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When Pandora was chosen by the Greek Gods to protect dimOuniak; a sacred box containing demons too destructive even to be trusted in Hell, other warriors, those that guarded the King of the Gods were left embarrassed. Determined to prove their skills, these Guardians stole the box and unwittingly released the most vile demons imaginable into an unsuspecting world; unable to recapture them as Pandora's box had mysteriously disappeared. In retaliation and to prevent further destruction in the world, the Gods cursed these warriors to each contain a demon within their bodies throughout eternity; creating the Lords of the Underworld.

Maddox is not only cursed to house the spirit of Violence within him, he is further cursed by the Gods for the death of Pandora; slaughtering her unknowingly whilst under the control of his demon. Every night at midnight he is killed by Reyes (who houses the demon Pain) and his soul is escorted to Hell by Lucien (who contains Death). Constantly battling for control over his demon, Maddox is left unable to form any meaningful relationship; always worried that Violence could explode during a moment of heated passion. Yet both he and his demon are destined to meet a very special woman; a woman capable of taming Violence, twisting his darkness into sensuality and his destructive nature into a deep possessiveness. For once Maddox and Violence are in complete agreement; Ashlyn Darrow has captured the heart of both man and demon.

Ashlyn Darrow is utilised by an Institute that studies the paranormal for her ability to hear any conversation ever spoken in any given location, no matter how long ago it was or the language used. Yet she longs for silence and a normal life and searches for someone who could possibly train her to control her gift. Whilst in Budapest she encounters conversations of a group of men with strange abilities so seeks them out hoping they can help her. Unfortunately the men she looks for believe her to be Bait, a beautiful woman used to lure a warrior to his death by a group of mortals known as Hunters. This organisation has one goal only; to destroy the Lords of the Underworld and the demons they contain.

I've got to say this may be GS's best book yet, and that's quite an accomplishment considering how much I have enjoyed her "Atlantis" and "Alien Huntress" series. "The Darkest Night" made me smile, laugh and during one particularly emotive chapter featuring an event Maddox is helpless to prevent; blub like a baby. Ashlyn too faces her own horrors; namely the nightly murder of the man she loves; leaving her determined to break Maddox's curse at any cost.

From the first page, GS skillfully draws the reader into an exciting new paranormal world. Her heroes certainly have their dark sides, Disease, Wrath, Promiscuity, Lies and Disaster amongst others, all with individual torments created by their unbreakable bond to their personal demon. The adventure is none stop as the splintered tribes of the Lords of the Underworld unite to battle the Hunters that stalk them and the romance between Maddox and Ashlyn absolutely perfect; ranging from tender to heartbreaking to blazingly hot in all the right places. I finished the last page of this book with a deep sigh of satisfaction and have already pre-ordered "The Darkest Kiss" (Lucien's story due for pub. June 08) and "The Darkest Pleasure" (Reyes' story due for pub. July 08), whose love interest is introduced in this book.
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on 22 May 2008
The Lords of the Underworld are a band of immortal warriors who have, for thousands of years, fought for the king of gods (Greeks). Insulted that they have not been chosen for the monumental task of guarding a sacred box (Pandora's box), the warriors decide to teach the gods a lesson. They steal the box and set the hordes of demons free. In the fray the box is lost. Thus, the evil can not be returned inside. As punishment for the deed, the individual warriors themselves become the *homes* for the each of the demons. So the demons of Violence, Disease, Death, Pain, Wrath, Promiscuity, Doubt, Lies, Disaster etc. are now inside the warriors forever. Like having a split personality, the demon urges the warrior to do its bidding. They all struggle against the demon inside.

Fast forward to present-
The warriors now live with their curses in Castle high upon a hill in Budapest. They keep to themselves for fear of reeking havoc upon the humans. Their enemies are the *Hunters*, a band of human warriors out to kill all the perceived evil in the world -the lords being their main target.

This book is about the warrior Maddox, who has Violence demon inside. His heroine is Ashyln a human who posses the uncanny ability to hear all the conversations ever made in a particular place. Voices constantly battle inside her head. She seeks the warriors in an effort to silence the voices inside her head. But she gets more than she bargained for......

I admit when I started reading this book I got flashes of Ward's series. But really who wouldn't? - the six warriors living all together, the gods controlling them (scribe virgin), the hunters (lessers), the description of the warriors (ones tattooed, beautiful, scarred etc). Then I realized that I'm doing a complete injustice to this book by thinking this way.

To me this book is more Greek mythological than paranormal. The war these warriors are fighting is mostly within themselves. They are not out to protect anyone else, merely to survive their own curses and possibly get free of them. And frankly I thought that was fascinating. I mean who wouldn't like to read more about a warrior with a compulsion to Lie, one who causes Disasters wherever he goes, one who has to inflict Pain on himself, or one who cannot be touched (anywhere) for fear of causing Disease? And lets not forget Promiscuity. ;)

So, I really enjoyed this book and will definitely be looking out for the sequels. And for those die-hard Black Dagger fans? I say go and read the three chapter excerpt on Showalter's website and decide for yourself.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 January 2010
I'm not going to explain the plot as othes have already done that. However I will explain why I bought this book and what I thought about it.

