My love for the Three Musketeers knows no bounds. My friends all know this, and for Christmas this past year I got a few Musketeer-related gifts, including a t-shirt and the novel Sword & Blood by Sarah Marques. Sword & Blood is the first book in the vampire musketeer series.
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. Athos 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 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.
I was intrigued to say the least. I love almost anything Musketeers and I’m also a fan of vampire movies and stories. So the genre mash up piqued my interest. I was expecting a retelling of Dumas’ novel but with a bunch of vampires thrown into it. Sort of like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
And then I read the Prologue and was introduced to Athos saluting the vampires with his member as they drained and turned him…
And it’s a bit of a spoiler, but the rest of the novel went:
Athos erection. Fighting. Fighting. Fighting. Athos erection. Fighting. Aramis and Constance argue. Athos erection. Athos erection. Fighting. Athos erection. D’Artagnan erection. Fighting. Fighting.
I will say the fighting was pretty well done, albeit a bit repetitive at times. Sarah Marques comes up with some pretty fun ways of fighting vampires and her descriptions of how they look and smell is great. But I could’ve done with less Musketeer boners.
The plot felt fairly non-existent for most of the book. It’s not until three-quarters of the novel do we really hit what I believe is the main plot of the novel. Constance is also this druid-priestess sort of character (cool!) who’s plan to fight the vampires includes banging d’Artagnan’s brains out (wtf?). I mean, rock on Constance and d’Artagnan, but really? We don’t even learn or see how that’s supposed to help and, alas, don’t get to see Constance use whatever powers or skills she has to fight the vampires. I wanted Constance to obliterate vampires and I got none of that.
Perhaps I would’ve enjoyed it more if I knew this was a swashbuckling vampire-musketeer erotica instead what I was expecting which was a swashbuckling vampire-musketeer adventure. Romance/erotica isn’t really my cup of tea, so maybe I wouldn’t have liked it anyways.
Sarah Marques also writes under the pen-name Sarah D’Almeida for the Musketeer Mystery series which I find a little closer to my speed. But in terms of commercial Musketeer fanfic novels, I enjoyed H. Bedford-Jones take on the Musketeers a bit more.
So if you’re down for some swashbuckling vampire-musketeer erotica, Sword & Blood is for you. If you’re not into that combo than stay away.