building in this story are AMAZING!

Adele and Gareth relationship goes through many phases, which ultimately leads to one of absolute trust.
I LOVED that they were mortal enemies, and that they have responsibilities, and duties... and yet they still found love. *sigh*


I was quite impressed with this story, and look forward to reading what's going to happen next to Adele, Gareth, Caesar, and Senator Clark.

Profile Image for Elaine Howlin.
269 reviews164 followers
November 25, 2018
I expected this to be more urban fantasy but it leant closer to PNR.
The world building is very heavy in the beginning, it takes awhile for the story to get going. It's pretty good after that.

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Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews546 followers
May 19, 2011
Quick & Dirty: This remarkable adventure hits all the right points. With complex and riveting characters and a captivating plot, this deeply emotional story is sure to win readers’ hearts.

Opening Sentence: Your Highness would be safer below.

The Review:

Princess Adele is the heir to the Equatoria Empire. Adele is betrothed to the egomaniacal Senator Clark, ruler of the American Empire. The merging of these two vast empires will be a formidable foe for the insatiable vampires who rome freely over the Northern Lands. Destroying anything and everything in their path, the vampire clans are looking to gain more power and more land. The Greyfriar is a thing of legend. A fable told to empower humans in their fight against the vengeful and vicious vampires. The Greyfriar is a brave hero, risking life and limb to slaughter as many evil vampires as he can, stopping at nothing to defend Princess Adele. Shunning his duties and stepping back from political machinations, Lord Gareth, heir to the Vampire Empire, chooses a different path entirely. His younger brother, Cesare, ever the power hungry and gruesome master has designs on his brother’s throne. As matters intensify, the vampires and humans are preparing for another battle. War is coming! Who will emerge victorious in this deadly Game of Thrones?

The Greyfriar is a wonderfully crafted story set in a world that will leave you breathless. The vampire mythology is truly unique and such a wonderful surprise. I don’t think that I will ever be able to forget the way in which vampires are portrayed. The vampires in this story are truly frightening. It reminds me a lot of how vampires are portrayed in 30 Days of Night. The vampires are cunning, cold, calculating, skilled in combat, feral and ruthless predators. They strike without warning. Delivering devastating blows and impressive kills, it’s easy to understand the anxiety that humans feel at the mere mention of a vampire.

One of the things that most surprised me was how deeply emotional this story is. I enjoyed getting to know Princess Adele. She’s a fabulous and charming heroine. I didn’t like Adele merely because she is strong and kicks a lot of butt. I liked Adele’s unwavering humanity and compassion, which is often forgotten in grave times. Despite her station, Adele remained selfless, grounded and gracious. She genuinely cares for others and is willing to make sacrifices for her people.

I can’t talk too much about The Greyfriar himself without spoiling something, so he must remain shrouded in mystery. I was completely shocked when he dropped the identity bomb on me. He’s a loyal and fierce warrior full of surprises. As for Adele and Lord Gareth, I’m hopeful that things will work in their favor. The connection that these two characters share is beautiful. Their shared conflicts are tragic and the obstacles in their path are daunting. Loyalties will surely be tested, and some alliances may prove to be deadly. The only real question is — how will the empires survive the fallout?

The Greyfriar has it all. This story has intense action, strong and intriguing characters, marvelous characterizations, fantastic worldbuilding, and powerful emotion, which amounts to a passionate and thrilling adventure that won’t soon be forgotten.

Overall, Clay and Susan Griffith have created a memorable story that will keep you riveted from start to finish. Treachery, action and intrigue are masterfully woven throughout the story, leaving your heart racing and your pulse pounding. The Greyfriar is adventurous, highly entertaining, dangerous, captivating, but most of all — unforgettable.

Notable Scene:

In that split second, Flay fell on the swordsman like a hawk. The two became a blur of arms, steel, and teeth. Flay surged, fell back, and surged again. Greyfriar dropped the wide-bladed scimitar and worked the tip of the rapier. His blade was a blur, and its sharp hiss filled the air, competing with Flay’s own snarling.

The war chief parried with her claws, taking awful gashes across her hands but blocking Greyfriar’s killing strikes each time. The need to spill blood surged through her. This was the moment she’d waited for, the moment when she could kill the Greyfriar and feed on him. But she knew she could not. The princess was her charge. The princess mattered. And the princess had fled.

Despite Flay’s need to kill this man, he was merely an impediment preventing her from going after Cesare’s vanishing prize. He seemed to know it and revel in his ability to delay her. Flay tried to slither past in a swift shadow, but he blocked her with a skill and agility that was extraordinary for a human. Each passing second carried the princess away into the chaos of London. The desperate vampire lifted herself only to feel Greyfriar’s grip on her ankle. She kicked him across the face, but his steel grasp refused to lessen.

Enough, Flay thought. I have no time to duel this lucky wretch. The war chief threw back her head and screeched. Greyfriar flinched at the sound. Within seconds, the alley began to fill with vampires. Some responded to the old war call. Others were merely drunk and hoping for some bloody street burlesque. The sight of a human and a vampire battle sparked an instinct that presses them onto the swordsman.

A flood of bodies tumbled into Greyfriar. Their claws and teeth ripped into him while he strained to hold Flay’s ankle. She took hold of an iron fixture high on the wall and pulled with all her strength. His fingers slipped from her foot and, through a web of arms and legs, he saw Flay rising into the sky.

The Vampire Empire:

1. The Greyfriar

2. The Rift Walker

FTC Advisory: I purchased a copy of this book. In addition, I don’t receive affiliate fees for anything purchased via links from my site.
Profile Image for Mrs. Badass.
566 reviews225 followers
December 30, 2010
Hm. 3.5/5 but I'm rounding up to 4 stars.

I loved the cats!!

The world was interesting, and I enjoyed the take on history, vampires, and the technology humans had to re-create after the great killing in 1850ish.

I enjoyed the characters, Adele, the Heroine was strong, capable, and an intriguing woman. She has a quiet inner strength I admired, and I liked how she grew throughout the book.

Greyfriar was awesome. Sure he's a bit cliche albeit a cross between Zorro and robin hood, but I liked him, and his secret life.

The political ramifications were cool and interesting. As were the steampunk elements. They were well done, without being in your face and all Whoohoo I'm a steampunk Novel!

Senator Clark... I'm not entirely sure I like him ;) He is the Heroine Adele's intended. She has never met him, only heard tales of his American Vampire Kills, and as part of the politics to unite the two empires, her father arranged the marriage. He could care less about her, only ruling the massive empire.

The vampires were pretty darn awesome. Flay was ruthlessly vicious and cool.

Overall, it was pretty good. I did have an issue with some of the wording the authors used, they seemed to change names a lot. It was written in third person, so sometimes they would refer to Adele as Adele, then in the next paragraph as the princess, or the girl, the young woman etc. It was confusing and I wished they had just stayed with Adele.

Profile Image for Andy.
420 reviews67 followers
June 7, 2014
Prolly better than a 2* star rating but not really my genre so it gets 2.5 rounded down.

Whats it about then?

Girl Human meets Boy Vampire = Forbidden Love. The End....

It starts of well, with the premise of fallen empires, now overrun by vampires with the remnants of the great empires residing in their former colonial lands about the equator. The main empires being the British, run by world WWI style generals & the Americans led by General George Custer lookalikes which is all good, they said Steampunk...... sorry none here move along as a dirigible or two doesn't count in my book. Its an adventure tale for the first half, which is very PG rated but otherwise ok & then the R word takes over for the 2nd half & thats it really..... Oh there's cats too & they're all called "Pet", mind there all from Oop North so thats ok isn't it!
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