A recent legacy made Cassandra Palmer heir to the title of Pythia, the world's chief clairvoyant. It's a position that usually comes with years of training, but Cassie's circumstances are a little…unusual. Now she's stuck with a whopping amount of power that every vamp, fey, and mage in town wants to either monopolize or eradicate – and that she herself doesn't dare use.
What's more, she's just discovered that a certain arrogant master vampire has a geis on her-a magical claim that warns off any would-be suitors, and might also explain the rather… intense attraction between them. But Cassie's had it with being jerked around, and anyone who tries it from now on is going to find out that she makes a very bad enemy…
Claimed By Shadow is the follow up to Karen Chance’s exciting debut novel Touch The Dark. The story in Claimed By Shadow follows on straight from where Touch The Dark left off and although the author does a good job of filling in the back story during the first couple of chapters, because the story is somewhat complex I would recommend that readers unfamiliar with this series start by reading Touch The Dark first – rather than jumping straight in with Claimed By Shadow. (Touch The Dark is an excellent read – I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!)
Claimed By Shadow starts about a week after where Touch The Dark finished, with Cassie still in Las Vegas and still trying to find a way to extract herself from her many problems, before someone kills her and solves all her problems for her. There is no shortage of would-be assassins. Tony, the Mafioso vampire that she turned into the Feds is still gunning for her – even though he is in hiding. The Vampire Senate want Cassie to be their tame Pythia; if she won’t do their bidding they will have no qualms about eliminating her. The Circle (the ruling council of good magic users) wants her out of the way so that someone of their own choice can inherit the Pythia’s power – and that’s just for starters!
Myra, the previous heir to the power of the Pythia will stop at nothing to eliminate Cassie so she can claim the title of Pythia back for herself. As Myra can travel through time her attempts to kill Cassie are not limited to the present and she hatches a plan to kill Mircea (the vampire who has protected Cassie since he discovered that she the potential to be a Pythia) in his past there by altering the timeline for Cassie’s life. If Mircea is dead, he will not be around to protect Cassie in the time before she obtains the Pythia’s power and Cassie will never come into power. Confused yet?
The problem with time travel in any novel is that the mixed up timelines can soon become confusing, Claimed By Shadow suffers a bit with this and when you add a trip to Faerie into the mix it’s enough to make any brain go into information overload (well, it did mine anyway!) There is a huge amount of information to take in, plus several twists and turns in the storyline, so the reader has to pay attention or risk losing the plot.
Luckily there is plenty to hold the readers attention. The action that starts in the second chapter doesn’t let up until the last page of the book as Cassie and her small band of allies fight their way from present day Las Vegas, through Victorian London into the Faerie kingdom and back again. The characters are multi-faceted and engaging, you just can’t help but like Pritkin the war mage and even his golem seems endearing.
The vampires in Claimed By Shadow are by turns super-sexy and super-scary and Cassie’s ambivalence towards them strikes just the right note in the face of their highly suspect morals and motivations.
Claimed By Shadow is an original, richly imagined tale and a solid follow-up to Touch The Dark, making this novel a must for urban fantasy fans.
An unspeakable crime. A confounding investigation. At a time when the King brand has never been stronger, he has delivered one of his most unsettling and compulsively readable stories. An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens. He is Terry Maitland, Little League coach, English teacher, husband, and father of two girls. Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad. As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, King’s propulsive story kicks into high gear, generating strong tension and almost unbearable suspense. Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? When the answer comes, it will shock you as only Stephen King can.
From Geoff Cooper and Brian Keene comes a dark coming-of-age tale. When 11-year-old Danny skips school to go hunting for crabs near the Haverstraw Marina, he finds a dead body instead-and stumbles across one of the darkest and deadliest secrets in Brackard’s Point. A secret that threatens the lives of Danny, his friends, and the mysterious old Russian known as Gustav…
“…and Land rose from the waters, and Lo! there was Life. He looked down upon His creation and said, ‘Well fuck me running. I really screwed up here, didn’t I?’ This blight upon the Land became known as Geoff Cooper.”
“…and on the eighth day, He created Brian Keene, and then decided that was a mistake, so He fucked off to the other end of the universe and left Keene in charge.”
A review by Victoria Strauss
Joe Pitt's a Vampyre. He's been infected by a Vyrus that slows aging, imparts phenomenal strength and sensory abilities, and survives by feeding off its host's blood – which forces its host to go out and drink more blood so the Vyrus can survive. There's a whole Vampyre subculture in New York City, dominated by several powerful Clans – a hidden world of power and violence unsuspected by ordinary human beings. In this secret world, Joe's what's known as a Rogue. Though he was once an enforcer for the politically-minded Society, does occasional strong-arm work for the powerful Coalition, and is the object of periodic recruitment efforts by the mysterious Enclave, he has no fixed Clan alliance.