I have spent the last four months reading and re-reading the entire 'Dark Series' about the Carpathian Race, written by Christmine Feehan. Powerful men under threat of extinction living with the curse of longevity and the prospect of turning vampire if they do not find their one true mate. I tell you this so you understand my constant comparisons.

So, anyway when Amazon recommended this series I decided to give it a go. I read this book in about 4 sittings over about a 36 hour period, fitting in normally daily life around a husband and two demanding you children. It kept me up into the early hours of the morning when it was literally impossible to keep my eyes open another minute. It dragged me from housework and other mundane chores so that whenever anyone needed to find me I would be could be located sprawled across my bed with my nose in the book, or huddled up in a corner having only popped in the room to put some washing away, but enticed to pick it up again.

It bears a resemblence to the Feehan series in that these are powerful, dominant men, warriors, filled with passion, all living under a curse and hoping to find away out of it. This sort of story obviously works for me. But that's where the similarities end...sort of.

I found the book much more graphic, the subtle descriptions of sex that I am used to with CF pushed a little further, although not as much of the page is devoted to the act itself; but there'is no shying away from naming the body parts or descibing certain acts. And I have to say I have no problem with the way either writer express's this, both are equally enjoyable and realistic.

I enjoyed the violence in this book. These warriors are all about muscle and brute strength and weapons. They do not have mystical forces, except where the demon within the warrior calls for it.

The main characters Maddox and Ashlyn are both likeable and frustrating as you long to give each of them a shake at time. And my only critiscm, and it's really small - so ignore it if you want. Is that Ashlyn is a virgin when we meet her and has been raised in an institue for paranormal research, but through her use of romance book and the internet she seems to have developed a kinky side and despite her inexperience she equally matches Maddox's passion and lust in their first mating...I would have expected her to be more shy, but there you are, I said it was only small.

I guess what speaks the most about how much I enjoyed this book, was that I had already purchased the next in the series and within 10 minutes of completing this story, I had started on it!
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on 30 August 2010
After loving the The Black Dagger Brotherhood series, I thought I would try these.
I tried my hardest not to compare the two series, but it was impossible not to! To me this seemed like a weak copy of the the BDB books..too many similarities for them not to be...down to the way she introduces the hero & heroine of the next book in the one you are reading!
There is just no depth to the books..the characters are roughly drawn and very 2d...all the females are incredibly beautiful, incredibly petite, dainty and fragile....and these "qualities" are mentioned practially every time the female appears! (Ditto the dark brooding males)
Other than the graphic..but strangly un-erotic...sex scenes, these books are what I would describe as teen reads...if you love JR ward, you will probably be disappointed in these. I got 3/4 of the way through the second one, and just couldn't be bothered to finish...I just didn't care..mine are going on Ebay
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on 25 May 2008
The Darkest Night is dark, compelling, interesting and passionate; the pacing and characters are flawless. Showalter has created a whole myriad of fascinating characters, now these are my kind of men; scarred, tattooed, blue haired, earring wearing, they are all different and I can't wait to hear each of their stories! But above all the book appears original and fresh and was a real joy to read.

Many mythical beings feature, including the Greek Gods and the Titans; `The Greeks' as their called created immortal warriors in the dawn of time to serve their interests, some of these would become `The Lords of the Underworld'. Showalter also seizes upon the myth of Pandora, rewriting it to good effect. She relates that `The Greeks' entrusted Pandora to guard the dimOuniak a box carved from the bones of a god in which they had trapped the foulest demons in hell. The other immortals feeling spurned captured the box and opened it, hoping to teach the God's a lesson. In an act of vengeance the god's cursed them all to put an end to the mayhem caused by the demons escape thus each had to hold one of the demons inside themselves; violence, death, pain, disease, promiscuity, wrath, doubt, lies, disaster, secrets, misery and defeat. They learnt an important lesson themselves: don't cross the god's. For millenniums they headed this, living in conflict with their demons each other and `hunters', humans bent on destroying their demons and therefore the warriors, but events start to enfold that could mean they'll have to break their own rule.

The book focuses on Maddox or `violence', who lives in eternal conflict with the dark urges of his demon. He's a man not only processed but damned, as he suffers a second curse, placed upon him after he viciously murdered Pandora whilst blinded by violence, he's therefore stabbed six times each night and his spirit is sent to hell by two of his companions (pain and death), where he is burned over and over.

