Book Review: Krimson by Thomas Emson

Hi all…

Vampires. In popular media today, vampires are more about masquerading as human in a human world than ripping your throat out and guzzling blood directly from your jugular vein with no pretense of any remaining humanity. These days, the word “vampire” tends to evoke images of wan, whiny teenagers or Civil War-era Louisiana gentlemen more than “cold blooded killers.”

Author Thomas Emson is working to change that. First with Skarlet in 2009 and now with the follow-up Krimson, Emson is embracing the monster in the vampire myth and providing hooks to thousands of years of history. And like the majority of human history, not all the monsters are inhuman. Sometimes it takes power-mad humans to resurrect the past even if they don’t quite understand the consequences of their actions…

In Skarlet, we were introduced to a modern-day London, England on the brink of change. A small group of men and women with bloodlines stretching back thousands of years have brought a drug to London’s youth. Distributed at a dance club called Religion, those who take the drug die and are reborn as vampiric killing machines with an unquenchable thirst for blood. One man – Iraqi war vet Jake Lawton – working as a bouncer at the club is drawn into this nightmare nobody can accept and fights against the monsters with a few companions he gains along the way.

What I loved about the first book was the use of multiple story lines from different eras of history. Emson incorporates the conquering of Babylon by Alexander the Great and battles between the Ottoman Turks and the British army in the 1920s alongside the Iraq War we’re still trying to finish and the modern day. Weaving in an alternate history based on real events made this a much more tangible tale to dive into.

Now with Krimson, the second book in the Vampire Trinity series, the story picks up three years later after the events of Skarlet. Jake is still fighting the good fight, but he’s getting tired. You can only go so long without sleep. And those left alive in positions of power in England are hunting him day and night, so his paranoia isn’t just due to exhaustion. He and his warrior woman Aaliyah have done damage to the vampire cause, but it’s like putting fingers in a dam about to burst – it’s impossible to cover all the cracks.

And like Skarlet, Emson does an amazing job of working an alternate history into the mix. This time it’s ancient Babylon and the time of Dracula in the mid-1400s. And though I wasn’t as surprised by the Babylon links this time around, I was very intrigued in how the Dracula myths were brought in. Again, the history set the stage for the events in the present day and was seamlessly integrated into what started in that first book.

After reading Zombie Brittanica, I was a bit concerned that Emson had lost his touch. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case. The first half of Krimson sets the stage and offers enough background that readers new to the series should have no problems diving in. For me, the action really didn’t get going until about the half-way mark. At that point it was as though a switch was thrown and we were in free fall to the end. All the characters of the first book are back and we start to see their individual threads get resolved one by one…

I can hardly wait for Kardinal, the conclusion of the trilogy, to be released in another year or two. Can Jake and his friends survive? Only Emson himself knows until the book is released!

If you want a taste of the book, be sure to check out the first three chapters at Thomas Emson’s website. Unfortunately US rights haven’t yet been sold, but you can order via Amazon and other retailers through international wholesalers!

This article first appeared at BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up these books at Amazon below!

Enhanced by Zemanta

Book Review: Zombie Brittanica by Thomas Emson

Hey…

Have you ever had a sinking feeling when you read a new book by your favorite author? I’ve read the last three books from Thomas EmsonSkarlet, Maneater, and Prey. He’s brought vampires and werewolves into the real world, so I was looking forward to seeing what he’d do with zombies.

I love zombies. But I really only love them when they’re presented in a unique way, not relying on standard cliches. Unfortunately, I found myself wondering when the bad zombie movie would end.

Zombies are wonderful beasts. They’re men, but they’re monsters. Add in the fear of disease, the dead rising, and the repulsion of teeth ripping human flesh and organs, and you can really push some buttons. George Romero knew this when he wrote and directed Night of the Living Dead in 1968. He and other directors and movie makers have been terrorizing moviegoers ever since.

More recently there have been some great zombie novels that have been reinventing the genre. Mira Grant’s FEED and Jonathan Maberry‘s Patient Zero have been among my favorites. Grant merges blogging, politics, and a zombie apocalypse and Maberry uses biological warfare to spread a zombie plague.

With Emson’s previous reinvention of vampires and werewolves, mixing myths and history with the modern day, I was expecting more inventive approach to zombies. That “inventiveness” only went as far as having the dead rise during a particularly nasty heat wave in Great Britain.

