The Rift Walker is Clay and Susan Griffith’s anxiously awaited sequel to The Greyfriar. The Greyfriar was a wonderful start to the Vampire Empire trilogy and left me wondering if it was going to be a flash in the pan or if the authors were able to sustain the quality of the first book. The answer is an emphatic thumbs-up.
Princess Adele’s adventures continue as she is forced to deal with the conflict between the requirement of her royal rank to marry Senator Clark from the American Republic and the feelings she has for Gareth the vampire, also known as the heroic Greyfriar. In order to save her life, Adele is swept straight from her nuptial ceremony into Gareth’s arms. Unknown to Adele, elements of her own nation are willing to commit murder in order to maintain the status quo.
In the company of Gareth, Adele races across Africa, seeking allies to support her as she attempts to find her own path forward. Instead of simply agreeing to a scorched earth war against the Vampires, Adele wants to find a way to save those people who are presently enslaved. Add to the mix Adele’s growing talents for Geomancy, the ability to harness the energies of the Earth itself, and you have a compelling plot.
Clay and Susan Griffith’s broad range of supporting characters make The Rift Walker come to life. From Adele’s tutor and mentor, Memoru, to the noble Gurkha, Colonel Anhalt, there are a number of different personalities whose motivations are not always completely in line with Adele’s. Thus, she has to deal with more than just the bad guys.
The Rift Walker is a wonderful mix of alternate history, steampunk, and romance. The accurate historical fixtures with the inclusion of intricate paranormal details, such as the way the vampires monitor and react to the weather, make this world feel real.
The Rift Walker is a worthy addition to the Vampire Empire trilogy. Clay and Susan Griffith continue to write interesting characters and to keep the story full of action, adventure and excitement — the hallmarks of good fantasy. Add to this already quality mix a strong dose of political intrigue and good old-fashioned betrayal and treachery, and you have something wonderful. I can’t wait for the final Vampire Empire book.