We have something special for you–an ARC giveaway for THE KINGMAKER the final book in the VAMPIRE EMPIRE trilogy.
A Steampunk Toaster Should Still Make Toast
by Clay & Susan Griffith
THE KINGMAKERS, the concluding book in the VAMPIRE EMPIRE trilogy, comes out in about a month. We’re very excited to be offering an Advanced Reader Copy a few weeks before publication. We are gratified that the first two books in the series – THE GREYFRIAR and THE RIFT WALKER – have received a very kind reception. The books seem to have found accepting homes among readers of various genres including fantasy, paranormal romance, young adult, and of course, STEAMPUNK.
We didn’t set out to write a steampunk series. We wanted an exciting story with interesting characters set in a neo-Victorian world. We never tried to make our series “steampunk” by forcing genre tropes that didn’t develop organically.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with the series, the basic premise of VAMPIRE EMPIRE is that, in the year 1870, vampires destroy the industrial world of the northern hemisphere. Human survivors flee south to the heat of the tropics where vampires cannot follow due to their peculiar biology. These northern refugees bring their technological skills, and over the next century, they clash and blend with the indigenous cultures of the south.
The trilogy actually begins with THE GREYFRIAR in the year 2020 when human states around the equator are now primed to invade the north to destroy the vampire clans. These human states have achieved a level of technology that is similar to the late Victorian Era. The primary reason why technology is at that level is because the vampires control the northern hemisphere where most of the world’s coal is found, and coal is the beating heart of the Industrial Revolution. With only limited reserves of that fabulous fuel, human technology has been retarded or even shifted into other areas such as chemical power.
THE KINGMAKERS is a good example of how we approach “steampunk” technology in our series. In this book, there is a world war raging between humans and vampires in Europe and North America. The level of military technology is basically that of World War One. Humans are just beginning to produce infantry weapons of mass destruction like repeating rifles and machine guns, and the men in the trenches of France are very recognizable as late Victorian/early 20th century soldiers.
However, since technological development did go down different paths than in the real world, we do create some unique and exciting steampunk tech. This includes such things as airships (both sailing and ironclad), Fahrenheit blades coated with burning chemicals, sound-based weapons called shriekers, rockets loaded with atmospheric combustibles, and walking land tanks dubbed Galahads. And we use them not just because they’re cool (which they are!), but because they have a rational purpose when facing an enemy with the logistics and biology of vampires. We certainly wanted lots of cool stuff around, but we also kept it reasonable to preserve the atmosphere of a “slightly” off-kilter late Victorian world, rather than launching the reader into a pure fantasy realm, which we didn’t think would serve our series well.
In our version of a steampunk world in VAMPIRE EMPIRE, it’s better if your toaster is awesome and also makes toast.
~Clay & Susan Griffith
One lucky commenter will win an ARC of The Kingmakers. Open Internationally. Content closes Thursday, August 9th, 2012 at 11:59 PM PST.