Ashlyn can hear all conversations that have ever been spoken in a location, whilst in Budapest she hears tell of men with strange powers `angels', she travels to their fortress seeking help and meets a fearsome man, covered in blood....who stops the voices. She begs to stay with him but when she reaches the fortress she's confounded and appalled to witness Maddox's death as the night reaches 12. Accused of being a hunter and more specifically bait (a seductress who lure the Lord's into a trap) she's locked away by the other Lord's.

Their attraction to each other is immediate but their story is believable and touching. No fated mates are eluded to here, but you've got to wonder why are they all finding their perfect partners now? But the crux seems to be can man and demon be made whole? Can violence be tamed? And should these rather naughty men find salvation? I think so.

It's important to acknowledge that this does have clichés; strong male, beautiful female consumed by an instant attraction that develops into a powerful love. But the reason this doesn't feel tired is because of the inventiveness and quality of Showalter's writing style and the wonderfully complex and interesting characters. She understands and obviously has a love for the mythology that she is working with. I think it's also interesting that although some aspects may seem simple I think this is intentional as the sources that Showalter uses are in many ways simplified to heighten their resonance; the tortured hero, the against all odds quest, myriad threats, complex foes and fellowship, all of which are present here.

Showalter definitely keeps a few secrets, like what is the meaning of the butterfly tattoos and if you visit her website there's mention of another Lord not in the book, Galen `keeper of Hope'....Hmmm. All the characters are brilliantly complex and a little bit devilish; particularly the Greek Warriors and I love Anya, the goddess of anarchy. There's just the right amount of teasing for future stories as well that will have you obsessing about the next two books, both Reyes and Lucien's heroines are introduced and their stories promise to be very good.
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on 5 January 2017
This was a good start to this series at times I really enjoyed this story and at other times I thought it fell a bit flat but overall it was a decent enough read and I loom forward to reading some if the other demons books
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on 22 October 2012
I did like this novel by Gena Showalter, which is based on one of the Ancient Greek myths and legends, but brought up to contemporary times. These stories were used by the Greeks to explain the world they lived in based on their polytheistic faith. This one is linked to the Warriors who allowed Pandora to open the box that allowed all the demons and evil to be freed in this world. The punishment for the Warriors was they were condemned to carry a demon within as punishment for all eternity.
Based in modern times it brings the story to a medieval castle in Budapest. Basically, it is an unusual romance between damned warrior Maddox, and Ashlyn a young woman with paranormal abilities who is being used unwittingly to find the warriors.
I liked the conflict, then the mistrust that alters to lust then love between the main characters, and the inbuilt demon of violence as an internal antagonist within the protagonist is an unusual concept.
I found myself becoming accustomed to the names of the first set of warriors introduced at the start of the story and their demon/punishments they are responsible for, as in death, lust etc. However, Gena, introduces a second set of new warriors two thirds of the way through the story and there were suddenly so many it became confusing for a while. I can imagine this being off putting for some readers.
Yes, I will read the next and maybe more as this seems to be turning into a quest series where each of the Warriors will have a story to tell, and maybe a romance. The romantic scenes are tastefully erotic. I hope that by the end of the next story I will be accustomed to the many characters.
The novel is generally well written, though a few typos, which shouldn't really be found in a book published by such a major company. Overall I give it four stars.
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on 18 May 2014
I have already read others in this series as I first started reading cheap paperbacks whenever I came across them so I am very familiar with the series. The books are similar to Sherilyn Kenyon dark hunter novels with men who are rough, cursed, at the heart of them do not have a lot of self respect and are not looking for love. At least not until they meet their destined mate. The first book is about Maddox the keeper of the demon of violence. He lives in the fortress with a group of other dark lords and dies every night and is taken to he'll for a night of torture before waking again in the morning. Rinse and repeat every day. It is also about a human Ashlyn who hears all the voices ever spoken in the spot she stands. So many voices driving her crazy, she wonders if the Lords she hears about can help her. Can anything help either of them?
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on 27 April 2016
I stumbled across this series and thought ooh 99p each and something like 11 books ready for download fantastic. Gods and demons is there anything better. There's blood, betrayal, love, friendship and myths being brought to life. Gena showalter has created a magical world of great warriors that must over come the greatest off odds. All the Lord's are great character's and I for one can't wait to read about how it all turns out for them all. The darkest night is aimed for mature readers 😉 it's just the right amount of steamy not to much. Maddox and ashlyn had a great chemistry in and out the bedroom Maddox is sweet and caring but all warrior yum. Now for book two thank you gena.
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on 3 October 2009
I did not want to compare this to the J R Ward series but it is very, very hard not to. From the first couple of chapters it starts to be very Black Dagger Brotherhood-y. I found the charachters very hard to take much of an interest in and the females in the book were neither here nor there. The love scenes were pretty average - I think there was one pretty good scene.
My whole read of this book was pretty much the same, take it or leave it. It was very hard not to keep thinking "this is the poor man's Black Dagger".
I have read the second book (for lack of reading material) but won't be following on.
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