The Clan Novel Saga: Brujah


Clan Novel: Brujah covers the action of the third phase of the war between the Sabbat and Camarilla, focusing on events between October 14 and November 11 of 1999. It is Book 11 in the original clan novel saga, and was published in April 2000. It was written by Gherbod Fleming, who provided five of the thirteen novels in the set.

The Sabbat is preparing to assault and take over Baltimore. We primarily follow the Brujah Archon, Theo Bell, who leads the patrols and defense teams. His boss, the Brujah Justicar Pascek, shows up to help root out the mole “Lucius” who has been feeding plans to the Sabbat. Through blinds, double-feints, and false information, the treachery and chicanery is cranked to 10 with the revelation of “Lucius” – this ploy is effective, as his identity was hidden from nearly all the characters, not just the reader.

Between the takedown of “Lucius” and the strategic withdrawal in front of the Sabbat war packs, this book delivers on the promise of lots of monster punching and some of the best action of the series. With the chatter among the troops, we also get some of the brightest moments of humor that provide that cathartic moment of release before plunging back into danger.

“Yankees suck shit, man.”

Theo cocked his head. “You lose money on the Braves or something?”

“Hey,” said Frankie who was jogging up with Christoph right then, “is it true that Greg Maddux is one of us?”

“How the hell would he pitch day games, you moron?” Lydia snapped.

“Sunblock?”

This was a nice bit of humor that evokes the time and helps make the world feel real – in 1999, the Braves lost the World Series to the Yankees (a repeat performance of the 1996 World Series.) [1]

Between the fights are a number of other scenes of that evoke pathos. Theo Bell struggles with a conscripted army and individuals who aren’t pulling their weight and leaving holes in the patrol pattern. He struggles with the strategic sacrifices that are required, while maintaining a brave face to preserve morale. There’s a brutal scene where Theo Bell interacts with a hooker who provides him with blood. It’s a quiet moment that explores race, class, and predatory cultures – supernatural and non – and how the cycle will continue regardless of idealism.

This book also advances the plot with The Eye of Hazimel and the divination left behind by The Prophet of Gehenna. The message is shown to the resident Malkavians in Baltimore, whereupon they promptly go mad and destroy themselves. This is the best use of the clan’s madness in the entire saga, and cranks up the imminent and existential threat posed by the artifact.

There are a handful of things that don’t quite work. The Sabbat leader in Washington, D.C. goes off the deep end, trying to utilize blood magic to birth a child. Unfortunately, this neither builds on nor pays off a theme. It’s just a weird thing that happens, making the Sabbat organization vulnerable. By merely having it serve a serendipitous plot purpose, there’s a missed opportunity to show us something more meaningful.

Another entry in the catalog of missed opportunities is the Brujah Archon Julius. He was captured in Atlanta and unceremoniously hauled off to be tortured at the same time as Victoria. However, we don’t see him come up again except in a stray mention, and there’s only one book left. He didn’t surface in the fight in the CSX Yard in the Malkavian book. Archon Theo Bell and Justicar Pascek do not seem to be perturbed by a major asset being missing, nor do they appear particularly motivated to avenge what is likely an off-screen death.

Even with these two sour notes (one on-screen and one off), this remains one of the better efforts in the saga. While it doesn’t particularly stand alone, it contains the essential core of the final act.


[1] Also lamenting the losses of the Braves is PseudoPod author Aeryn Rudel. If you want to see how a vampire can play baseball, we recommend going to the back catalog and checking out his story, PseudoPod Episode 509: “Night Games.”


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