In order to save a friend's life, Wyr sentinel Rune Ainissesthai made a pact with Carling Severan - without knowing what she would ask in return. Now the time has come for this First Sentinel to fulfill his obligation. Of course, Dragos, Lord of the Wyr, is not happy, but a magical debt is legally binding. With luck, the former Vampyre Queen would not demand anything from Rune that would take the massive gryphon decades, if not centuries, to accomplish. Yet when Rune appears before Carling, he finds an ailing woman on the edge.
Carling is dying. There comes a time in all vampyres' lives (if something does not kills them first) when they begin to suffer from periodic episodes and their minds drift off. Carling has spent over two hundred years studying the phenomenon, researching for its cause and a possible cure. All in vain. Carling's Power has become erratic and her episodes are increasing in severity and frequency. Most of her followers have fled in fear. Other than a dog and one of her youngest progenies, Carling is alone on her island.
Though Carling tosses away the debt Runes owes and releases him from their bargain, Rune simply cannot bring himself to leave. Regardless of the risk, Rune decides to help Carling find a cure for whatever the disease is that is killing her. Rune is very attracted to the dangerous vampyre. To be honest, Rune likes her penchant for violence. He finds is exciting. And even a handsome, immortal shifter can never be conceited while Carling is around.
Rune brings the talented pathologist, Dr. Seremela Telemar, in for a private consultation. Seremela is of the Medusa race and often has a unique perspective on her cases. Rune is not the only one pulling strings. The Djinn, Khalil, still owes Carling two more favors. With the very real possibility of her death in the near future, Carling has no need to horde them. Might as well use them while she can.
If all of this is not enough, something odd and dangerous is happening every time Carling has an "episode". (Ahem, I mean whenever she wanders off to feed the bats in her belfry.) Then there is Julian Regillus, King of the Nightkind, who may be willing to risk a war in order to either control Carling or hasten her to her doom. With the entire situation quickly escalating, the sentinel and the former Queen will have to rely on each other is they have any hope of surviving.
**** FOUR STARS! Thea Harrison has created a magnificent world where the night overflows with malevolent intents, yet rare romances can still be found to last for eternity. Both main characters are more dangerous than most in the Elder Races. In fact, Carling seems to ooze danger from her pores and Rune seems to radiate hostility from his aura. Still, the author manages to show a lighter, more flirting and humorous, side to the pair.
The Djinn, Khalil, will be getting his story told next in the book titled, Oracle's Moon (Novel of the Elder Races)
. I am hoping that Dr. Seremela Telemar will have a story sometime in the future. A character that is a combination of a Pathologist and a Medusa is just too juicy to create and NOT dedicate a full length novel for. I found the author's unique take on the snakes, each with individual minds, to be utterly brilliant!
This story is beyond the norm, a story that has eclectic personalities, and high in drama, yet still with some romance (though often a détente-type of romance). No one writes incorrigible characters like Thea Harrison. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.