In another world, history changes but heroes remain the same.
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. Under the name of Athos, Raphael, Count de La Fere, 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 her 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.
A fine take for a classic tale but like what my cauldron says, this needs work.
Having a classic and well loved tale as basis for your work is a big undertaking, basically you just set the expectation to HIGH by default. The reading public's taste has evolved since Alexander Dumas published his novel, The Three Musketeers. We now have television, graphic novels, the internet and other gadgets whose ripples affected our attention spans. So if you want to update a classic, it better be tailored for Generation ADD, snappy, quick and entertaining.
Did she meet it? Obviously not quite.
Most principalities in Germany had fallen to vampires as had Greece. Portugal and Spain had been taken via the north of Africa where the vampires had gone from the east and where, reports had it, vampires ran rampant. And Italy.... Italy was terra incognita, having fallen under the internal disputes of its many princes. Rome hadn't been heard from in years and no one knew if the world still had a Pope.
First off I like Marques' version of Europe and France for that matter. It felt Gothic and dark with all these Vampires running around the world, taking over churches and turning significant monarchs to blood suckers. The Musketeers vowed to fight this plague and kill as many of these sons of witches as they can. As far as adventure goes, it's not lacking in this book.
Of course Athos, Porthos and Aramis and the eager D'Artagnan are the main protagonists. Athos was very conflicted in this book, he's fighting the blood call and the seductions of Charlotte. Porthos was a little too tame for my taste and Aramis' conservative righteousness fell a notch short too. Only D'Artagnan was recognizable and I find his melancholia tug my heartstrings and his sense of purpose valiant. He's pretty much the D'Artagnan we've grown to love.
"When my parents were turned and chose to stand in the sun and die, rather than feed," he said gravely, his voice cracking, "I decided I would be a Musketeer and fight vampires. I might not be a real Musketeer yet, but in my heart, I am. I must fight by your side." [D'Artagnan]
Sword and Blood was a slow read. It was too narrative and it didn't have enough dialogue which really made it a challenge to finish the book. Although the plot took a turn for the dark, I was at least hoping that The Three Musketeers retained their candor, balance all the loss and killings and not just dwell on the drama. Pages would go by without anybody talking, Marques would just narrate what's going on or what the character is thinking. But I want reactions! I want expletives! I want to feel the rush of running and fighting off the urge and the blood lust. But I didn't get any of that. I was looking for a little comedic relief in between battling those evil vampires especially between Por thos and Aramis but I didn't find it here. Instead it was too serious and though there are some sexy scenes, the way it all went down didn't feel sweeping.
Sword and Blood hits the shelves on April 4, 2012.