Bitten in Two
Orbit, Nov 8 2010, $13.99
Jaz Parks, her vampire lover Vayl, Cole and Bergman are on the road to Morocco. Their mission is to find an artifact that might enable Jaz to purge Brude the demon who shares her body though she muses hiking in Marrakech on her birthday is unfair.
In Morocco, the quest turns frighteningly strange when Vayl wakes up insisting it is 1777. His behavior has Jaz and their other compatriots believing the vampire has been cursed somehow to relive traumatic events from his long life. Scaring his team further is he never heard of Uma Thurman and does not recognize any of them as they are; for instance he believes his beloved Jaz is his middle-aged housekeeper Madame Berggia. To prevent a new tragedy and keep Vayl’s suddenly explosive temper from igniting, Jaz with the help of Cole and Bergman role pay the parts Vayl assigns them while trying to figure how to remove the curse.
The latest Jaz and company fantasy is a great thriller with a super twist with what has happened to Vayl, the CIA’s top operative. With plenty of trademark biting humor and non-stop action, fans of the saga will enjoy the current on the road show while newcomers will look for the backlist (see Bite Marks). After completing the tale, readers will park Jennifer Rardin’s enjoyable Bitten in Two on the keeper shelf. Harriet Klausner
The Bone Palace
Orbit, Dec 1 2010, $7.99
In 499 Ab Urbe Condita in the royal city of Erisin, corpses are not a rare occurrence; but a dead prostitute wearing the ring of deceased queen has no precedent. Police Inspector Khelsea Shar shows the Necromancer Agent of the Crown Isyllt Iskaldur the body of the whore who possessed a regal signet and had no violent marks. Reluctantly Isyllt investigates who magically murdered the woman, and how and why she had the ring. To her chagrin, the case leads to the tombs below the city where the revolting vile vrykoloi vampires reside in lightless lairs.
Her inquiry spins worse than she imagined even with the vrykoloi involved as Isyllt learns a truth she must conceal from her King. Apparently a dead sorceress plans to return to take the throne; and she has support from Isyllt’s former lover Kiril and the Crown Prince Ionais’ mistress Sevedra Severos; as well as unknowing dupes.
Staying at home in her second Necromancer’s Chronicles, Isyllt has once again moral selections to make as espionage, politics, insurgency and military merge with magic in a fascinating investigative fantasy. Isyllt is a great protagonist because of her moral fiber as she must select between choices that she abhors. Readers will relish her brisk adventures as home proves as harrowing as her stay in the Drowning City, but worse because it is home. Harriet Klausner
St. Martin’s, Nov 2 2010, $7.99
The McLeod brothers (Fallon, Lucan and Quinn) were descendants from a cadre of warriors created by Druids to repel the Romans from Scotland and England. For three centuries the siblings hid from Deirdre who wants their magic. However in 1603, Lucan meets his soulmate (see Dangerous Highlander), but Quinn was captured by their enemy. Since Quinn’s imprisonment, his other sibling met his soulmate too (see Forbidden Highlander). Now free again, Quinn is the most volatile of the three brothers. He remains tormented by guilt as he has for centuries and his rage has taken its toll on his mind and his soul. Only his desire for true love keeps him from going totally over to the dark although each breath darkens his soul
Marcail has been raised by Druids. Their ancient magic flows freely through her blood. Quinn thinks she may be his soul savior as his heart belongs to her. However, Deirdre plans to use her as a lure to recapture Quinn and his McLeod growing family.
The third McLeod brother historical romantic fantasy is a fabulous finish to a strong entertaining saga. The story line is fast-paced as the villainous sets in motion her endgame in which she uses love to destroy her enemies and to re-enslave the siblings. The Scottish Highlands has rarely looked as beautiful and forbidden as they have in Donna grant’s wonderful early seventeenth century thriller. Harriet Klausner