Savage Legacies—Untangling the Threads of ‘Judgment of Blood’

Published 22 Jan 2024
by Anca Antoci

Title: Judgment of Blood
Author: Timothy Black
Released: 22.01.2024
Buy from Amazon
4.20 (read)
Our review:
5.00 (read)

I want to note that this is the second book in a series, and I haven’t read the first one. Despite that, I found it thoroughly enjoyable. The author skillfully crafted it to stand alone, yet it concludes with a cliffhanger, so be prepared for that.

Book description from the back cover

In 1890, a disease that turned sane men into ravenous werewolves swept through the United States like wildfire. On the brink of humanity’s extinction, Nikola Tesla and a mysterious order of scientists known as the Tellurians revealed a bold the uninfected would abandon the Earth’s surface by rising up in floating salvation cities, iron and steel metropolises that carried tens of thousands of refugees above the savage apocalypse. The remnants of mankind huddled fearfully in the clouds, waiting for the werewolves to devour each other.

Twenty years later, beasts still rule the world below and now only the salvation city of Wardenclyffe remains aloft. But a telluric deadzone has caught Wardenclyffe in its riptide, forcing it toward airspace where its miraculous machinery will no longer function. Elijah Kelly, an infected Thunder Train crewman exiled to the ground, ranges ahead of his beloved home, determined to keep it safe no matter the cost. Desperate to neutralize the deadzone before the flying city crashes, Eli discovers a brutal humanity still exists on the ground, paying a terrible vampiric price for their survival.

Faced with an impossible choice between sacrificing thousands of innocent lives or betraying the rebels fighting for their freedom against an oppressive regime, Eli is forced to rely on an unlikely ally lurking deep within his own blood, his only hope if he wishes to defy the inevitable.

My Review

I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, although it gets pretty dark and gory at times, so be warned. Judgment of Blood takes place in an alternate early 20th century, where men turn into werewolves due to a widespread disease, leading Tesla and the Tellurians to build salvation cities in the sky. Two decades later, only Wardenclyffe remains airborne, threatened by a deadzone.

It’s a unique blend of steampunk and paranormal (werewolves and vampires). That reminds of Anna Mocikat’s Shadow City, which is a cyberpunk noir in a post-apocalyptic world that also has vampires.

Elijah Kelly, an infected Thunder Train crewman exiled to the ground, ventures ahead of his airborne refuge. Facing the imminent crash of Wardenclyffe, Eli grapples with an impossible choice: sacrifice thousands of innocent lives or betray rebels fighting against an oppressive regime. In this dire situation, Eli must rely on an unexpected ally hidden deep within his own blood — the only hope of defying the inevitable.

What sets “Judgment of Blood” apart is its diverse and compelling cast of characters, each a vibrant addition to the unfolding drama. Black deftly handles the complexities of their relationships, breathing life into their personalities. Yet, if you scratch beneath the surface, you will find a story that delves into profound and haunting themes. The exploration of slavery and racism, intertwined with elements of torture and cannibalism, propels the story beyond traditional boundaries, boldly stepping into the realm of horror. It’s this daring fusion of engaging storytelling and thematic depth that makes “Judgment of Blood” not just a tale of the supernatural but a thought-provoking exploration of humanity in the face of the monstrous.

If you don’t shy away from darker stories and enjoy steampunk fantasy and sci-fi, this is one of those series you don’t want to miss out on.


*This review was first published in Hooked on Books on Medium. I write for a variety of Medium publications on topics like productivity, mindset, books, writing techniques and more. So for content other than fantasy, check out my opinions on Medium.

Our final verdict: