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Review: Sword & Blood by Sarah Marques

Sword & Blood: The Vampire Musketeers by Sarah Marques

Egalley thanks to Prime Books

Synopsis from Goodreads
In a world where vampires have taken every humble chapel, defiled every grand cathedral, subdued most nations, and treated every human as cattle, Dumas' hero musketeers rise to a greater challenge than they ever met in their original adventures. Athos has spent a decade fighting vampires in the king's musketeers. He never expected to see his wife again - he'd discovered Charlotte was a vampiric servant, hanged and left for dead ten years before - yet it is she who turns Athos into a vampire. Or does she? Despite the craving for blood and overwhelming sexual hunger, Athos walks the fine line between the worlds, remaining human enough to fight vampires. Only his commitment and loyalty to his friends - fellow musketeers Porthos and Aramis - and a young Gascon named D'Artagnan, allows him to keep his soul through an adventure that tests the heights of his heroism and the depth of his darkest desires.

 Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle US/UK | The Book Depository US/UK


* * *
 I tell you what, Sword & Blood was exactly what I wanted to get from that book at that moment, - fast, easy, atmospheric, straightforward action flick, and I applaud Miss Marques for that. I had fun, I didn't get bored and I wanted to read more of this when I got to the last page.

This is basically one of popular interpretations of classics we see so often this days, in this case, Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas. I love Dumas! I pretty much read all his books at some point in the past.

So what happens if you make vampires a scourge of the world, a disease like plague slowly taking over Europe? Across the Chanel in England there are riots and constant fighting, but in France cardinal Richelieu gets bitten, and between vampires and people a treaty gets drawn. All the churches are desecrated, priesthood is disbanded, musketeers can not grow over a fixed number unless one of them dies and gets replaced.... In turn vampires will only take the blood from the willing victims. Of course this is not the case.

At night Paris is filled with wraiths - old crazy vampires who feed mindlessly on anything that is alive, young and evil group of vamps grab whole families and drag to the churches to do a blood Mass - group feeding which either kills the victim or turns them into a vampire, and only musketeers patrolling the streets can save you.

 Lock your door, my friend, and do not open it at night, even if the voices of those asking you to do so are well known and trusted. In the streets of Paris, in the dark of night, friends become strangers, and acquaintances hideous enemies.

On the night d'Artagnan comes to Paris Athos falls victim to one of the blood Masses by order of Milady, his ex-wife. Porthos and Aramis cover his ass while he struggles not to give in to his savage nature and typical vampire mass consciousness. 

D'Artagnan accidentally gets caught in between battles with Cardinal's vampires, saving Athos, protecting one of the handmaidens/witches of the Queen, Constance de Bonacieux, and nefarious plans of Rochefort to use the boy in an ancient ritual of resurrecting a vampire God. You know, the usual.

It's fun, it's in a way playful and feels like a movie instead of a book. Aramis as usual is my favorite, but the rest of the characters are not bad as well, although Porthos hardly says anything during the whole book.

Otherwise, it's a great read, and I can't wait for the book #2 to come out this fall!
* * *
Классная кстати вышла книга! Я думаю, что те, кому понравился недавний стимпанковский фильм про Трёх Мушкетёров, проглотят эту книгу с удовольствием. Она очень синематичная, визуальная, лёгкая и развлекательная.

Мне понравились и атмосфера и поворот сюжета в рамках вампиризма как чумы всего мира, да и сами герои хоть и простоваты, действовали очень даже в духе самого Дюма.

Вся Европа страдает вампиризмом, в Англии - граждаская революция, а вот во Франции с тех пор как вампир укусил кардинала Ришелье, между тем и королём заключён пакт по которому разрушены все церкви, распущены все священнослужители, число мушкетёров должно оставаться неизменным, за исключением случаев смерти или болезни мушкетёра, а взамен вампиры будут питаться только кровью добровольцев. 

Естественно в реальности этого не происходит. Париж заполонён старыми обезумевшими вампирами-тенями, молодняк хватает целые семью и ночами устраивает кровавые массы, высасывая из своих жертв кровь толпами, а мушкетёры сражаются в битве, которую постепенно проигрывают.

Д'Артаньян приезжает в город в ту самую ночь когда Атос по приказу миледи становится жертвой одной из таких масс. Молодой гасконец случайно вмешивается в попытку Арамиса и Портоса прикрыть задницу их друга, пока тот борется со своим вампиризмом, сражается вместе с ними с вампирами Ришелье, предлагает свою защиту ведьме Констанции и оказывается похищен Рошфором в качестве потенциального жертвоприношения в древнем ритуале с целью разбудить вампирского бога... В общем, нормальный день в жизни гасконца.

Мне понравилось, советую всем оставить литературное снобство за дверью и просто насладится фантазией на тему Дюма. Ждем-с второй книги осенью.


Mel said...

I don't read many classics but the Three Musketeers (and all the sequels!) is one I have read and loved. The idea of mixing vampires into the tales sounds great to me! It was already an action packed story, but vamps would raise it above politics! Great review! :-)

Christina said...

You had me at 'retelling.' I want to read them all.

Eva E. said...

Great review! Really helpful. I have to find time to read this.

kara-karina@Nocturnal Book Reviews said...

Mel, Christina, Eva, - I do recommend this book if you want a break from your routine reading. It's breezy, light and very entertaining ;)

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