This can be a problem when the freelance jobs dry up, and there's no money to buy the packaged blood that keeps a Vampyre from prowling the streets and ripping people's throats out. To make matters worse, Joe's worried about his girlfriend Evie, whose HIV status is deteriorating and whose medical bills are mounting. Swallowing his pride, he goes to Terry Bird, leader of the Society, and asks for work. As it happens, Terry's got something that needs looking into. There's a growing drug problem in the Vampyre community, some really bad stuff that makes users go crazy – not easy to manage for those infected with the Vyrus, which is solicitous of its hosts and cleans drugs and alcohol out of their systems almost as fast as they go in. Terry asks Joe to find out who's dealing.
A little pressure on Joe's favorite snitch turns up a middleman: a trust fund kid in a downtown loft who calls himself the Count. The drug is in bags of fresh, Vyrus-infected blood. Drinking infected blood would kill a Vampyre – but the drug isn't consumed, it's injected. The Count doesn't know what the drug is or why it works, but he does know where it comes from: Uptown, above 110th Street, the area controlled by the Vampyre Clan known as the Hood. This is enemy turf. To reach it, Joe will have to cross Coalition territory, and he's not exactly on good terms with the Coalition either. But Hood thugs and Coalition enforcers turn out to be the least of his problems. A forgotten evil waits in an Uptown mansion, along with a deadly plot that could lead to war among the Clans – unless Joe can survive long enough to figure out who's pulling the strings.
Already Dead was gritty and hip, packed with exciting action yet carefully attentive to the nuances of character. No Dominion is even better. The plot is a nonstop, explosively gory thrill-ride whose twists and reversals deliver surprises right up until the end – a true page-turner, impossible to put down. The glimpses of Vampyre culture, a bizarre nighttime world invisible to those who walk in daylight, are both fascinating and chilling, and the vicious complexities of Vampyre politics, where the smallest alteration of the balance could tip the Clans into open conflict, have plenty of real-world resonance.
As before, Charlie Huston fills the book with memorable characters – from the bigoted, relentless Vampyre matriarch Maureen Vandewater, to DJ Grave Digga, the charismatic leader of the Hood, to Terry Bird, who combines a post-Woodstock cultural ethos with a Machiavellian mastery of double dealing, to the Count, an amoral Gen-X slacker whose home life is a series of satirical references to Dracula movies ("I hate that self-aware, ironic, pop culture Vampyre shit," Joe tells him at one point). Huston has an amazing ear for dialogue, and endows each of these characters with his or her own distinctive voice. As for Joe, a tough guy's tough guy whose profane, world-weary first-person narration anchors the story, he edges close to noir stereotype, but is saved from actually becoming stereotypical by his very human doubts, and his unflinching recognition of his own moral failings.
Huston doesn't neglect the meta-story. Once again, Joe must seek help from the secretive Enclave, which is founded on the belief that the Vyrus is a spiritual force that will ultimately produce a Vampyre savior. Joe's discoveries about the drug may reflect upon that spiritual quest, and also raise disturbing questions about the origins and history of Vampyre society. Hopefully, we'll learn more in the series' next installment. I can't wait.
“One of the most remarkable prose stylists to emerge from the noir tradition in this century.” – Stephen King
Starred Review. Huston's third Joe Pitt vampire novel (after Already Dead and No Dominion) takes his Manhattan-based hard-boiled hero on a dangerous trip into the undead communities across the bridge in Brooklyn. The various vampire clans in New York are on the brink of conflict. Leadership has fallen apart, and to make things worse, a Van Helsing is running amok and has recently murdered a longtime supplier of contraband blood. Worst of all, Pitt's AIDS-stricken girlfriend, Evie, is in the hospital failing fast. Once again, he's faced with an almost classical dilemma: infecting her with the vampire virus will destroy the illness that's killing her, but she'll be a vampire. Sent to Brooklyn to meet with a rogue clan of carnival freak vampires, Pitt ends up battling a group of radical Jewish bloodsuckers called the lost tribe of Gibeah. As always, Huston's formidable writing chops are on full display: his action scenes are unparalleled in crime fiction and his dialogue is so hip and dead-on that Elmore Leonard should be getting nervous.
Archaeologist Reed Taylor is called back to his hometown of Simpson Creeks, Kentucky, a town devastated by the collapse of a coal waste dam, to dig into the earth now covering his family’s old farm, and the bodies of his mother and father. But in a terrifying rendezvous with his own past he discovers that his memories of the dead are not only palpable, but capable of fantastic transformation.
They hide in mattresses. They wait till you're asleep. They rise in the dead of night to feast on your blood. They can multiply by the hundreds in less than a week. They are one of the most loathsome, hellish species to ever grace God's green earth. Thought to be eradicated decades ago, thanks to global travel they're back. And with them comes a nightmare beyond imagining. Bed bugs. Infected with a plague virus so deadly it makes Ebola look like a summer cold. One bite turns people into homicidal maniacs. Now they're in Chicago. And migrating to all points north, south, east, and west. The rest of the world is already itching. The U.S. government and the CDC are helpless to stop it. Only one man knows what's causing the epidemic. And the powers-that-be want him dead. "A fresh new talent with an amazing ability to astonish." --David Morrell, bestselling author of First Blood.
