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Review and Giveaway: The Greyfriar by Clay Griffith and Susan Griffith

Submitted by Doll Suz on July 8, 2011 – 8:42 am57 Comments

Book: The Greyfriar
Release: November 10, 2010
Series: Vampire Empire 1
Reviewer: Suz
Source: Personal Library
Purchase: – Book Depository

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 of 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 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 Greyfriar: Vampire Empire is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, The Greyfriar brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

In the late 1800s the vampires, previously believed to be nothing more than fictional fancy, rose up in savage masses and turned against humanity; driving them south to the warmer climates that were intolerable for vampires.  They then proceeded to occupy and rule the northern lands and those humans who did not escape to the south became the vampire’s subjugated herds.  The escaped humans abandoned magic and faith for technology; and steam, steel, and chemicals became the acceptable future of humanity.  Borders shifted, political systems rose and fell, the world changed irrevocably and three major powers of the human world rose: Equatoria, the Americas, and the Asias.  The vampires are divided into clans that control differing territories of the north.  While these new powers arose so, too, did new myths and legends of heroes and saviors.

More than one hundred and fifty years later and the human empire of Equatoria wishes to forge an alliance with the human Americas for the specific purpose of taking a final, genocidal war to the savage bruts of the vampire north.  This alliance is to be forged by the marriage of Princess Adele, heir apparent to the Equatorium Empire, and Senator Clark, vampire killing hero of the Americas, who have never seen each other.  But while negotiations are being finalized the princess’s touring fleet of airships is set upon by a vampire horde and she is taken hostage by the junior son of Britain’s vampire clan king.  This is how she meets the masked man previously believed to be myth, the Greyfriar.  He repeatedly appears when the Princess’s circumstances are most dire, fighting by her side with a level of skill never before seen in humans, and spiriting her away towards safety only to have her snatched back by vampiric claws.  Thus the stage is set for the first chapter of the Vampire Empire series.

The first half of the book is engaging enough but is obviously developing not only the story line for this book but also laying the lore and foundation for the entire series.  There is enough action even in the first half of the book to keep the reader engaged although the reader’s investment in the characters during this time is still tenuous.  We come to understand that the world is fraught with political intrigue.  The human political machines each have their own machinations and motivations.  We get a close glimpse of just how dangerous and repulsive life in the vampire north is.  The vampire clans are savage, brutal, destructive, and although they have their own traditions there is very much a “might is right” overtone to everything in that realm, and there is no shortage of political intrigue amongst them.  Even the human magical and spiritual communities, much maligned and scorned by human society at large, have their own agendas which they whisper to each other while meeting in long forgotten places.

Princess Adele is no wilting flower of a heroine, although most of her world sees her that way.  She is not seen as strong enough to hold the Empire and head a war, and therefore her marriage is being brokered to someone reputed to be a “strong leader.”  However, she has spent her life training in many topics and subjects and is much more adept than she is given credit for.  In her very first confrontation with attacking vampires she manages to kill one and blood a war chief who is renowned throughout the vampire world.  When the rubber hits the road she doesn’t flinch.  She takes her role as Heir to the Empire quite seriously and does not slouch her duties.  She is naive, and she is a bit blinded by her prejudices and preconceptions, but she is not weak nor is she stupid.  She is a heroine I both applauded and was frustrated with but at no time was I disgusted with her.  She is also an unwitting tool for several groups, but she has enough spine that I look forward to seeing how she handles this as the light is shined on said groups.  She has an undisclosed destiny that is shadowing her.

I understand why all the reviews I read of this book were so glowing. I too was immediately ready for the sequel as soon as I finished it.  It does feel as though the story has only begun in the last half of the book; and in the closing chapters the beginnings of a heart wrenching, self-sacrificing, impossible love is born.  There is no way I can tell you more about this budding relationship, because to do so will spoil too much.  There is a world war coming that could decimate, if not end, two species.  Powers previously lost are arising anew.  New levels of awareness and understanding are possible, but to what end?  Will this understand bring peace or further one side over the other?  How far is too far for duty?

I feel as though I’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg and I want to take a pick axe to the ice to find the rest of this story.  Fortunately, the story continues with The Rift Walker, due to release on September 20th, 2011 from Prometheus Books.

