• Empire of the Vampire

  • Empire of the Vampire, Book 1
  • By: Jay Kristoff
  • Narrated by: Damian Lynch
  • Length: 27 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the Sunday Times best-selling and award-winning author of the Nevernight Chronicle comes this masterful new series. 

It has been 27 long years since the last sunrise.

For nearly three decades, vampires have waged war against humanity, building their eternal empire even as they tear down our own. Now, only a few tiny sparks of light endure in a sea of darkness.

Gabriel de León, half man, half monster and last remaining silversaint - a sworn brother of the holy Silver Order dedicated to defending the realm from the creatures of the night - is all that stands between the world and its end.

Now imprisoned by the very monsters he vowed to destroy, the last silversaint is forced to tell his story. A story of legendary battles and forbidden love, of faith lost and friendships won, of the Wars of the Blood and the Forever King and the quest for humanity’s last remaining hope:

The Holy Grail.

©2021 Jay Kristoff (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"This book is bloody brilliant." (V.E Schwab, New York Times best-selling author of The Invisible Life of Addie Larue)

"With a delicate balance of the ancient and the magical, this tense and brutal tale is unflinching, thrilling and satisfying." (Publishers Weekly)

"A gothic bloodbath that will leave any reader breathless. The story is a vast apocalyptic canvass, reminiscent of Justin Cronin’s The Passage or even Stephen King’s The Stand, yet Kristoff’s work stands on its own ruthless merit as the opening gambit of a richer tale yet to unfold. I can’t wait to return again to this rich, lush, and bloody world. Until then, read this book now!" (James Rollins, number one New York Times author of The Last Odyssey and The Starless Crown)

What listeners say about Empire of the Vampire

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great build up, but 27 hours and no ending Ouch!

Jay Krisfoff is a great writer. This story drags you in with its complex world plan and detailed characterisation. But the ending just comes bang, out of the blue, as if the tape recorder ran out (OK not quite so dramatic as that) but it's a very long investment for an installment that leaves you hanging. Having gotten over the disappointment, it is a great story and his word craft is brilliant. The narrator is excellent. I hope the next book doesn't take too long, it's a very long listen to have to repeat if I need a refresher...

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Very well good tale, well told

Enjoyed this tale from the point of of a condemned prisoner imprisoned by the vey thing he has fought all his life. cant wait to listen to the next book

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Dark and Excellent

First of all. The narration is wonderful. It's worth it,choosing the audio over the print edition.
Lovely to see vampire themed fiction after a long while as well.
This book is a dark, bloody, adult tale, told really well and immersive. Both in writing and narration. I also found it thought provoking, a sign of a good story. I don't know what it is about the author's writing, I find it incredibly soothing, despite the dark themes and style (both this one and Nevernight trilogy). Not everyone's cup of tea for sure, but definitely mine.
At one point your momma insult is majorly overused and is making fun of it's own sheer stupidity, and I find it simply genius.
I would not call the ending a cliffhanger, but some might find it lacking in some sort of conclusion.
I don't mind the way it ended, this is only the 1st installment of the story, so I will be eagerly waiting for the 2nd one.

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Disappointed

This felt like a build up to nothing. Every fantasy cliche is used and no gratifying ending is supplied. For such a large investment of time I'm pretty saddened as the never night chronicle is one of my all time favourite books.

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  • tracey pashley
  • 09-10-21

The Best

Damien Lynch is one of the best audio book narrators imo. He brings the characters to life. The story was excellent and kept me listening through many more chapters than I'd intended.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Swords and Spectres
  • 11-01-21

Best fantasy I've read/listened to this year

I could just make this a really short review and say 'it's probably the best fantasy novel I've finished this year'. It was one of those I got super-excited about back when all we had was a title and a thumbnail image that read 'cover not yet available', and, for once, it's one of those that saw that high pedestal I put it on, laughed, and took it a notch higher.

Our story is told through the eyes of Gabriel de León, the last silver-saint. Which is to say, the last half-breed vampire who fights all things dark and deadly with the powers bestowed upon him by his vampiric father. Unlike those who came before him, and unlike the man he used to be, Gabriel has utterly lost his faith in God. It's not so much a mild crisis of faith, it's more a case of 'he'd have a darn good go at giving the Almighty a bloody nose if they happened to cross paths'. A bit of a downer when so much of the Silver Saints' powers are rooted in their faith.

Gabriel de León's tale is told to his captor, a vampire who's mistress wishes to compile a written history before those who it concerns are extinguished forever. The banter between the historian and Gabriel is utterly wonderful, it makes the scenes in between Gabriel's recollections so much more fun than they otherwise might have been. I saw Kristoff write somewhere that this is like 'Interview with a Vampire meets Name of the Wind' as far as the storytelling goes, and that's a pretty damn perfect description.

Kristoff's writing is glorious and I love everything about the world he's created. The descriptions are vivid, the imagery vibrant. The bonds forged between the characters speaks of a master of his craft and I can do nothing other than salute him for the depth, detail and brilliance of what he is currently creating. 

What keeps this fresh is how it's told. It doesn't simply focus on one linear narrative. Gabriel will realise the historian is enjoying the flow, decide he's not one to make a vampire happy, and suddenly decide to skip forward or back in time to focus on another area of his past. It's an approach that, when done badly (which this most certainly is not) is outwardly bad. Kristoff manages to get it blending seamlessly so the different periods of time don't feel jarring or shoe-horned.

