Title: The First Crusade, book one of Pax Vampirica (“Vampiric Peace”)
Genre: Fantasy/Gothic/Christian (I hear screams of outrage from the purists)
Synopsis Word Count: 999
Note: Synopsis is condensed to cover only the main hero and villains of
the story, as well as plot elements only revealed in this book rather
than those revealed later) good choice
Lord Alistair is one of the most powerful vampire lords on the Isle of Tyrondia in the Sea of Dreams. A benevolent leader, he has come to be well loved by his human subjects, and the land has prospered under his eternal rule. He is a devoutly religious vampire, attending mass and
bearing icons into battle even though it causes him extreme pain to do so. On top of that, he is in love with a human woman. In short, he is a wise but troubled soul. The rest of the Isle is ruled by other vampire lords of varying rank, who are good or ambivalent to their subjects but never unjustly cruel. Under them peace has reigned on the Isle for hundreds of years.
That peace is shattered when a fleet from the shores of distant Lithlania lands in the territory of Lord Richard and offloads an army of the Holy Lithlanian Church under the command of Paladin Rosencrantz. Rosencrantz’s mission comes from the Archbishop of Langley himself:
destroy the creatures of the night and liberate the people of Tyrondia. Seeing the Tyrondians prospering under the vampiric yolk, Rosencrantz believes them to be tainted and orders his Crusaders to kill everyone. The First Crusade has begun.
Lord Liam – the neighbor of Richard and the best friend of Alistair – comes to Richard’s aid and attempts to parley with Rosencrantz. The Paladin will not negotiate with the vampire lord, however, and Liam is forced to withdraw his advance force and wait for his main army to
arrive. Richard’s army comes under attack in broad daylight and –without the vampire’s power – is routed. Richard is killed, and his lands come into the hands of the Church.
Alistair is clearly troubled by this turn of events. Both he and his people are Christians, as are most of the denizens of Tyrondia. By fighting Rosencrantz and his Crusaders they are forced to go up against fellow believers. As a result of this doubt, the first few clashes he and his men have against the advancing Church knights end with the vampire lord giving more and more land to Rosencrantz. It’s during a daylight retreat from one such skirmish that he sees how devoted his men really are to him. Rather than abandoning him, they slow down so that the wagon bearing him and his coffin can keep up. The knights overtake them, but they manage to beat them back and get their lord to safety.
It’s at this point that Alistair is approached by Father Matthias, priest of the town where Alistair’s castle is. He tells Alistair to fight and stop the Church. Matthias, who was raised in Lithlania, believes something deeper is going on, since Tyrondia had never been bothered before now. There is more to this invasion than a simple purging of evil, and it is the duty of Alistair and the other vampire lords to put an end to it.
He also meets with Rachael, the human woman he has fallen for. She is afraid of what might happen to Alistair if he goes off to battle Rosencrantz, especially after what happened to Richard. He tries to reassure her, going so far as to promise that they would (will) wed once the war is won. She fears for him still, but understands that he must go. Reluctantly she leaves to await his return. Alistair knows he might die in the upcoming battle, but he will do whatever he must to keep Rachael and the rest of his people safe.
With renewed conviction, Alistair masses his army and prepares to fight Rosencrantz, who is poised to invade Alistair’s realm. Liam is approaching from behind with his army, but is many days away. The other lords are on the move, but are too far away to be of any consequence at
the moment. For all practical purposes Alistair stands alone.
Alistair and Rosencrantz meet in the night for their first clash, and Alistair crushes Rosencrantz’s advance party. The next several skirmishes end in victory for Alistair, though no ground is gained. He does succeed in buying more time for Liam to approach, but not before
Rosencrantz can launch an early morning assault on Alistair’s position. Alistair loses track of time in the fight, and when the sun comes up has to withdraw to his coffin. Rosencrantz breaks through the line and makes it to Alistair’s command post in the early dawn light. He kills
Alistair’s guards and enrages the vampire to the point of breaking out of his coffin in the light of day to rally his men. Calling on God for strength and bearing His standard, Alistair is able to reorganize his men and smash the Church army’s line. Rosencrantz is captured along with several other commanders. Alistair collapses from his wounds and is taken out of the sunlight just as Liam’s men arrive to mop up.
The Church army is routed and driven back to the shore, where they board their ships and sail for home. Lords Alistair and Liam have saved the people of Tyrondia from Rosencrantz and the Church. Rosencrantz and his men are given into the custody of the Tyrondian clergy. Alistair is
carried home to recover, with his fiancée at his side. All is well, or so they think.
On the other side of the Sea of Dreams, on the shores of Lithlania, the forces of evil stand and watch the last battle of the First Crusade. One man, the Archbishop of Langley, stands on the shore with three others in attendance. The three are demons, though only one is revealed at this time: Leraje the Archer, Demon of Great Battles and Disputes. At Langley’s command he orchestrated the attack on Tyrondia. Though the Church army was defeated Leraje assures Langley that all is going as planned. The first phase is complete, and phase two is set to begin.
The war between the corrupt Archbishop of Langley and the Vampire Lords of Tyrondia is far from over.
Well, you’re destined to piss off everyone with this one: Vampire lovers, Christians, Crusaders and feminists. I love it!
This is an excellent synopsis for a BFF. Crisp, clean, conveys who the characters are and what happens and leaves the ‘why’ only partially revealed...a big must for a series.