If I am correct in my calculations, this book spans a two or three year period. It begins January 2003 and the events of this book overlap the events of a few previous books, Night Play which is book #5 about Vane and Bride, Unleash the Night which is book #8 about Wren and Maggie, and Shadow of the Moon about Fury and Angelia which is a Novella in Dark Bites and falls somewhere between book #14 and book #15 in the series. I’m guessing it was two or three years because the events in this book began just before Vane and Bride met and ended when their child was a toddler. It was interesting to watch the events of previous books unfold from a different perspective and once again, I am in awe of how Sherrilyn Kenyon keeps track of her timelines.
This is the 17th book in the Dark-Hunter series and the 4th full-length book in the Were-Hunter series.
I’ve included some terms at the end of this summary because if I stopped to explain each unique Dark-Hunter term, I would get way off track.
We met Fang in previous books. He is a Were-Hunter Katagaria wolf which means he is a wolf who can take human form. He was reluctantly raised by his father Markus along with his litter mates Anya and Vane when his mother, an Arcadian, dropped her Katagaria born puppies off with him because she wanted nothing to do with anything Katagaria. She kept her three Arcadian born children. Their father resented and was cruel and harsh to them most of their lives. Although he outwardly hated Fang and Vane, he seemed more tolerant and may have even loved Anya.
From the previous books, we know that Anya was pregnant and since she was a Katagaria wolf, she had to stay in wolf form until she delivered. Someone attacked the pack and killed a few of the wolves, one was Anya’s mate and they were bonded mates. Usually, if a couple is bonded, when one mate dies, the other one immediately dies also but because Anya was pregnant, she would stay alive until her last puppy was delivered. This was excruciatingly painful knowledge for Fang and Vane who tried to spend as much remaining time with her as they could. Another threat came when Daimons attacked the camp while Anya was in labor. While fighting the Daimons off, one Daimon took out a Taser and shocked Anya with it. Any kind of electrical shock will make a Were-Hunter convulse and change from human to animal form over and over again. If a Katagaria changes into human form while pregnant, their unborn children die immediately. This happened to Anya which made her die also.
Fang and Vane’s father, Markus, who was just looking for an excuse to get rid of them because he feared them, used Anya’s death as an excuse to call for a timoria which is a punishment doled out to members of a pack who endanger or betray their pack. Markus said that since Vane and Fang helped the Dark-Hunters who slay Daimons, it caused the Daimons to come after them which was not true at all. Markus put metriazo collars on both Fang and Vane, had them beaten and then hung them with razor wire on limbs of a tree hanging above the swamp full of alligators and snakes. They were left there to die but Markus didn’t leave it at that, he also sent Daimons after them.
The Daimons attacked them but Vane was finally able to get loose and out of his collar. A bunch of the Daimons ganged up on Fang and before Vane could get to him, they had fed off of him and Fang was barely clinging to life. He took Fang to Sanctuary where the doctor was able to save his life but Fang slipped into a comatose state. Carson, the doctor, said that it was purely mental and not physical and Fang would eventually come around. In the story about Vane, Fang stayed at Sanctuary while Vane fought off some crazy demon, their father’s pack and their psychotic mother. Everyone believed Fang was just too overwhelmed by the loss of his sister and the Daimon attack. Fang stayed in that comatose state from around Mardi Gras in February to Thanksgiving in October.
But we learn in this book that Fang was not wallowing in his own sorrow and misery, he was fighting for his life in the netherworld. When the Daimons fed off of him, they took part of his soul which sent him into the netherworld. When he gets to the netherworld, he meets a demon named Misery. She tells him to hide when he hears voices saying, “The Harvesters are coming.” And then everyone scatters. Misery pulls him into a crevice. He watches the Harvesters who look like trolls with twisted bodies get closer and then rip someone apart. Misery tells him that if a Harvester finds him, they will destroy this part of him and he will be stuck in the netherworld forever as their slave. Then there are Reapers who are just as scary. She takes him to a cave where she says it is safe but it a trap. There are other demons there who strap him down and feed off of his power. He eventually escapes those demons but spends months in the netherworld hiding from all the dangerous beings.
