Princess Adele struggles with a life of marriage and obligation as her Equatorian Empire and their American Republic allies stand on the brink of war against the vampire clans of the north. However, the alliance’s horrific strategy for total victory drives Adele to abandon her duty and embark on a desperate quest to keep her nation from staining its hands with genocide. Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria.
As Adele labors to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. Her teacher, Mamoru, leads a secret cabal of geomancers who believe Adele is the one who can touch the vast power of the Earth that surges through ley lines and wells up at the rifts where the lines meet. These energies are the key to defeating the enemy of mankind, and if Princess Adele could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires. But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele’s beloved Greyfriar.
The Rift Walker is the 2nd book in the Vampire Empire series, and you may be a bit lost without reading the first, but they gave enough background within the text to be able to pick up and dive right in without having to re-read The Greyfriar. It is in a steampunk setting, but it’s not what drives the story. Adele is a strong female lead without being an annoying, over-powered, she-beast. On the other hand, she’s also not the bungling puddle of blood bait. The thing I liked most about Adele, she did what she thought was right, but she was still a woman who knew her place in the world: the future Empress. Greyfriar is a hero with secrets that may cost him his life. He’s a bit overshadowed by Adele in this book, but not completely castrated like I’ve seen done in other series. Clay and Susan walk a fine line of keeping them balanced within the series which they do admirably.
There are two love triangles in The Rift Walker. First the triangle is between Senator Clark who wants Adele for her claim to the Equatorian throne and Greyfriar he wants dead for upstaging him in Scotland. Adele needs Senator Clark for his American Alliance, but her heart belongs to Greyfriar. Greyfriar loves Adele, but wants to use Clark to get rid of the Vampire threat. The problem is, Clark isn’t about to back off of his claim to Adele which could set off a civil war. Second is the triangle of Allegiance to Adele. Greyfriar, Col. Anhalt and Mamoru are all devoted to Adele in their own way, but they must all learn to trust each other. It turns out that it’s not as easy as it sounds.
I loved The Rift Walker. Clay & Susan Griffith can tell a good story that includes an exciting, fast paced battle, political intrigue, tender romance with believable technology and paranormal aspects. The only thing I didn’t like about this story is that I have to wait for the next book to come out!
The Rift Walker