Three main characters drive the action… Carrie Asher is a mother seeking to get through a zombie-infested London to rescue her six-year-old daughter Mya. Vincent is a young man stuck in a Welsh castle with the girl he loves and the zombies closing in all around. And Craig Murray is trapped with his family in a traffic jam in Scotland. Not only must he battle the undead, but the people seeking to prey on the weak during a time of crisis.

Woven into the narrative are all the typical zombie tales… They eat flesh and infect those who get bitten and manage to survive an attack. The survivors are like zombie grenades thrown into the future. When the victims die, they become zombies themselves. Add to that the people who break under the pressure – relying on their dogma to explain the situation, controlling others through fear and intimidation, and the people who simply give up.

I really like Emson’s prose, but I couldn’t get past all the cliches. Perhaps if I’d seen this on the big screen instead of read it as a novel, I would have enjoyed it more. But it’s been done to death, no pun intended.

If you’re interested in how the zombies capture London, I’d recommend the book. But if you’re looking for an original take on things, I’d avoid Emson’s Zombie Brittanica. Instead, check out his books Skarlet, Maneater, and Prey.

This article first appeared on BlogCritics.org here.

–Fitz

p.s. Check out these great books below:

Enhanced by Zemanta

Book Review: Maneater II: Prey by Thomas Emson

Hi all…

Creatures of the night have been returning in a big way to bookshelves in recent years. And though Twilight may currently have the market cornered on teenage vampires and werewolves, that doesn’t mean that they are the only game in town. Thomas Emson‘s first novel for Snowbooks was Maneater, published back in 2008, which focused on the intertwined stories of two werewolf bloodlines extending back thousands of years and a policeman who gets drawn into a murderous plot.

In Maneater, Laura Greenacre comes to terms with her wild side as she tries to discover who murdered her family as a child. That honor went to the Templetons, who try to finish the job and resurrect their family to reclaim former glories. John Thorn, a policeman assigned to protect Sir Adam Templeton, finds himself between the families as cascading revenge plots collide. Along the way, Laura and John become romantically entangled as well, but find themselves separated after a battle royale between werewolves in Trafalgar Square.

Now, with Prey, Emson reveals the ragged trail of blood, betrayal, and revenge plotted by Ruth Templeton, now lone matriarch of the Templeton legacy. Ruth desires not only the deaths of Greenacre and Thorn, but for them to suffer the deaths of those they love. Once her two adversaries are gone, she can begin to rebuild the Templeton family and claim her rightful place among the rich and powerful.

As with most revenge plots, things don’t go quite according to plan. Greenacre and Thorn have allies from all over the globe coming to their aid when they are most needed. And when it comes to protecting their own, the two separated lovers will fight to their last breath.

Where Maneater provided more context to the Greenacre/Templeton family feud, Prey focuses on picking up the pieces from the end of the book and following them to their logical conclusion. But don’t worry, the body count, violence, and madness doesn’t let up from where the first book left off. Greenacre, Thorn, and their many enemies manage to consistenly shoot, stab, bash, and sometimes tear people limb from limb.

The book was a bit slow to get going for me, but about a quarter of the way through I discovered that I really liked Major Lev Dasaev, the policeman from Russia. Stuck in a marriage he believed in, but his wife did not, he was a decent man who did the best with what he was given. By the end of the book, Dasaev becomes more of a hero for Greenacre than Thorn does, who spends most of the book trying to stay under the radar or simply survive to protect his daughter.

The battle in New York City‘s Times Square was amazing as it bounced from character to character finally bringing everything to a head. Greenacre fights the good fight and tries to save as many innocents as she can while the men trying to kill her indiscriminately tear through crowds of people left and right. Ultimately she’s saved by those people she saved in Trafalgar Square years before and those who shared her story on the Internet. Everything came full circle again without feeling rushed or engineered.

My only complaint comes with the last two chapters, which were a bit too much like “And they lived happily ever after…” Even though I wanted to be happy for Greenacre, Thorn, and Thorn’s daughter, it seemed rather abrupt to go from Russia to Wales with very little description of how both Greenacre and Ruth manage to suddenly appear. If you read between the lines, the reasoning is there as to how it came to be, but it wasn’t the most satisfying end.

Maneater II: Prey picks right up where Maneater leaves off and wraps everything up for Greenacre and Thorn. I’d still like to know more about the history between the Templetons and the Greenacres, but I’m not left wondering what comes next – just about what came before. Be sure to check out Prey when it’s released in paperback in February 2010!

You can also learn more about Thomas Emson and his books at his website: ThomasEmson.net.

–Fitz

p.s. Pick up this and other great books at Amazon!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]