Series: Kate Daniels #7
Published by Ace Hardcover on July 29th 2014
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Narrator: Renee Raudman
Length: 16 hrs 23 min
As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.
As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear.
Hugh d’Ambray, Roland’s warlord, is back and he is more determined than ever to have Kate for himself. Not only did Kate and Curran best him at his own castle surrounded by his Iron Dogs, but he had to confess all to Roland that he knows where to find Roland’s missing daughter and now Roland wants to meet the girl claiming to be his blood.
This book has excitement galore. No matter how many mythical creatures have attacked Kate, she has always managed to stay safe. In this story, Hugh is a real danger to Kate. He is an excellent swordsman and an equal match for Kate with a blade. On top of that he is a brilliant strategist and he has spent more time perfecting his magic than Kate has. In Magic Rises Hugh tried to woo Kate away from Curran, pushing a rival at Curran and playing the Voron card, but he was bested by Kate and almost killed by Curran. The gloves are now off and Hugh is playing for keeps. This makes him the best antagonist we have had so far. He will do whatever ugliness is necessary to win Kate and in this story he does get pretty desperate.
Hugh knows that he can’t use his magic on Kate to force her to him or Roland will know that Hugh enslaved his daughter. So Hugh is going to make things so difficult for Kate that her only option will be to turn to him, and if that doesn’t work, a little torture of her and her loved ones goes a long, long way towards getting what you want.
While Curran is away from the keep and Kate is left in charge, a shifter is accused of killing a Master of the Dead and the People want that shifter turned over to them for punishment. Once Kate verifies that it is indeed a shifter who slaughtered Ghastek’s man, they first need to find the shifter before they determine which fate is worse, turning them over to the People and losing face with the Pack; or refusing the People and risking an all out war between the Pack and the People.
To add to her worries, Kate can’t get in touch with Curran and has no way of knowing if Curran has been trapped or killed by Hugh. Kate is on her own in this one and the wrong move could destroy the Pack.
Hugh has planned this out very carefully so that he can get Kate to sacrifice herself for the Pack, and if he can’t kill Curran in the meantime, taking Kate away from him is just the perk to make Hugh’s day.
Even if Kate can figure a way out of this mess, Roland now knows where to find his missing daughter, or at least the woman claiming to be her, and if she passes his test, there is no guaranty he will let her live.
Just another exciting day in the world of Kate Daniels. I can’t wait to read more.
I thought this was a funny scene where Kate and her party are trespassing in the People’s territory and have to hide from two vampire scouts. I can easily imagine how funny the sound of two bickering co-workers would be coming out of the mouths of two withered vampires.
Journeymen. Always a pleasure.”
The female vamp twisted its face, trying to mimic Jeff’s expression. “Very funny, Leonard. You’re a fucking comedian.”
“We had a route mapped out, but no, you had to go off the reservation because you smelled some phantom blood somewhere.”
“We’re supposed to patrol. I’m patrolling because it’s our job, Leonard. If you don’t want to patrol, you can go up to that bigwig and tell him that. Just let me know in advance so I can take pictures when he tears off your nuts and makes you eat them.”
“Alright, alright, calm down.” The male vamp peered into the gloom. “Suppose we do find the shapeshifters. Do we go to Ghastek or do we go to d’Ambray with it?”
“To Ghastek,” Jeff said.
“Yeah, but d’Ambray is higher on the food chain. You can tell Ghastek’s pissed, but he keeps his mouth shut. You know. We could get ahead.”
“And what happens when d’Ambray leaves and Ghastek’s back in charge?” Jeff said.
Get out of here. Go on. Shoo.
“No guts, no glory.” Leonard must’ve shrugged, because his vampire raised his shoulders in a jerky movement.
“We cover our asses and follow the chain of command. Nobody ever went wrong by following the chain of command,” Jeff said.
Something clopped in the shadows. Oh no.
The vamps tensed, like two mutated cats getting ready to pounce.
Cuddles emerged into the open. I had completely forgotten she was there.
Robert put his hand over his face. Desandra rolled her eyes.
“What the hell is that?” Jeff said.
Why me? Why?
“It’s a horse,” Leonard said.
“Are you blind? How is that thing a horse? Its ears are two feet tall.”
“Then it’s a mule.”
“It’s not a mule. The neck’s wrong and the tail…”
“What about the tail?”
“Mules have horse tails. He’s got a donkey tail. Like a cow. It looks like a donkey, but the damn thing is at least sixteen hands tall. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“It’s a mule. It’s got a saddle on it, so someone was riding it.”
The male vamp moved forward.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to catch it and see who it belongs to.”
Cuddles put her ears forward.
“It doesn’t look friendly,” Jeff observed.
“It’s fine. If she had her ears back, you’d have to watch out. It’s all in the voice. Watch and learn. Come ‘ere, girl. Come ‘ere…Who is a good freaky mule? You are.”
The male vamp inched forward. Cuddles stood just a little bit straighter.
“That’s a good girl.”
The vamp reached for the reins. Its fingers fastened about the leather.
Cuddles screamed. It wasn’t a braying noise, it was an ear-slapping shriek of pure donkey outrage, like someone got hold of a foghorn and tried to strangle it.
“Whoa…” Loenard started.
Cuddles reared and tossed her head. The vamp slid on the glass and she dragged him left.
She dragged him right.
Cuddles kept turning and rearing, her huge body going up and down, jerking the undead to and fro like a cheerleader with a pompom.
“Oh, you idiot,” the female vamp snickered in Jeff’s voice.
I saw the precise moment Cuddles realized that something was behind her and that something was the same unnatural thing that clung to her reins. Her eyes went big, and she planted her front legs down and kicked. The female vampire flew about twenty feet and smashed into a glass iceberg. Ouch.
The male vamp finally let go, fell and slid down the glass. Cuddles backed up and braced herself. The male vamp rolled to his feet and gathered itself for a leap.
“Stop!” Jeff moved the female vampire between Leonard’s undead and the donkey.
“I’m going to kill that dumb animal.”
If he touched my donkey, I’d take his vamp apart.
“No, you’re not. It belongs to someone and if you harm it, we’ll have to pay restitution. I don’t feel like having my paycheck docked.”
“That bitch kicked us!” Leonard snarled.
“You put your hands on her. She was defending herself. come on, the damage is minor. We’ll feed them tonight and nobody will be the wiser. But if some hick shows up claiming we injured his donkey, there will be an inquiry. Ghastek’s walking around like he’s ready to explode. I don’t want to be in his blast area.”
Leonard’s vamp twisted his face into a horrifying grimace.
“We need to move on anyway,” Jeff said. “In five minutes Rowena’s going to come down that hallway for check-in. I don’t want to explain to her that we’ve been playing with what may or may not be a giant donkey instead of sweeping the perimeter.”
The male vamp shook its head and circled around Cuddles, and the two undead took off into the glass labyrinth. We lay still for another five minutes, until they were a mile and a half away.
“I take back what I said about the donkey,” Ascanio said. “She’s awesome.”
I wished Curran could’ve seen this. He’d die laughing.
My heart stuttered for a beat. I slid down the glass, caught myself with my feet, and went to give Cuddles a carrot.