Imagine you’re a young, beautiful, educated American woman visiting London for her “year abroad.” Imagine you’re living in the twilight of the Victorian Era; a time of steam-punk miracles, from elegant dirigibles to spring-powered motorcycles.
Imagine, as well, that you’re a newly-minted vampire.
Meet Paulette Monot, whose European adventure goes awry after she’s recruited by Sherlock Holmes, financier Cecil Rhodes, and actress Lady Ellen Terry (what better disguise for London’s vampiric ruler than that of an ageless theatrical beauty?). This meeting sends Paulette to Africa, to Matabele-land, where she seduces the famous hunter-naturalist Frederick Selous; negotiates with Lobengula, king of the Matabele and sole obstacle to Rhodes’ dreams of conquest; discovers two tribes of African vampires (whom she must recruit into the war against the Matabele king); and plays a pivotal role in the Battle of Shangani River, which lays the groundwork for Lobengula’s fall and the establishment of the nation of Rhodesia.
Over the course of these adventures Paulette learns much about the ways of the world; and discovers that there is more monstrousness in humanity than in the storied creatures it fears, and more dishonestly in civilization than in the crudest of African societies.
Royal Blood is a vampire story, a steam-punk tale, an (occasionally) erotic romance, and an historical novel in one. Thoroughly accurate in its descriptions of the period in which it takes place, it uses the language of Victorian fiction in an otherworldly narrative of adventure, passion, and a distinctly vampiric coming of age.