I enjoyed this audio book so much that the twenty-seven hours simply sped by and the only real negative I have is, after said twenty-seven hours of storytelling, we are treated to the line 'a fine night's work' ... just how long are these nights? Damian Lynch worked his magic upon this to the point where, were we a few hundred years in the past, he'd be checked for witch craft. His narration was brilliant and each and every character was brought to life incredibly well. Top marks for the performance and piece overall.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Thumper
  • 03-21-22

Usual Dark Fantasy

I really wanted to rate this book as excellent but unfortunately it settled down into the usual fantasy trope, I've listened to a lot of books in this genre and the majority just turn into hours of grim dialogue, the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are classics because there is a quest and things happen along the way, it's called a story and not hour after hour of characters telling everyone how evil and corrupt the world is. Go somewhere and do something, that's what it needs...

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  • more
  • 11-07-21

started good, unfortunately

starts like the name of the wind,
keeps on avoiding being a Mia covere 2 being harry potter, which is a relief.
tries hard to be as trash as one can be with only words at one's disposal. which is far from mature.
then traces the moral blueprint for three whole tomes. which means no surprises with the characters, and all that is left to the reader, like in never night, is an impossible and grotesque buff of the main protagonists, and their motives. which is a bore.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kimberly Nash
  • 10-11-21

Intense and Dangerously Dark

Wow, I'm an emotional mess after that intense experience 😳 this book had everything I was hoping it would.

Darkness and pain
Sex and death
Vampires and Slayers

very happy I managed to read the whole thing, it did take me a few days to get through.

definitely worth the read 📚

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-09-21

Wow

What a story.
I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through.
So clever, funny and exciting.
Just love it. Can’t wait for the next one.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Claire Humphrey (Booksnink)
  • 10-05-21

The masterpiece everyone needs to read

I have waited so long for this book and now that it is here and I have read it twice; it is the perfect book and it is Mister Kristoff’s finest writing to date. This was phenomenal. Recommend to anyone over the age of 18

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. S. M. Elliott
  • 09-30-21

stunning

After such a long book I am desperate for the next. There is just so much left of this story to tell. The telling in three different timelines takes a bit to get used to, but it works. A special mention has to be made for the narrator it's like he was born to read this book, with such a powerful voice.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Skittykitty
  • 09-25-21

Breathtaking. A Epic tale.

Jay Kristoff is a master story teller. you need to read this book. it is the best vampire book ever written.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Carl Johnson
  • 09-23-21

Loved it! More please

Can't wait for more in the series to come out. Loved it. Great characters. main character very well made, with a troubled past, a great anti-hero. Very emotional in places.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cosmo
  • 10-05-21

Hmmm

although i did enjoy it and the religious themes, I dont understant why he chose to write in homophobia, the same outcome could have been achieved

6 people found this helpful

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  • Aaron Lavack
  • 11-29-21

Well plotted, but terribly written.

The basic set up for the story is pretty cool - the work is stuck in a permanent dusk, allowing vampires to multiply and take over. In captivity, the last and greatest of the silver saints - an order of faux-catholic half-vampire vampire hunters - narrates the tale of how he became the man who slew the vampire king to his vampire captors’ historian before they execute him.
Unfortunately the quality of the prose is workmanlike at best. In places it was so bad that I had to take a break from listening for a few days. And more than once I came close to returning it.
In some places this just meant the book felt like a badly scripted movie, but in others it made it hard to invest in the characters as they felt like 13 year olds cos-playing as ‘badass’ vampire hunters.
There were also a good number of instances where Kristoff asks the reader to believe some really stupid stuff about the world. Potatoes grow fine in this dusk world, but every other plant has been over-run with fungus, etc.
Despite these problems, I made it through to the end, and I’m even tempted to get the next book. Kristoff made the world just interesting enough, and the plot just twisty enough to overcome the book’s other limitations.
So, if you’re not too fussy about the quality of prose, and you’re happy to go along for the ride without examining the world you’re travelling through too closely, then Empire of the Vampire might be worth your time.

4 people found this helpful

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  • lisa
  • 09-21-21

AHHHMAZING

One word Amazing! Buy it I promise you wont regret it the story is fantastic I laughed I cried and I laughed a bit more. Damian Lynch did the most amazing job bringing the story to life.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-25-21

Awesome.

Awesome story. Finished it in a few days. Can’t wait until the next one comes out. For me this was a mash up of The Witcher, Name of the Wind and Blade. Full of action and never left you bored or wanting to skip parts. This is my first book by Jay Kristoff but will definitely dive into his others.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-02-21

Don't waste your time

The writing is awful, the key themes are derivative & repeat endlessly; don't bother.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tina Verhey
  • 11-15-21

poorly written

being a lover of horror i thought I would enjoy this book. the first book was interesting and held my attention although I grew tired of the sarcasm hoping that the writer would start actually writing and not just use a heap of sarcasm to continue the story. I made it into chapter 3 of the second book before I found it a waste of time. this story could have been so much more had the writer used less sarcastic bullshit .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kristie
  • 10-09-21

Fang-tasticly written and perfectly narrated

Another brilliant action driven story by Jay Kristoff. Best novel I've ever encountered meshing fantasy and vampires.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Carlo
  • 09-12-22

Epic fantasy novel.

I enjoyed every minute of this. Listened to it every chance I got. I loved the originality of the lore around the Silver Saints Order. Its going to be hard waiting for Book 2.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-03-22

Amazing! Such a great story!

A book that will hook you from the beginning and that will make you feel hate, pride, lust, sadness, hope, and laughter.
The accents, voices, and emotions on each sentence enunciated by the narrator, make of this audiobook a delightful experience.
Despite being a fantasy book, it addresses situations some people can relate to. Baffling with the moral dilemma of the religious beliefs, back in the days of the holy inquisition, and that uncertainty in faid that people might experience nowadays.
Can't wait to listen or read the next materials of this collection!

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  • manga_me_over
  • 06-23-22

leaches

Great book. I enjoyed how the book went from past to present. The characters development was great and I really liked the way he showed character development.