Title: Crimson Siege: Blood Riders – Book One by Jay Raven
Publisher: Junction Publishing
Date Published: 21st April 2018
In the Godforsaken badlands of Transylvania the fragile truce between mankind and monsters is about to explode…
When bounty hunters target one of 19th century Europe’s most feared vampire clans, the last place any lawman wants to be is caught in the middle…
But for Anton Yoska, Lord Marshal of the Imperial lands south of the Carpathian Mountains, fate has trapped him in a supernatural stand-off that can end only in a bloodbath.
A gang of mercenaries led by Anton’s former army comrade Milosh Drubrick have captured vampire aristocrat Stefan Modjeski, wanted for a string of frenzied murders, and have come to Anton to claim the reward. And as Stefan’s predatory undead kin lay siege to the jailhouse, Anton is faced with an agonising choice – hand over his prisoner and abandon the bounty hunters to their unspeakable fate, or stand and fight.
The jailhouse defenders are outnumbered and out of options. It’s a battle that can’t be won, certain slaughter for them all, and Anton can’t trust his scheming allies. But Lord Marshal Yoska isn’t about to surrender.
For he’s an experienced vampire hunter, a dangerous man when cornered, and a single minded warrior who knows there are worse things to fear than death…
Anton Yoska survived the savage vampire wars and now is Lord Marshal of a small town called Brejnei. He leads a quiet life until his old army comrade Milosh Drubrick, with his ragtag band of bounty hunters, drag a vampire into the sleepy village. The vampire is none other than aristocrat, Stephan Modjeski and his family especially his ‘mother’ Kristina will stop at nothing to get him back. Who will survive?
This is beautifully written, Gothic and a little disturbing at times. Personally I wouldn’t class it as horror, just mainly because I think horror should have me terrified and shivering under a cover, but I did think it was more of a good fast paced action story.
I loved the character of Anton, he’s devoted to his wife even though she is dying from fever, and determined to uphold the law even if it costs him his life. Apart from Pavel, his young deputy, Anton seemed to be surrounded by horrible people. Twisted Count Kravnik, who had been sent to over see the execution of two poachers, Nickru his other deputy who wanted his job and finally the bounty hunters who frankly seemed worse than the vampires!
I wouldn’t say this book is overly gory but I will warn you there are some really brutal themes in the book, rape is one of them, though thankfully it’s not actually shown within the pages, just referred to.
If I had one issue it would be the language was a little too modern (the use of the word ‘hot’ when describing a woman springs to mind), I kept having to remind myself it was meant to be set in the 19th century.
Overall a good start to the series and I’m interested to see what the author does next!
About The Author:
Jay Raven is the author of Gothic chillers and historical horror reminding readers that the past is a dangerous place to venture, full of monsters and murderous men.
He blames his fascination with vampires, witches and werewolves on the Hammer Horror films he watched as a teenager, but living in a creepy old house on the edge of a 500-acre wood may have something to do with it.