Book Review: Eileen Wilks’ Mortal Ties

Posted November 19, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

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.

Book Review: Eileen Wilks’ Mortal Ties

Mortal Ties


Eileen Wilks

urban fantasy that was published by Berkley Sensation on October 2, 2012 and has 396 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Midnight Promises, Death Magic, Tied with a Bow, Ritual Magic, Unbinding, Mind Magic, Dragon Spawn,

Ninth in the World of the Lupi urban fantasy series revolving around Lily Yu and Rule Turner outside San Diego, California.

My Take

Nice move, Rule, telling Lily that her guards are her backup. Even the FBI has to call in backup sometimes…

This story is more of an opportunity for Drummond to rehabilitate himself, to look back over the decisions which led him to throw in with the wrong side. It’s also an interesting peek into life after death; Wilks has some intriguing ideas about this, from the ghostly to the penitential to the acceptance to the possibilities of life everafter. I could enjoy this version of the everafter.

Although, Drummond does think that “God…has one sick sense of humor”!

We learn a new trick of a Rho. One that Rule is able to shrug off. An ability that will have unfortunate consequences for Rule and Lily. It’s also our first treason trial at Nokolai. With four clans. I gained a greater appreciation for Lily in her very practical approach to questioning those who had information.

Oh, I love it, the ringtone Lily gave her mother is the theme from Jaws! How is it that Beth is so clueless? That she doesn’t understand the danger Friar poses to Lily?

It’s an action-packed story with lots of new back history. And the tension really ratchets up when Lily is kidnapped and betrayals abound.

Wilks has really spent time on creating the world in which this series revolves. There are the rules, customs, and expectations in two non-human cultures: the lupi and the sidhe. We’ve had time to become accustomed to the lupi culture, although Wilks is providing even more back history on general and personal histories in this installment. The sidhe way of doing business, however, is much more involved and I’m impressed with the very nice and detailed degree to which Wilks has set this up. It’s likely that a lot of it is part of the set-up for a future story, but it certainly creates a panicky tension in this one. The meals that Lily shares with Alycithin are remarkable [to me] for their politeness and affability. I could never do be that polite to an enemy!

Oh…I did like the way the lupi celebrate New Year’s Eve. Much better than resolutions! I also liked Grandmother’s solution to Lily’s desire to kill. It would be nice if we could incorporate something like this for others.

The Story

Lily and Rule are living at Nokolai Clanhome these days as is every Nokolai shifter who can manage it, especially the children. With the Great Bitch opening hostilities, every shifter is at risk. No shifter would hurt a child, but that moral pathway is not one followed by the Lady’s greatest enemy and Robert Friar wouldn’t hesitate to hurt a child.

When a sudden explosion rocks the compound, it’s startling, but neither Lily nor Rule ignore the other possibilities for that blast. An assassination attempt on Isen or Toby. A diversion to an attack on Clanhome. What wasn’t expected was a breach of the wards Cullen had set up to protect a device worth mega-millions; a counter to magic. One should never use shortcuts on objects of great value…

The Characters

Special Agent Lily Yu is FBI with Unit Twelve, a touch sensitive, a null for magic, and Rule’s mate, a Chosen. Al Drummond is Lily’s personal haunt after he was killed in Death Magic. Not a consummation either wishes, seeing as Drummond betrayed the FBI and Lily, but it does prove very useful.

Rule Turner is too gorgeous for words and, in a twist of Fate, he’s the Rho (ruler) for the Leidolf as well as Lu Nuncio (Heir and enforcer) for his Nokolai birth clan. Due to their mate bond, neither Rule nor Lily can be more than a few miles from each other. As the Leidolf Rho, he has a bodyguard of sixteen Leidolf lupi with him at Clanhome and include Scott White, a.k.a., Geek Guy; Mike, a.k.a., Tough Guy; José; and, Ian.

Toby Asteglio is Rule’s son. Cullen Seabourne is a rare breed: a wolf shifter and a sorcerer. He’s now the Nokolai sorcerer, married to Cynna Weaver, an FBI agent and the clan’s Rhej, and they have a daughter, Ryder. Pete is second-in-command of security at Nokolai Clanhome. Brenda Hyatt has only recently returned to Clanhome to spend time with her dad. Hank Jamison is Laban. Arjenie Fox is mated to Benedict, Rule’s older brother and the Nokolai head of security. She’s half-sidhe, Benedict’s Chosen, and an FBI researcher. Isen is Rule and Benedict’s father, the Rho of Nokolai.

Beth is Lily’s sister and she’s involved with Sean Friar. A wealthy, older man who happens to be Robert’s brother. It’s a working relationship, but Beth wants to go much further. Dierdre is one of Beth’s roommates in San Francisco with an irritating penchant for borrowing Beth’s shoes; Susan (not the sister) is another roommate. Susan is the eldest Yu sister and the most respectful. Julia Yu, their mother, finds Lily the most rebellious, although Beth isn’t far behind. The formidable Madame Li Lei Yu is Lily’s Grandmother and a tiger shifter; she is also Sam the dragon’s partner.

Jasper Machek is Rule’s half-brother, alius kin, otherkin, through their mother, Celeste Babineaux, who has ranted and raved all his life against the lupi. Part of his hate for Rule is his own expectation as to how Rule will see his relationship with Adam. He’s also a thief, known as Umbra, who has been coerced and, in turn, stolen from. Adam King is his life partner. Anson “Hugo” Bierman has been Umbra’s go-between for hiring Umbra for jobs.

Ruben Brooks is Lily’s boss at Unit Twelve. Special Agent Bergman is the FBI rep in San Francisco. Detective Rachel Jones is with the SFPD.

Anne Murdock is the Etorri Rhej, a clan priestess. You might also think of a Rhej as an historian or a wise woman, and the main requirement is a Gift of mediumship.

The Sidhe Trade Delegation from the Edge
Benessarai An’Cholai is the leader with some very unsavory friends; Lord Thierath is his father (and as stupid as his son) and Lord Sessena is his much more intelligent mother. Alycithin is a halfling — half-Rekklat and half dtha—and covered in fur. Technically she is co-leader, but Benessarai’s mother expects her to work miracles. Dinalaran and Aroglian are Alycithin’s cohorts.

Robert Friar has given himself over to the Great Bitch, who is just itching to take down the Lupi and their Lady. His Gifts include clairaudience and patterning. It’s Helen Whitehead‘s grave Lily visits at the beginning. Carrie Ann Rucker is a longtime scammer and drug “mule”.

Detective Thomas James, a.k.a., T.J. is the guy who trained Lily when she first became a cop.

Of the twenty-four Lupi clans in the world, those in the U.S. includes Laban and Vochi as Nokolai’s subordinate allies; Leidolf (a former enemy of Nokolai); Szós; Ybirra; and, Wythe. The Kyffin and Etorri are both Canadian clans.

Abe is the Rho of Vochi, a clan good with money that breeds too many submissives. Leo is the Laban Rho, a clan of contentious fighters. Tony Romano is a slow-thinking lupi, but definitely NOT stupid!

Lupi are wolf shifters. The Lady is their goddess. The Great Bitch (you can’t say her name!) is the Lady’s enemy, a fellow goddess. Hmmm, it sounds weird saying a fellow goddess

The Cover and Title

The cover is disturbing on several levels from the smoking skull with its runes and glowing eyes to the too-young-looking Lily, squatting in a cemetery and leaning up against a tombstone, holding the skull in her hands.

The title is a subtle reference to a half-brother Rule never knew existed. A half-brother with a much-loved partner, creating some new Mortal Ties.