The Fifth Empire:
The Journal of Vincent du Maurier
by K. P. Ambroziak
In 1216 BCE, Vincent du Maurier was promised an eternal life. Today, in 2052, he faces extinction as the outbreak of the living dead threatens his sustenance. When he finds one of the last human survivors, a pregnant girl, he decides to save her. For both the human and vampiric races, he must keep zombies from eating her flesh and vampires from draining her blood. Hoping to outlive the pandemic, he chronicles his attempt to salvage humanity … and himself.
The Journal of Vincent du Maurier is the first book in The Fifth Empire trilogy.
The tombs were dark, empty and wet. A flood had washed through and I saw our history drowned beneath several feet of rainwater. I knew we could not stay here, and so I made quick work of getting what I had come for. In the depths of the catacombs, I found the tomb where Byron had spent most of his life. I felt him there among his work, his diagrams and notes pasted up on the walls, his elements and samples lining the counters as though trapped in a still life. Our existence was painted before me like a landscape portrait. The corpse he had strapped to his slab had somehow freed itself from the manacles. I wondered if its limbs had simply rotted off.
I took a large duffel bag from the cabinet and headed to the compartment in the back. I knew the cryostat blood samples were housed there. Inside the compartment, I found a long trough-shape container. The temperature gauge on the outside assured me it had been preserved. I placed the container in the bag and headed back through the laboratory. As I made my way to the entrance, I noticed Byron’s lab coat hanging on the rack by the door. I went to it and ran my fingers down the length of its arm. I remembered how comforting it was to do the same when he was in it. A slight touch down his arm would always send him into spells. He had been receptive to all of my affections once upon a time. When I reached the pocket on the side of the lab coat now, I touched the small leather-bound journal that was tucked inside. I stole the book from the pocket and slipped it into my own. I knew it contained more of the mysteries my Byron had solved.
I was so caught up in remembrances that I did not hear the groan behind me. Without warning, I felt the clang of a jaw about my neck. I broke loose from the maw, turning to catch sight of the armless corpse from Byron’s slab.
By Avid Reader
Given the current obsession with vampire/zombie movies and books, you might think that the last thing you need to read is another vampire novel. K. P. Ambroziak’s The Fifth Empire: The Journal of Vincent du Maurier, though is a vampire novel that takes a completely new direction.
It’s 2052, and Vincent du Maurier is leader of a clan of vampires that, due to the lack of human blood upon which to feed, and a virus that is now fatal to vampires, is on the verge of extinction. To make matters worse, the land is overrun by zombies who feed on vampire flesh – turning the vampire into a zombie in the process.
When Vincent and his group find three healthy humans, one of whom is a pregnant woman, it sets the clan on a course that none could have predicted. Could the fate of vampires and humans be intertwined? K. P. Ambroziak, with a combination of narrative that swings from gritty to delicate, and dialogue that gives you the feeling that you’re snooping on private conversations, managed to convince this reviewer that this is within the realm of possibility.
Ambroziak tells her story from the point of view of the vampire Vincent, a daring thing to do, given that any author desires that readers sympathize with your main character. Vincent is hard to sympathize with – he comes through, though, as a complex character – bad to the bone, but with a tiny streak of compassion beneath his pale, undead exterior, and even though his heart doesn’t beat, he is capable on occasion of almost human feeling.
I’m giving The Fifth Empire four stars for its excellent writing, tightly woven plot, and sheer entertainment value.
About the Author
K. P. Ambroziak is a writer and freelance editor. She writes fiction, essays, and reviews at Fields of Twisting Phlox. She is expected to receive her PhD in Comparative Literature in 2014.
K. P. is the author of the novella, A Perpetual Mimicry, as well as The Fifth Empire trilogy, currently consisting of The Journal of Vincent Du Maurier and The Harvest of Vincent Du Maurier.