The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Brian Stableford’s The Empire of Fear tells the story of an alternate reality in which vampires control most of the world, relegating humans to lives of servitude. The plot revolves around the efforts of scientist Noell Cordery and his allies to discover the secrets of vampirism and obtain them for humanity. Noell and his comrades succeed in their mission, which radically alters the balance of power in the world. Stableford does not reveal the extent of those alterations until the novels final section.

The story begins in 1623, with an account of the last days of Edmund Cordery. He is Noell’s father and works as a scientist for Richard the Lionheart, the vampire ruler of England. In his quest to find the secrets of vampirism, Edmund invents the microscope, which allows him to examine blood closely. He knows that his efforts to help humanity fight the vampires will result in his death. In an effort to weaken their power, Edmund infects himself with a virus from Africa that he hopes will kill his vampire lover, Lady Carmilla Bourdillon. His gambit succeeds, and before he dies he ensures that his wife and son are helped to safety in France.

The story continues in France two years later. Noell has sought refuge at Cardigan Abbey, a Benedictine monastery sympathetic to the human cause. He lives there quietly with his fellow scholar, Quintus, until the arrival of Langoisse, a pirate and former ally of Prince Richard, with his crew of...

(The entire section is 574 words.)