In a word: beautiful.
Last year I was pleasantly surprised by Clay and Susan Griffith's novel debut The Greyfriar. It was the perfect mix of pulpy goodness, Steampunk ascetics, and bloody vampires. I thought so highly of it I named it as the runner-up best vampire read of 2010 after the epic that was The Passage. So the sequel The Rift Walker is high on my comfort to-read list this year. Here is the synopsis, but skip ahead if you haven't read The Greyfriar:
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 disarrray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, seizes the initiative and strikes at the very heart of Equatoria.The artist for the series so far is none other than Chris McGrath, who I felt was looking a bit same-y with his cover art recently, but this piece reminded me again why I was first attracted to his work. He has an ability to capture a scene and execute it perfectly.
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.
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