Literature / The Tome of Bill
A series written by Rick Gualtieri.
Super-dork Bill Ryder, after a chance encounter on the subway and a series of unfortunate events, finds himself enjoying the night life.
So now he's a vampire. Not just any vampire, but the legendary Freewill, which propels him unwillingly into high circles of the vampire society, all the while earning him more enemies than he knows what to do with. Backed by his two roommates, Ed and Tom, and Femme Fatale
Sally, he tries to lead something like a normal life while being pursued by assassins, wizards and people he just generally pisses off.
The books in the series are:
- Bill the Vampire (2011)
- Scary Dead Things (2011)
- The Mourning Woods (2012)
- Holier Than Thou (2013)
- Sunset Strip, described by the author as "book 4.5", which focuses entirely on Sally. (2013)
- Goddamned Freaky Monsters (2014)
- Half A Prayer (2015)
- The Wicked Dead (2015)
This series provides examples of:
- Asshole Victim: Lots and lots. In Sunset Strip nearly everyone who dies deserved it in some way.
- Bad Ass: All over the place. Most vampires of note are this in spades, but in particular:
- Alexander, leader of the First Coven. Two thousand year old vampire. Oh and also Alexander the Great, one of history's greatest conquerors.
- James. Six hundred some odd years old, one of the few people to have earned Bill's genuine respect simply by being badass rather than being a "Kill first, ask questions later" asshole. He ascends to the First Coven at the end of "The Mourning Woods".
- Gansetseng. Three hundred year old Psychopathic Manchild who happens to be a fan of Spongebob Squarepants, who nonetheless thumbs her nose at the First Coven, proclaiming the superiority of her parentage and single-handedly rules over most of Asia. She's the granddaughter of Genghis Khan, so Bad Ass is pretty much runs in the family for her.
- Vehron, also known as the Destroyer, the Render, the Hater of All Life, the Sun Strider and many other nicknames besides. Older than Alexander, he effortlessly shrugs off every assault Bill and others throw at him, including being pumped full of enough silver bullets to dust a dozen lesser vamps. He's got a long and storied history as one of the vampire nation's most powerful generals, personally credited with killing two Icons. Oh yeah, and he's a Freewill.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The Alma. They're actually forest spirits, they just choose to take the form of quote "giant shit flinging apes".
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer:
- The reason James puts up with Colin despite Colin being a smarmy buttkisser who sells out anyone that doesn't outrank him at the drop of a hat. Colin is an extremely competent and very loyal assistant who has a knack for making sense of the vampire nation's labyrinthine records.
- Bill himself is this. His (frequently) noted tendency to screw things up is tolerated because he gets the job done, and he is the Freewill after all.
- Charm Person: Vampires have the ability to compel younger vampires, and weak-willed humans. The Freewill gets its name from its immunity to this effect.
- The Chosen One: Bill as the Freewill and Sheila, as the Icon.
- The Chosen Many: There have been many Freewills and Icons down through the ages. It seems that Alexander is keeping all of the surviving Freewills captive.
- Church Militant: The Knights Templar show up in book 4.
- Daywalking Vampire: Freewills all have unique abilities aside from the standard ones. Vehron's was the ability to walk in the sun for up to an hour.
- Deadpan Snarker: Sally non-stop. Bill proves to be excellent fodder for snark.
- Femme Fatale: Sally, full stop.
- Full-Frontal Assault: The Alma don't wear clothes, so tend to use this trope liberally.
- Hand Cannon: Sally carries around a Desert Eagle.
- Historical-Domain Character: It's implied that all of the First Coven are this. There's Alexander as in, Alexander the Great and The Khan (actually Ogedei Khan, Genghis' son). "Joshua" is all but directly stated to actually be Jesus.
- Holier Than Thou: Book 4's name aside, the Templars seem to have a number of these.
