I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This urban fantasy is a hardcover edition that was published by Ace Books on March 8, 2016 and has 342 pages.
Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include When Demons Walk, Steal the Dragon, Home Improvement: Undead Edition, Fair Game, Frost Burned, Night Broken, Shifting Shadows, Dead Heat, Bone Crossed, Silver Borne, River Marked, Hunting Ground, Iron Kissed, Cry Wolf, Silence Fallen
Ninth in the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series (thirteenth in the overall Mercyverse) and revolving around a VW mechanic coyote shapeshifter based in Washington state to whom a fae walking stick is firmly attached.
Poor Mercy, taken advantage of by Izzy’s mom with her marketing speech. Lucky for Mercy, she gives in and tries some of it. I did have to laugh, however, when Mercy starts thinking of all the natural and herbal things that are deadly when Izzy’s mom goes on about “natural” and “herbal” being “good”. But the best is when Izzy’s mom wants to know if Adam ever has trouble, ahem, getting it up. Mercy is having the worst time not laughing as she knows the pack is hiding upstairs listening in to the whole sales pitch. And Mercy goes to town about Adam. Heck, I think this scene alone is worth the price of the book!
I like the way Briggs describes the pack magic, the hunting song. It sounds like a beautiful dance. It’s too bad it’s in a battle against a fae. Then Mercy proclaims the Tri-Cities as pack territory, a challenge to the Gray Lords, and it seems, to the pack itself. Adam finally does what he should have done long ago. He lays down the law. Damn. As much as I appreciated the results, it was too quick, too unbelievable.
Oh, man, it seems that Mercy is having an even greater affect on all of werewolf-kind with all the changes she and Adam have brought to their pack, all the traditions they’re breaking. And Bran’s reaction to it almost destroys Mercy.
The fae have been very “naughty”. Someone has been lying to Uncle Mike. The Gray Lords try to trap Margaret in their nasty little meeting…and the things they say to her are so obnoxious! I think I’m going to adore Margaret! The follow-up in the car between Mercy and Margaret is not quite as funny, but definitely bids hope for future stories. And Zee… Zee’s reaction to the Gray Lords’ too-late invitation, lol, was priceless!
Most stories about the fae tell of their being attracted to children, and Briggs comes up with the attraction being because “they were in the process of becoming something”. Kinda scary. Another fae-ism that Briggs does a major switch-up on is about the fae not being able to lie.
We learn more about Mercy’s mother and the man she had hooked up with at the rodeo, the one the bull rider beat, and Mercy’s mom went off with, became pregnant by, who was killed by vampires.
And Sherwood learns he’s damned good in a fight.
ROFL…It’s not every day your daughter calls you to the phone with: “Hey, Dad, Baba Yaga is on the phone for you.” More laugh-worthy actions are the pack trying to bring Aiden into the modern era.
Oh, wow. The truth comes out about why the fae are so anxious to get aggressive now. The example Beauclaire uses has the government falling over themselves to talk to Adam. I do love Adam’s response to both the FBI and especially to Cantrip.
“Hauptman House of Horrors, don’t mind the screaming — we don’t.”
Curious thought about where Tolkein’s elves had shipped out to.
It becomes a rescue of the rescuer and leads to Mercy proclaiming far and wide that the Columbia River Basin Pack claims the city and surrounding territory and will protect it against all comers. Including the Gray Lords.
It’s an act that works against Mercy, as the pack and Bran turn against her. She and Adam must find a way to turn the pack back, prevent war between fae and the werewolves, and protect themselves from the Gray Lords. And all it will take is a trip to the wild and unpredictable Underhill where monsters have been released from their prisons.
Mercy Thompson, a coyote shapeshifter, is still a VW mechanic, albeit one without her garage. Adam Hauptman is Mercy’s mate, a werewolf, and the Alpha of the Columbia River Basin Pack. Jesse is Adam’s daughter. Medea is Mercy’s cat who is just fine living with a pack of werewolves. Gary is Mercy’s older half-brother and a walker as well. Christy is Adam’s bitchy, selfish ex-wife.
The Columbia River Basin Pack is…
…based in the Tri-Cities in Washington state. Darryl is Adam’s second; Auriele is his mate. Zack Drummond is the lone submissive wolf (Night Broken, 8) and has been with the pack for a few months now. Ben Shaw is the English werewolf and computer tech. Warren is a gay private detective; his life partner is Kyle, a very good (human) divorce lawyer. Scott, Sherwood Post, Honey, Mary Jo is a firefighter, Paul, Alec, George (turns out he doesn’t like Mercy) is a Pasco police officer, and Carlos.