Also Reviewed By: Smexy BooksDark Faerie TalesBadass Book Reviews


We received a copy of The Greyfriar by Clay and Susan Griffith from BEA this year and we are giving it away to one lucky commenter! To enter, simply leave a comment for Suz.

This contest will end July 16th. Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted via email and announced in the Week In Review post Sunday July 17th.

Suz has a grown son, two grandsons, a degree in graphic design and loves both computer and studio fine arts. She reads a lot. She's not very good at diplomacy, most people find her abrasive. She grew up cutting her teeth on high fantasy (and low?) ala Anne McCaffrey and science fiction ala Robert Heinlein. She's gone through bouts of Stephen King and the like being her focus, too. But for several years now she's been stuck in Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. She must admit that she is most often scornful of the Paranormal Romance, constantly hoping to find that rare offering that breaks the tropes and molds but cynical and a bit condescending if she doesn't find it. If you see that from her, it means she was too hopeful for the book and ended up disappointed, not scornful of the genre.
Doll Suz
View all posts by Doll Suz
Suzs website


  • Shannon says:

    Great giveaway! I would so love to read and win this book. it sounds and looks like my kind of book! I love book giveaways. Shannon s.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Victoria says:

    This sounds a bit different from the majority out there right now. Thanks so much for the contest.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Barry says:

    I love dark steampunk sounds good.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Barry says:

    anamchara (at)

    Forgot to give you my email

    Reply to this comment »
  • Jel ♡ says:

    wow thanks for this one, i really want to read that book ;)

    punkme15 at gmail dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Sounds super awesome, great giveaway!


    Reply to this comment »
  • the book looks awesome. Thanks for offering the giveaway

    jennlovesed14 at gmail

    Reply to this comment »
  • Beth D. says:

    Sweet!! Thank you for the giveaway!

    Have a great weekend!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Vivien says:

    Had this one on my wishlist for some time now. Thanks for the giveaway, it looks great!

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Sharon says:

    I've heard so many good things about this book! It looks like a fresh take on the whole vamp story. Great post by the way :)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Katie says:

    I haven't read this one, but it sounds so interesting!

    bigferret at email dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Hi! Wow, this book sounds amazing! I can't wait to read it even if I don't win! (: Thank you for the giveaway!


    Reply to this comment »
  • Damaris says:

    I am not entering, but I just wanted to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Great review!!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Sheree says:

    The cover attracted me right away. John Paul Pfeiffer by Chris McGrath? I'm so there!

    ironss [at] gmail [dot] com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Oooh , nice giveaway! would love to win this. If the contest isn't international, then just ignore me.


    thanks muchly, once again :D

    Reply to this comment »
  • nuiteblanche says:

    I read it in November, and I could not put it down! And for me to say that statement is is like any one saying the sky is blue on a cloudless day! I want to reread very much.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Ricki says:

    I love the look of this cover!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Loony Linh says:

    The cover looks really mysterious-ish. I really liked your review. I've heard of this book before, but haven't actually read it yet. I hope you get to read the sequel soon ^^

    Reply to this comment »
  • Jen B. says:

    You had me at the title…Vampire Empire. I love the concept. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Bethany C. says:

    When this first came out I kind of overlooked it, but then I read more about it and now I definitely want to read it.


    Reply to this comment »
  • If this is open Internationally, I'd love to go into the draw as I've been eying up this one for a while. Thanks

    Nicki J Markus

    nickijmarkus AT y7mail DOT come

    Reply to this comment »
  • This one looks really good, thanks for the review!

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Denise Z says:

    Well I have my pick axe in the shed and it is ready to be used. I would love to read this very interesting book. I appreciate your comprehensive and interesting reviews. Thank you for sharing and for the giveaway opportunity :)


    Reply to this comment »
  • buddyt says:

    From your review this sounds like an exciting read and I have now added it to my wishlist.

    Hopefully the giveaway is open Internationally as I can't wait to read it.


    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Emma says:

    This sounds amazing! Im addicted to pretty much everything vampire, but this sounds like itll be something different.

    Stupid question, but who published this book?

