Book Review: Mark Del Franco’s Uncertain Allies

Posted November 1, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Mark Del Franco’s Uncertain Allies

Uncertain Allies

in Paperback edition on April 26, 2011 and has 304 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Fifth in the Connor Grey urban fantasy series about a druid who is re-learning about power. Based in Boston.

My Take

This one is one disaster after another with the bad guys outthinking the good guys and everyone is telling Connor how whiny he is! It’s true. Admittedly, he does have a lot of negatives in his life right now.

The repercussions about Amy Sullivan/Moira Cashel are just starting to be felt. I can’t begin to imagine how Gerry will feel when he finds out who she really is.

Brokke tells Connor he has only part of the story. That the Celtic view on the world, the turning of the Wheel, believes it will go on forever while the Teuts believe that the world can end.

I have fallen in love with this series. Del Franco has a nice range of characters with some having very questionable morals—something like our own politicians—and others who appear questionable who are actually quite upright. It’s a great blend of urban fantasy with reality. Imagine a primary character who’s on disability!

There really isn’t much in the way of sex, which is what I tend to expect from supernatural-type books, but Del Franco has so much going on that it isn’t at all missed.

And for its gritty, urban setting, it’s surprisingly homey.

The Story

Boston is under martial law and the Weird is at the center of it. Eorla is the only person its inhabitants can look to for help and she provides assistance willingly.

It’s a summons to the Guildhouse that has Connor nervous. In Unperfect Souls, Guild agents had tried to arrest him. Now he’s walking into the mouth of the beast. With a proposition from macGoren. Maeve intends to frame Connor for Ceridwen’s murder.

Then Donor Elfenkonig lays his ultimatum on Eorla and she reminds him that it is his actions which have led to these disasters. It’s the lack of cooperation on the part of Eorla’s people that has Connor sitting up and taking notice. Too bad it’s not soon enough or fast enough.

Then Vize surrenders to the Guild.

The Characters

Connor Grey was disabled on the job and now he’s a retired druid, almost powerless. Too much has happened however since the backlash and, between the alliances he’s created with Murdock and the Grand Duchess and the few friends who stood by him, Connor is in a unique position in his world. He consults for Murdock and investigates for Eorla. Joe Stinkwort is a flit, a twelve-inch fairy, who is attached to Connor. Meryl Dian is a druidess and the chief archivist for the Guild. She’s currently in a coma due to events in Unperfect Souls.

Detective Leo Murdock of the Boston PD doesn’t blame Connor for his father’s death even though his brothers all do. He still looks to him for information, friendship. He still wants to understand and defend the fey. Finding out his own genetic heritage was a bit of a shock, though. Gerry and Kevin are his brothers and openly hostile. Bernard is planning to move into politics, anti-fey ones.

Eorla Kruge Elvendottir has defied her cousin, the Elven King, to create her own court whose members are the unwanted, the Solitaries. Someone has to look out for them. Rand is her bodyguard/driver. Bergin Vize is the ecoterrorist elf whom Connor fought the day he lost his powers. Fortunately, Vize had the same problem. Now he’s on the run, but with Donor Elfenkonig’s backing. He’s also been raised as Eorla’s son. Baron Aldred Core is an Elven ambassador to Boston. Bastian Frye is the elf king’s chief advisor and assassin. Brokke is the king’s scrying dwarf with a message for Connor. Gerda Alfheim was a terrorist who sent her own son into danger (see Unshapely Things).

Guildmaster Manus ap Eagan defended himself but used up too much of his energies doing so. Now he’s in a coma and Ryan macGoren has taken over. Unofficially. Nigel Martin is a powerful Druid and was Connor’s mentor until his accident. As long as you remember he isn’t anyone’s friend, only using them for what he needs, you’ll be fine. Briallen verch Gwyll ab Gwyll is a very powerful druidess and Connor’s friend. Ceridwen was an underQueen of Tara until Maeve betrayed her. Now she’s Dead.

Janey Likesmith is a Dark elf, of the Dokkheim clan, who works in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. She’s the only fey employee and they dump all the supernatural bodies on her. Gillen Yor is the chief of staff at Avalon Memorial Hospital; he had been Maeve’s personal physician before he left for the States. Banjo is a dwarf who leads a group of mercenaries. Carmine caters to desire, any of them. Shay is a human working at the Children’s Institute and hiding a valuable artifact for Connor. Uno, the hellhound, is still around protecting him. Heydan runs Yggy’s.

Thekk and Nar Veinseeker are dwarf brothers who had a falling out. Nar is now Ceridwen’s chief of security.

High Queen Maeve leads the Celtic fey from Tara while Donor Elfenkonig is the Elven King. It’s the Celtic fairies against the Teutonic elves much like the old Cold War. The Celts have their Guild houses scattered throughout the world acting as embassies and law enforcement agencies who intervene in magical crimes. Supposedly. The Consortium is the Teutonic equivalent. The fae are trapped in our world. Ever since Convergence when something happened in Faerie and parts of Faerie merged with our world and can’t get back. The Weird is a depressed neighborhood in Boston to which the fey congregate. For months, the government has barricaded them away from the city proper. The Dead were trapped in our world, having arrived from TirNaNog when the veil thinned at Samhain.

The Cover and Title

It’s an orange and blue cover with a crouching Connor is tense and alert in a bombed-out urban setting. A brick-paved roadway, a wall of brick to the left and a burned wreck of a car between Connor and a skyline of drunken buildings.

The title is true enough as too many questions are arising in Connor’s mind as to who is friend and who is foe. He has Uncertain Allies.