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Literature / Adrift Trilogy

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The Adrift series is a horror trilogy written by K.R. Griffiths, focused on an ancient conflict between humans and ancient creatures.

Newlyweds Dan and Elaine Bellamy have booked the honeymoon of a lifetime, boarding the world's largest luxury cruise liner for its maiden voyage. After struggling with his Agoraphobia for two years, Dan is looking forward to celebrating his progress and the beginning of their new life together. But the honeymoon takes a bizarre and terrifying turn, when he witnesses someone throwing a body overboard.

With 3000 souls on board, the Oceanus becomes the target of an ancient evil.

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The first novel provides examples of:

  • Action Survivor: Dan, Elaine, Katie, and Mark are all fairly normal people facing extraordinary circumstances.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The vampires are ancient horrors that revel in death, destruction, and suffering.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Certain families have upheld a pact with the creatures since ancient times, hiding their existence from the world and providing sacrifices when necessary.
  • Ate His Gun: Security Chief Steven Vega chooses a bullet over facing the creatures again.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Herb repeatedly warns the other survivors that killing themselves is preferable to being caught by the creatures. He advises them to save at least one bullet for themselves, just in case.
  • Brown Note: Humans that meet the gaze of a vampire are driven insane, and often wet themselves or worse.
  • Cool Boat: The Oceanus, a brand new luxury cruise ship designed to be the largest in the world. Fitting out with all the latest gadgets and luxuries, with an enormous park at the center and 12 decks filled with entertainment or fine cuisine for the passengers.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Vampires get very creative with killing, especially after they've already eaten their fill. Victims are forced to mutilate themselves, kill others, or tortured by the creatures until they either die from shock or the vampire gets bored.
  • Damsel in Distress: Elaine gets lost on the ship, with Dan desperately trying to find and rescue her.
  • Darkness Equals Death: The vampires are nocturnal creatures, and take full advantage of the darkness on the ship.
  • Death of a Child: Near the end of the novel, Edgar and Dan stumble across a door leading to the nursery and play area. It's clear that a massacre took place inside, but all that can be seen is a single child's arm visible through the open door.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: The legends state vampires cannot be killed. Dan killing two indicates there is something special about him.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Dan kills two vampires with nothing but a meat cleaver, and a lot of angry screaming.
  • Driven to Suicide: The vampires can force humans to kill themselves, and enjoy doing so. Others simply choose suicide over a slower death at the creatures' hands.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The vampires, horrific creatures that are like a mixture of a insect, a reptile, and a humanoid. Humans tend to go mad just from seeing them.
  • EMP: One is used to cripple the ship, knocking out everything on the ship. No communication, no engines, and no lights....
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: The vampire that killed Elaine is hacked into unrecognizable pieces by Dan.
  • Gorn: Vampire victims are typically not left intact, and it's often graphically described.
  • Gutted Like a Fish: Poor, poor Katie is disemboweled and shown their insides before being finished off.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Edgar stays behind to secure the container's lock, ensuring that Dan and Herb will have a chance to make it off the ship.
  • Hope Spot:
    • Elaine hears the vampire moving off, and tries to make a run for it. The vampire is actually waiting just outside, and throwing things to lure her out of hiding.
    • Dan and Edgar arrive as a vampire is attacking Elaine. The creature acknowledges them, and allows Dan to begin pleading with it......then rips Elaine's head off and laughs.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Oceanus is the location of a massive sacrifice, to appease an ancient man-eating species.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Meeting a vampire's gaze puts the human completely under their control.
  • The Immune: Dan is immune to the creatures' powers, allowing him to kill them.
  • It Can Think: The vampires are initially mistaken for animals, until they begin demonstrating humanoid intelligence and speaking to their victims.
  • Laughing Mad: A typical response to humans that have seen a vampire is to start laughing hysterically as their minds are destroyed.
  • Lightning Reveal: A thunderstorm at sea provides limited illumination, allowing the characters to catch a glimpse of the vampires.
  • Kill It with Fire: Mark and Herb decide that burning the ship is as good a plan as any. The vampire pursuing them laughs at their attempt, walking through the flames unharmed.
  • Living MacGuffin: After Dan proves immune to mind control, it becomes clear he is very important to humanity's survival.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Edgar is horrified when he realizes the vampires can be killed, meaning they have been serving innocents up to the creatures when they could have been fighting.
  • Off with His Head!: Elaine is decapitated by a vampire.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The creatures inspired the myths, but there is very little similarly between them and the blood-drinking Undead in popular media.
  • Police Are Useless: Downplayed. The security on board the Oceanus do their best to handle the crisis, but quickly find themselves completely overwhelmed. They expected nothing worse than a couple of drunken fights and maybe a theft or two, leaving them ill-equipped and unprepared for an EMP attack and ancient horrors crawling on board to eat the passengers.
  • Rule of Three: There are three vampires on board the Oceanus.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Herb spends much of the story attempting to help and save Mark, including heroically carrying him up several flights of stairs while injured. Then Herb stops to rest, and realizes that the explosion hadn't knocked Mark unconscious — it broke his neck. He'd been slowing down his escape by carrying a corpse to safety.
  • Sinking Ship Scenario: Destroying the ship to hide the evidence is part of the plan, requiring the survivors to escape before it explodes and sinks.
  • To Serve Man: Vampires seem to exclusively feed on humans.
  • The Unfavorite: Herbert Rennick, the youngest brother. His doubts about their "sacred duty" puts him at odds with the rest of the family.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Rennick brothers, who target the Oceanus to maintain the truce.

