I solemnly swear to never again read a book that has the word “epic” in the title or subtitle.
Empire of Fear: An Epic Vampire Novel by Brian Stableford isn't a bad book. In fact, it's quite well written and has an interesting premise. It starts off well and then suddenly everything slows to a crawl and keeps crawling for a good chunk of the book.
Empire of Fear is an alternate history novel. Attila the Hun, Dracula, Charlemagne and Richard the Lionheart are all vampires. There's even a vampire pope which I thought was a nice touch. They and other vampires control most of the known world when the book starts in 1623. Needless to say they are not very nice. They control mainly by fear. A small group of humans is secretly looking for a way to kill vampires.
The story follows two members of the Cordery family. The main part of the book takes place in Africa. It is thought that the origin of vampires can be found there. This, for me, is where the book drags. I actually stopped twice and read other books. It took me forever to get thorough the middle section. And then I felt like the last section was just tagged on. I wanted more of the first section with the elder Cordery.
Empire of Fear isn't awful. Stableford is a very good writer. I just had a hard time reading the middle section. If you like vampire or alternate history or epic novels, you'll enjoy this book.