Not everyone is happy that Joel Arocha has been included in the pack after he turned into a tibicena, a creature born in a volcano, in Night Broken; he can mostly control his shifting and usually appears as a large presa Canario. Lucia is his wife who is now working as an accountant for the pack. Cookie is their rescued German shepherd-mix.
The snotty Aiden only looks like a ten-year-old human child. In truth he was kidnapped by the fae centuries ago and taken in by Underhill, Tilly, which changed him. Other human children trapped in Underhill included Evander, Lily, Rose, and Willy.
“His lip curled. ‘I’m very sorry you don’t appreciate the honor I did you,’ he said. ‘I won’t make that mistake again.’
‘I’m very sorry,’ Jesse said sincerely, ‘that I didn’t have a kitchen knife in my hand instead of a spatula. Next time, I’ll be more careful.'”
Samuel Cornick is in Europe with his fae wife, Ariana. Charles is Bran’s enforcer, and both men are Bran’s sons. Bran Cornick is the Marrok, the leader of all the werewolves in North America. Leah is his mate.
Tony, an undercover cop whom Mercy knows, Detective Willis, and J.C., whose horse is afraid of sheep and small children, are on scene at the bridge. Officer Thorson responds to the Lampson incident.
The fae are…
…ruled by the Gray Lords, mega-powerful fae. Beauclaire, Lugh’s son, was the Gray Lord who ordered the sundering that caused the fae to retreat to their reservations after events in Fair Game, (Alpha & Omega, 3). Uncle Mike closed up his bar and retreated onto the reservation as well. Besides Beauclaire and Uncle Mike, more Gray Lords are Neuth, a.k.a., the Widow Queen, the Black Queen, who likes to cause misery. Fortunately she doesn’t have as much power as she used to. Not that that helps. Then there’s Nemane, the Morrigan, who had been the Irish goddess of battle; Edythe, a.k.a., Yo-yo Girl; Goreu, Custennin’s son; Baba Yaga, a Russian “witch” from Russian fables; and, the dowdy Órlaith, the sister of Brian mac Cennétig. Jarnvid is the troll on the bridge. The Fideal (Iron Kissed, 3) is a nasty water fae.
Zee, a.k.a., Siebolt Adelbertsmiter, the Dark Smith of Drontheim, a gremlin, is Mercy’s old friend and mentor who sold her the VW garage and was ordered to retreat to the Walla Walla reservation. Tad is his half-human son with a strong gift for metal magic who has been forced back to the reservation.
The crippled Margaret Flanagan is the Flanagan, daughter of the Dragon Under the Hill (a very powerful fae lord whose elements were both fire and earth and Zee’s enemy), with a great deal of power and a great deal of hate for the Gray Lords ever since (Shifting Shadows: “Fairy Gifts”, 0.7).
Lugh the Longarm, a fae warrior and Celtic deity, made the walking stick. Goblins consider themselves fae, but the fae don’t accept them.
Wulfe is one of Marsilia’s vampires; she’s the Mistress of the Tri-Cities seethe. The very dangerous Thomas Hao, the Master and only vampire in San Francisco (Frost Burned, 7, AND Shifting Shadows: “Fairy Gifts”, 0.7), shows a very human side.
Tracy LaBella, who started Intrasity, is rumored to be a witch. Izzy is one of Jesse’s friends and worried that Mercy will hate her. Nick is one of Mercy’s clients whose Sheba is in need of her skills. Nicole is the baby stuck in the car seat. Mercy works out with Sensei Johanson. Marley is something with Lampson. The bigoted Pastor White heads up Mercy’s church; Josh Harper is cured of his alcoholism and insists the pastor reflect.
The Alphabet Soup of…
…FBI handles terrorism; Cantrip handles the paranormal; and, the NSA were hiding the CIA amongst them.
The Cover and Title
The cover is burning in deep orange red mixed with a deeply gray purple against which Joel, in his tibicena form of cracked lava, stands behind a ready Mercy in patchy, low-rise jeans showing her paw print tattoo, a sleeveless denim shirt tied up just under her plumped up cleavage and showing her tattooed arms, her braids and feather earrings swinging in the breeze, and looking at the fae staff she’s holding on the side.
The title is the discovery, the key to preventing war, the Fire Touched child who escaped.