The Dice Are Cast…
Death Watches and Waits
The sanctuary walls were breached and through them poured screaming hordes of night runners. About to be overrun, the survivors formed a last stand against the thousands that threatened to end their existence. Inexplicably, the night runners, who were on the verge of taking one of the last vestiges of humanity, departed, carrying the limp body of Lynn with them.
Communications with the compound failed as Jack was out searching for additional survivors, leaving him unaware of what was happening at home. A tragedy sends him rushing back where he learns about the attack and Lynn being taken. Not knowing if she’s alive or dead, he sets off in search for her.
A mysterious image is sent setting forth a confrontation with Sandra, the female night runner responsible for the attack on the sanctuary. Is Lynn alive or is this some elaborate trap? Jack will put everything on the line in order to find out.
When logical reasoning fails…
Insanity must be expected
THERE ARE THINGS MUCH WORSE THAN ZOMBIES
First time in paperback! In the long-awaited follow up to DEAD SEA, it has been several months since the disease known as Hamelin’s Revenge decimated the world. Civilization has collapsed and the dead far outnumber the living. The survivors seek refuge from the roaming zombie hordes, but one-by-one, those shelters are falling. Twenty-five survivors barricade themselves inside a former military bunker buried deep beneath a luxury hotel. They are safe from the zombies… but are they safe from one another? As supplies run low and despair sets in, each of them will find out just how far they’re willing to go to survive. Brian Keene’s ENTOMBED… when the dead walk the earth, insanity is the only escape.
Sookie Stackhouse is just a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. Until the vampire of her dreams walks into her life-and one of her coworkers checks out...
Maybe having a vampire for a boyfriend isn't such a bright idea.
A fun, fast, funny, and wonderfully intriguing blend of vampire and mystery that's hard to put down, and should not be missed. (Susan Sizemore)
Joy Randall's Top 5 Tips for Vampire Hunters
1. Location, location, location. Remember, if you wouldn't be there, neither would a bloodsucker. They won't be found dead (ha!) in places like discos, ten-minute lube shops, or Switzerland. Check the Czech Republic.
2. Trust your eyes. You know the handsome, annoyingly arrogant, self-assured man in the shadows with long hair and a cleft in his chin? He's your vampire.
3. No matter how tempting it might be, DO NOT "ACCIDENTALLY" ACQUIRE A PAPER CUT AND SUGGEST YOUR VAMPIRE KISS YOUR FINGER TO MAKE IT BETTER. What you offer as a snack, he might take for a four-course meal.
4. From here on out, play it cool. Don't offer to accompany your prince of the night on the talk show circuit and WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T OFFER HIM YOUR HEART.
5. And most of all, remember—being a vampire is nothing to laugh about.
It’s not the ideal career. But Allegra Telford, confirmed singleton, has somehow found herself in a haunted hotel in London, trying unsuccessfully to summon spirits (and not even the alcoholic kind).
So, obviously, she’s thrilled when she discovers the ghost of a stunningly gorgeous, albeit horribly wounded man, even if he does bear an uncanny resemblance to the tall, dark, handsome man of her fantasies.
Her frustration quickly returns, however, when she realises that he is not actually a spirit. In fact, he may be something much more bloodthirsty indeed. And, contrary to Allie’s own desires (ok, not her desires – perhaps her reason), he has arrogantly made some sort of alpha-male decision that she’s his ‘beloved’, whatever that means...
But now a small boy has been kidnapped, and it's up to Nell Harris—a Charmer (no, literally, that's her job) to rescue him. Problem is, she can’t help but find The Betrayer a teeny, tiny bit attractive... is it possible he is not as soul-less as he seems, or has her penchant for bad-boys just gone into overdrive?
Paen Scott is a Dark One: a vampire without a soul. And his mother is about to lose hers, too, if Paen can't repay a debt to a demon by finding a relic known as the Jilin God—in five days. When he hires half-elf private investigator Samantha Cosse to help him, he sets her elf senses tingling. Which makes it pretty much impossible to keep their relationship on a professional level. Especially since Sam is convinced that she is Paen's Beloved—the woman who can give him back his soul, whether he wants it or not...
On a trip to England, physicist Portia Harding is stalked by a heart-stoppingly handsome maniac. Theondre North is a nephilim—the son of a fallen angel—who needs Portia's help to change his fate. Problem is, Portia's down-to-earth attitude frustrates beings from both heavenly and hellish realms—and gets Theo turned into a vampire. But at least he has Portia to satisfy his newfound hungers-and possibly save his soul.
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