He tries to call out to Vane when he first enters the netherworld to come help him but Vane thinks he is dreaming and dismisses it so Fang goes to the only other person who has ever been kind to him, Aimee Peltier. Aimee listens to her dream and to what Fang was telling her. He tells her that nine Daimons fed off of him and in order for him to get back, those Daimons have to be found and killed to release his soul. She uses powers and sees the faces of the nine Daimons so that she can hunt them.
Aimee has had an appearance in almost all of the previous books. She is the only female out of males born to Nicolette and Aubert Peltier, the owners of Sanctuary in New Orleans. She waits tables at Sanctuary and is protected by not only her brothers but every other person who lives and works there. Aimee can take care of herself though because she knows how to fight and is a Were-Hunter bear. She is fiercely overprotected by her family because she is the only female and is expected to carry on their line. Katagaria bears are matriarchal and the lineage goes through the females. Her mother has a seat at the Omegrion and Aimee and her female heirs are expected to follow.
Her mother or Maman as they call her constantly invites eligible Katagaria bears to meet with Aimee so she can find a mate. Apparently, when a bear finds her mate, there is something called “the quickening” which is some kind of strange feeling that overwhelms them but Aimee has never felt that yet. She really wants to find a mate to carry on their line but is also frightened because she has a BIG secret. Aimee is Arcadian. Not only is she Arcadian but she is a sentinel and an Aristos. Her maman absolutely hates Arcadian sentinels because they are the ones who killed her two brothers when Aimee was young. She is afraid her mother would hate her…or worse, kill her if she ever found out. Aimee thinks if she mates with a Katagaria bear, she can give birth to a Katagaria female and that child can follow her mother to sit on the council of the Omegrion. Yet Aimee is afraid that if she is mated, her mate may discover she is an Arcadian which would not be good since Arcadians and Katagaria are natural born enemies.
Aimee’s father is an Arcadian but the family has hidden that fact from everyone. A few of her brothers are also Arcadian but her family never talks about it and they all know to hide it from everyone. It would cause a lot of problems if anyone ever found out.
When Aimee first met Fang, he and his brother Vane along with a few others from their pack had come into Sanctuary. She and Fang had an immediate attraction to each other but fought it because it is considered unnatural to mix species. A bear and a wolf mating would be sacrilege. Arcadians and Katagaria rarely mix but an Arcadian bear with a Katagaria wolf has never been heard of and would definitely go against all their laws of nature and is probably against Omegrion law. Plus, Aimee has to have a Katagaria heir.
Now, Fang is fighting for his life in the netherworld and Aimee is the only one who can help him. She has enlisted the help of two of her brothers, Dev and Kyle but they have to find the Daimons in secret so her maman doesn’t find out.
While Aimee and Dev are fighting Daimons, Misery escapes. Before Misery escapes she throws up a scene on a cave wall so that Fang can see what is happening to Aimee. Misery materializes along with a hoard of other demons where Aimee is fighting the Daimons. Fang decides that in order to draw away the demons and save Aimee’s life, he will offer up his soul. I don’t think he was actually meaning to give it up but was using it as a means to draw Misery away. Someone named Thorn comes and takes Fang up on his offer and saves Aimee but now he owns Fang. He has agreed to send help to Aimee to kill the remaining Daimons but Fang will now have to work for him fighting evil demons.
About 75% of this book covered and coincided with events from previous books so I knew, approximately what to expect except there was a lot on behind the scenes that the readers and the other characters were never aware of as events from the other stories unfolded.
The Peltier family has enemies. As long as they have a license to keep Sanctuary open, they can hold off their enemies but if something happens to that license…if they break the laws of Sanctuary…all bets are off. Their enemies will declare open season on them and there will be no Savitar or Omegrion to stop them.
I had forgotten almost most everything in this book and am glad that I am re-reading the series. It has really helped to read one book right after the other because it keeps everything fresh in my mind. This book was action packed and had some important developments happen that will impact future events. And because I have already read all the books in this series that have been released, it might sound strange that I am looking forward to re-reading the rest of the books but I am.
