Vampire's Retribution is obviously a vampire novella. What isn't obvious from the title is that unlike most vampire tales, it's set in the Civil War Era. What? Vampires and riverboats? Exactly! Mr. Coe has combined two great things- history and vampires. But they do go well together? They do!
The novella follows the story of Carl Tamell, an ordinary guy who grew up in the North and joined the army when the Civil War broke out. After the war, he takes a job as a dealer on the riverboat casino, The Southern Queen. After a bad night at the table, he's unceremoniously thrown off the boat into the mighty Mississippi with only the clothes on his back. He makes it to land and stumbles wearily along wet, cold and bleeding.
Then he meets Gaius Octavia, a vampire who saves him from certain death, only to curse him with undeath. Gaius teaches Carl, a reluctant vampire at first, the ways of the vampire. He tries to teach and shelter his new ward and this works for awhile, but Carl is hungry for more than blood- he wants revenge. So he leaves Gaius to hunt down the owner of the Southern Queen and give him a taste of payback.
The tale is interesting and you find yourself rooting for poor Carl, first with his poor treatment at the hands of the riverboat owner's thugs and for his unwitting transformation to creature of the night. The setting is original and refreshing. You don't get a lot of cowboys and vampires. The setting stays true to the time period, which I think is always a problem with historical fiction. It's obvious that Mr. Coe did his homework there.
I found the book an enjoyable quick read. It wasn't the best vampire novel I've ever read. But it was nowhere near the worst. It held my attention but didn't enthrall me. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys history, particularly the post civil war era. And also to anyone who loves vampires tales, real vampire tales, not that sparkly nonsense. His next novel will feature zombies & the civil war. You can bet that I'm going to read that one as well!
I did an interview with Jeremiah Coe over at The Author Spot. Please drop by and get to know him and what he has in store for us next. Vampire's Retribution is available at Amazon, Smashwords and Barnes & Noble.