- Holy Burns Evil: Actually, it doesn't. It's all about faith. If a person believes whole-heartedly in the holiness of God and his symbols, then a cross would work just fine. But if they don't have enough faith, it won't do diddly. This effect can be applied to anything that a person has enough faith in, be it a cross or a ham sandwich; Tom imbues a first generation Optimus Prime doll...uh...collectible with this effect. Additionally, there are the very rare people called Icons, whose faith in themselves is so great that they become a Walking Wasteland to the supernatural. Icons have a variety of unspecified powers.
- I Hate You, Vampire Dad: Mark in Sunset Strip. He was Sally's boyfriend when she was still human and she accidentally killed him when she first became a vampire, and didn't know how to feed without turning the victim.
- Jerkass: Most vampires tend towards this, but Jeff and Colin stand out.
- The Magnificent: Vehron, also known as the Destroyer, the Render, the Hater of All Life, the Sun Strider and many other nicknames besides.
- Morality Pet: Bill becomes one for Sally. Sally is not amused.
- Mugging the Monster: Sally picks up a barfly in Sunset Strip, and he tries to rape her. Things go downhill from there.
- Noodle Incident: Bill's weekly Dungeons & Dragons game. When Bill failed to show up (on account of having been killed and turned into a vampire) the GM had his character captured by "a tribe of sexually repressed ogres".
- The Nose Knows: As vampires have enhanced senses, they naturally fall into this trope, being able to track scents for huge distances.
- Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The First Coven.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Well, yeah. But even in-universe there are two types. Your regular run of the mill vampire and the mythical Freewill, who can feed on the blood of other vampires (which regular vampires can't do) and add their strength onto his own as well as being immune to Compulsion. Also comes with a Super Mode that's been mentioned a few times but never given any great deal of description.
- Our Zombies Are Different: They're rank and file White Collar Workers for vampires.
- People Jars: Alexander has a whole closet full of these. It's suggested they're all Freewills.
- Power Copying: One of the abilities of the Freewill is to drink the blood of other vampires and add their strength to his own.
- Pregnant Badass: Though Christy is visibly pregnant she kicks nearly as much ass as Sally in Sunset Strip.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: James's assistant Colin in general, but just about any vampire will switch to ass-kissing mode at the merest hint of the First Coven.
- Psychopathic Manchild:
- Gansetseng. She's actually over three hundred years old, but she was turned when she was just twelve and hasn't physically aged since, and has barely aged emotionally thanks to her "father" (actually her some odd great-grandfather) treating her like a child for all her life.
- Jeff is a more typical example of the trope, acting incredibly childish and having exaggerated opinion of himself, and throwing a fit whenever he doesn't get his way.
- Red Baron: Per Jeff's policy, all the vampires have such a name. Jeff is Night Razor and Bill is Dr Death and so on. Bill dispenses with this policy immediately after killing Jeff.
- Sarcastic Devotee: Sally to Bill.
- Shout-Out: Numerous. Bill, Tom and Ed are gigantic nerds. Most prominently, Optimus Prime figures into Jeff's demise.
- Silver Bullet: Silver and vampire blood do not mix. It interferes with vampiric healing abilities.
- Skewed Priorities: When Tom is brainwashed in Holier Than Thou, is it a threat to his girlfriend that snaps him out of it? A threat to his best friend since grade school? No. It's a threat to his action figure collection that does the trick.
- Smug Snake: Another trait vampires tend to cultivate. Also, Harry Decker, who's a wizard.
- Stronger with Age: Vampires.
- Super Senses: Vampires have stronger senses than humans, and it gets stronger with age.
- Theme Naming: Bill lampshades the tendency for wizards to be named "Harry" citing Harry Decker, Harry Potter, Harry Dresden and Harry Houdini.
- Underestimating Badassery: In Sunset Strip Marlene thinks just because she knew Sally when Sally was still human that she's better than Sally. Sally disabuses her of this notion quickly.
- Unfazed Everyman: Ed to a certain extent. Though he does react to the big things, he takes most everything else - including discovering that Bill is a vampire - in stride.
- Unfortunate Names: The Alma seem to lean in this direction via Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle. Between Turd and Muff, it's hard to doubt Gualtieri is doing this on purpose.
- Your Vampires Suck: Towards Anne Rice and Twilight.