Apollites – A race of people made by Apollo with the intention that he would one day replace Zeus. He thought that he could create a race superior to humans. Apollites are stronger and taller than humans with psychic powers. Angered by this, Zeus made declared war on them and exiled them to Atlantis.
When the Apollite queen became jealous of Apollo’s beloved mistress, Ryssa, she ordered Ryssa and her newborn’s son to be killed and ripped apart. In sorrow and rage over this, Apollo cursed all Apollites to die painfully on their 27th birthday because that was how old Ryssa was. They also could no longer live in the daylight and had to live only off of Apollite blood. In doing this, he also cursed his son, Stryker.
Daimon – some Apollites live longer because they have learned to suck the souls out of humans to extend their lives but they have to keep a steady diet of souls to live. Daimons have black tattoo-like marks on their chests like inkblots where they gather souls.
Were-Hunter – A long time ago, a king with the help of a god did magickal experiments on animals of prey and Apollites to save his sons from the Apollite curse of dying when they reach the age of 27 which resulted in humans and animals to shift into each form. There are two kinds of Were-Hunters, Arcadian and Katagaria. The gods cursed them to hate each other so they always fight between the two races.
Arcadian – Were-Hunters who are born human but can shift into animal form when they reach puberty and unlock their magickal powers. Arcadians believe they are superior to Katagaria because they are more human. When they sleep, they retain the natural form of a human.
Arcadian Sentinel – soldiers, chosen by the Fates, who hunt down Slayers. Only a few are born to each patria. A Sentinel knows he or she has been chosen because when they reach maturity, geometrical shapes appear and cover one side of their face. Many choose to use their magick to hide the markings to blend in with humans and so other Weres don’t know what they are.
Aristos – the rarest of Arcadians. An Aristos is the most powerful of their breed and can wield magick effortlessly. They are considered the gods of their kind and are usually guarded and revered. Unlike any other Were-Hunter, Aristos can time-travel any time even when the moon is not full.
Katagaria – are animal hearted Were-Hunters who are born in animal form and able to transform into human form when they reach puberty and unlock their magickal powers. When they sleep, they retain their natural form of an animal.
Metriazo Collar – a collar that Were-Hunter, usually Arcadians, use to dampen the magickal powers of a Were-Hunter. Electrical pulses are sent from the collar into the body of the wearer which keep them from shifting shapes and keeps them in a weakened state. The collar can only we taken off by magick or extreme strength.
Timoria – a Katagaria punishment which sometimes results in death.
Mating – Were-Hunters do not get to choose their own mates. The Fates choose them and the Fates often seem to be cruel about it. Were-Hunters have to have sex in order to find their mate and when they are assigned their mate, matching tribal or geometrical designs are burned into their skin (usually on the palms of their hands but not always). Once the mark appears, the couple has three weeks to complete a mating ritual or the male is rendered impotent for as long as the female is alive. The female can have sex with others but will never have children. Even if they complete the ritual, the male can only have sex with his mate.
Bonded Mates – a mated couple can choose to complete a binding ritual which will tie them together forever. If one dies, the other one dies.
Sanctuary – a neutral zone for all things paranormal. Nicolette and Aubert Peltier aka Mama and Papa Bear set up Sanctuary after two of their cubs were killed by Arcadian Sentinels. Anyone is welcome at the bar even Daimons as long as no one gets violent or sheds blood on the premises. It is also imperative that nobody exposes the paranormal world to the humans who frequent the bar. To humans, Sanctuary is a popular biker bar and attraction in New Orleans.
Omegrion – is the ruling council of the Were-Hunters. One representative from each patria of both Katagaria and Arcadian sit on the council and have a vote. The Omegrion is responsible for setting and keeping the laws of the Were-Hunters. The members also are responsible for punishment of Were-Hunters and call for a blood hunt for any who are deemed a threat.
The Omegrion meet on the Savitar’s moving island of Neratiti. Savitar is the mediator to the Omegrion and nobody messes with Savitar. A glaring reminder of that is the empty seat where the Arcadian jaguar representative used to sit. After pissing Savitar off, Savitar destroyed all of the Arcadian jaguars. There are none left so the seat on the council remains empty.