    Reply to this comment »
  • James says:

    I have been wanting to read this book for a while so winning it would be great.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Thanks for the giveaway! It sounds like a great book and I can't wait to read it!!
    jlkg102961 AT yahoo DOT com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Christa says:

    This book hadn't hit my radar until just now! I must add it to my wishlist! Thanks for the giveaway!
    ambience.of.rain {at}

    Reply to this comment »
  • Cherry says:

    By your review, this book sounds like a slow starter but worth it at the end :)

    Cherry Mischievous
    cherrymischif-soldier [at] yahoo [dot] com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Allison says:

    I ordered a copy of this a few days ago, sounds like I'm gonna love it! I might wait and read it around sequel release time though.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Tore says:

    Thanks for the great giveaway. I would love to read this book. Please enter me in contest.

    Reply to this comment »
  • My comment: Glad you enjoyed it.
    Thank you for the giveaway!
    I'm in the Uk, if that helps.
    deathbooksandtea AT gmail DOT com
    Nina xxx

    Reply to this comment »
  • Patchee says:

    Completely enjoyed the novel and not enjoying the wait for the sequel. I read it on my Kindle and would love a print copy!

    Reply to this comment »
  • lingeorge says:

    I am putting this book on my TBR list. It sounds lake a great series. troublelore at gmail dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • SpadesHigh says:

    Political Intrigue is everywhere, I curious as to see how it's applied here… Thank you for hosting this giveaway and have a GREAT weekend!!

    SpadesHigh @
    TValeros18 AT gmail DOT com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Lynn says:

    Thanks for sponsoring the giveaway! faitschl at hotmail dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Stephanie says:

    I would love to try this. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Audrey says:

    This book seems seriously cool!
    Thanks for the giveaway

    Reply to this comment »
  • Anne R says:

    The book sounds very interesting. Thanks!
    areeths at new(dot)rr(dot)com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Suzie says:

    Can’t wait to read this series….always love to find new reads in the paranormal genre. So glad it has become a super popular genre.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Dovile says:

    I’d love to win a copy of this book, if this is open internationally.

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Melliane says:

    i’m very curious to read this book it seems very great ! thank you for the giveaway !

    Reply to this comment »
  • Serena DeNardo says:

    I need to get my hand on this book. Excellent review! I love bookos that get me chompin at the bit for the sequel!!
    Please enter me in the contest:
    srena789[at]yahoo [dot]com

    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    This book looks so great! And I love the cover. It’s been on my TBR list for a while, so I’d love to win it.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Julie Witt says:

    I’ve heard great things about this book, and after reading your review, I really, really want to read it! Thanks for the great giveaway and great review:)

    Reply to this comment »
  • Sofia says:

    If the giveaway is international, please, coun me in!

    Reply to this comment »
  • SpadesHighReads says:

    I am very curious on the political views that are applied into this story, but I am sure interested =) ! Thank you for your generosity in hosting this giveaway!!

    SpadesHigh @
    Have a Great Week!!

    Reply to this comment »
  • mendy says:

    Sounds like a great book! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Mary Preston says:

    I would just love to read THE GREYFRIAR thank you.


    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    Got to admit, I’ve wanted this book since I first saw the cover. Glad to read so many reviewer loved it.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Lingeorge says:

    I would love to win! Just found out that I can finally get this on my Nook.

    Reply to this comment »
  • says:

    I’d love a chance at this one, so long as the contest is open to those of us in Canada!


    Reply to this comment »
  • Kah_Cherub says:

    I’ve heard a lot about this book. :) would love to read it.

    Reply to this comment »
  • Suzan says:

    This sounds awesome!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Dawn says:

    I had not seen this book before but it sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!
    Drmgrl99 at yahoo dot com

    Reply to this comment »
  • Holly says:

    Sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win!

    Reply to this comment »
  • Suz says:

    Thanks to everyone who responded! I honestly loved this book, I just didn’t want it to end – but in a good way not a cliff hanger way. I am chomping at the bit waiting for the next installment, The Rift Walker. I think this is a series that has staying power and I hope if you read it that you enjoy it at least as much as I did.

    Reply to this comment »