     Adrift: Sundown 

The second novel provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: Conny shoots another officer in a panic, while lost and alone in the London Underground.
  • Action Mom: Conny, a police officer and single mother.
  • America Saves the Day: Downplayed. The American branch of the Order sends a special team to England to retrieve Dan, but they don't fare particularly well. Their plane, on the other hand, ends up being used by the survivors to escape the country.
  • And I Must Scream: The vampires make copious usage of human pawns, who are trapped within their own minds and can only helplessly watch their bodies commit horrific acts of violence.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Dan manages to kill several vampires over the course of the novel, but each time takes an increasingly-brutal toll on his body and mind. And ultimately, it won't stop the larger horde or save London, merely allow the survivors a chance to flee.
  • The Chosen One: Dan Bellamy, accidental vampire killer and Hermetic. Herb repeatedly questions whether he actually is special, or not.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: K-9 Remy, a police dog that serves as an early warning system for nearby vampires.
  • Fragile Speedster: The lone woman on Mancini's team is notably the fastest by far, outrunning her larger and stronger comrades on every occasion.
  • Gender Rarity Value: It's estimated that there are 9 females for every 1 male vampire, making them very rare and precious to the species.
  • Ill Boy: Logan, a teenager with Huntington's Disease.
  • The Lost Lenore: Elaine Bellamy, Dan's wife that died aboard the Oceanus.
  • Mama Bear: Conny is fiercely protective of her son, quickly deciding that nothing matters but getting him out alive.
  • Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted, both in terms of character deaths and a major plot point. The Three that died on the Oceanus were the males from the London Nest. Because of their rarity, the females of the nest launch a brutal attack on humanity to take revenge.
  • Monumental Damage: Several notable London landmarks become the sights of massacres and destruction, such as The Eye, the London Underground, the modern London Bridge, and The Shard.
  • More Deadly Than the Male: The vampires are a matriarchy, with females outnumbering the males. When provoked into leaving the nest, the females prove deadlier than their lost mates.
  • Police Are Useless: Downplayed. As soon as incidents start occurring in the London Underground, the entire Metropolitan police force mobilizes to respond to what they believe are terrorist attacks. Unfortunately for them, it's a trap to lure them underground so the vampires can wipe them out before beginning their attack on London.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: Dan suffers this and worse from using his rapidly-growing powers.
  • Tears of Blood: Another symptom of Dan over-extending his powers, said to be the blood vessels around his eyes bursting.
  • Telepathy: The ability shared by vampires and Hermetics alike, allowing them to steal the minds of their victims. The vampires also possess a Hive Mind, connecting them together and allowing them to sense each other over long distances.
  • The Tower: The Shard, the tallest building in London. The surviving characters take refuge in an apartment owned by the Rennicks, but quickly discover that their safe haven will soon be invaded. They are forced to escape down 60+ floors in the dark, fleeing from vampires the whole way.
  • You Are in Command Now: Herb becomes the leader of the British branch of the Order, after his father's death. He struggles with suddenly being forced into leadership.
  • Vasquez Always Dies: Mama Bear Conny makes it out alive, while the female member of Mancini's team is the last person killed.

