Vampires are becoming reckless and not adapting to new technology. Humans are starting to learn of their existence by catching proof of them with cell phone video and spotting them on security cameras. Some vampires are so afraid of being caught on camera that they are starving themselves and going insane. The vampire council has to do something to keep the vampires hidden from humans and the answer lies in a game of chess.
Back in ancient Rome, humans discovered the existence of vampires because vampires fed on humans out in the open. Humans started hunting vampires to the point of extinction. It was decided that a game of chess would be played in the Roman Colosseum with living pieces. Humans versus vampires, when a piece is taken on either side, a human or vampire gets killed. The winning side got to decide what would be best for humans or vampires. The vampire side won, so the humans stopped hunting them and vampires went back into hiding.
Flash forward to the present day as the same problem is starting . The Vampires decide to have a life or death chess match in an abandoned warehouse in Detroit. If a vampire dies in the game he is killed with solar-powered weapons and if a human is killed he is slaughtered and drank dry by vampires in a dungeon below the life-size chess board. The winning side gets to decide the fate of all vampires.
Eternal Kingdom by Michele Roger is a simple concept with a complex story. There are several vampires and humans involved in the chess match and they all have their own agenda. Some are in the game for vengeance, some for fun, others for love and a few were forced in and just want to survive. The only bad thing about this book is that there was almost to many characters with complex stories. The main story in Eternal Kingdom is excellent but every character has a back story and I wish the book was longer to give more time to each one.
My favorite characters on the human side were Robby and Rose. Robby is a soccer player who had an accident and has found his world turned upside down as he tries to rebuild and Rose is a nurse with terminal cancer who has a lot to gain from a chess match. Both of these characters change throughout the story and they are the most sympathetic in Eternal Kingdom. On the vampire side I liked Ruth and Micah. Both characters come across as evil like you want vampires to be but Micah has issues letting his human side go and it makes him an interesting character.
As a fan of vampire fiction, Eternal Kingdom is the kind of book that screams buy me. This book is part horror with some gruesome death scenes and part urban fantasy with vampires and humans going at each other gladiator style as part of a chess match. I liked the description of the weapons used in battle and the vampires below the arena wanting a taste of blood. People into playing chess will also like this book, I’ve never read a story where a game of chess was showcased and It made me want to learn how to play. Michele Roger has done a good job of creating some great characters in this book and I hope she writes a sequel so I can see more of them.