     Adrift: Rising 

The third novel provides examples of:

  • America Saves the Day: Averted. America is just as devastated by attacks as the rest of the world, and cooperation between British and American survivors is necessary to survive.
  • Apocalypse How: A Class 1, with chaos and destruction seen around the world. Society has not been totally destroyed, but infrastructure has been critically damaged and it will take a long time to recover.
  • Bigger Bad: The Black River.
  • The Chosen Many: Dan isn't as unique as he thought, but merely the first Hermetic to encounter a vampire in recent times. Evidence indicates that there are many more like him in the world, simply unaware of their own abilities. Logan proves to be a budding Hermetic, still too weak to overpower a vampire but able to resist its commands.
  • Death of a Child: Played straight repeatedly, and often in graphic fashion. The vampires not only slaughter them, but also gleefully engage in psychological warfare by using children as weapons.
  • Disability Superpower /Disability Immunity: Hermetics are theorized to be humans with neurological conditions or chemical imbalances, rendering them resistant or immune to the vampires' psychic powers. When a vampire takes control of him, Logan is able to resist it's commands as a result of early-stage Huntington's Disease.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Black River, an ancient evil that dwells beneath Yellowstone National Park in the form of a literal inky-black river flowing backwards.
  • Emotion Bomb: Dan hits the Black River with everything he's been through and felt, essentially tearing it apart with all the grief, fear, rage, and despair he's experienced.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: In the finale, Conny blindfolds herself and uses Remy to hunt down the vampire lurking somewhere in the shelter.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Dan, Herb, Mancini, and Conny have formed unlikely friendships as a result of everything they've been through together.
  • The Hero Dies: Dan's powers are slowly destroying him from the inside out, and he sacrifices himself to destroy the Black River.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The more he uses his powers, the less human Dan seems to become. His willingness to use mind control on other humans and kill to achieve his goals leaves everyone questioning whether he can be trusted.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Vampires sometimes force their human pawns to consume human flesh, eating themselves or others. This is theorized to be the origin of myths about vampires are Undead Humans that drink blood.
  • Monster Progenitor: The Black River is both the "god" and the creator of the vampires.
  • Monumental Damage: The Hoover Dam, LAX, and numerous icons of Las Vegas are destroyed.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Conny rescues a teenage girl that refused to leave her dying twin behind. She knows the girl will always hate her for saving her life. The girl's twin turns up at the shelter and convinces her to open the door, letting the vampire controlling her inside....
  • Phlebotinum Killed the Dinosaurs: The Black River was responsible for the extinction of the dinosaurs, and seems to be an ancient force that seeks to extinguish life.
  • Police Are Useless: Initially, law enforcement and the military are utterly overwhelmed by the vampire attacks because they simply don't know what they're dealing with. Once the characters arrive to share information, they don't believe the full story.....but end up allowing them to assist in a mission in order to prove their claims. Thanks to this, Dan is able to obtain the location of the Black River. The soldiers take him right to Yellowstone, and hold the line until he's able to destroy it.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Humanity has been dealt a devastating blow, with millions dead and infrastructure around the world in ruins. But the Black River has been destroyed, and Herb's group has uncovered several key weaknesses that will allow humanity to eventually turn the tide and hopefully win.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Conny risks her life to save as many people as possible at the Ranch, directing them to safety and holding off the vampire as long as possible. The last survivor she rescues is later tricked into opening the shelter's door, allowing the vampire to enter and slaughter most (if not all) the survivors Conny rescued.
  • Taking You with Me: Dan throws himself into the physical manifestation of the Black River, and uses the last of his strength to kill it.
  • Weakened by the Light: Herb notices that while vampires are not harmed by light, they still avoid it whenever possible and will take out light sources immediately. He realizes this is because their psychic powers only work in the dark. Light evens the playing field, allowing humans to fight back without fear of mind control.


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