Half vampire and half human, that is what Magiere is but she has no idea that is what she is, yet. Barb Hendee and J. C. Hendee spin for us a tale that is riveting and will have you constantly turning the pages to see what is going to happen next. The characters are believable and you actually care for them right from the start. The first few pages might be a little hard to get started but getting through them is going to be a real reward and you will not want to put this book down.
Imagine if you will that you are in a time when the supernatural is extremely real, you just don’t know it yet. Everyone believes in the creatures of the night but are too scared to actually say it out loud for fear. What that fear is you don’t really know but it is so strong that when something happens you will actually look the other way because if you don’t it just might happen to you. That is the world that Magiere and her half elf companion Leesil live in. Superstition is so rampant and alive that they have actually found a way to make a living off of it by staging vampire cleansings with all the theatrics that would make any current modern day producer and special effects director proud. Magiere would always be the hunter and Leesil would play the vampire and attack her for all the villagers to see. Then they would go on to the next village with much of the village coffers jingling in their pouches. It was a good life with little risk but it is a life that the woman Magiere is getting tired of. She wants to settle down and live a simple life by the sea with her own little tavern, never having to play the hunter ever again.
Leesil has a troubled past that he desperately wants to forget. He has been advisor to a tyrant, a murderer, an assassin and a betrayer and traitor to a friend. The last drove him away from his past and most nights he drinks himself to sleep to forget and keep the nightmares at bay. While running from his past he found that he could use all the skills he had learned in the past to make a living picking pockets. No one ever knows that he had even been there, all that is except for Magiere, she felt his presence almost immediately and caught him in the act. That was the beginning of several years of friendship and the fleecing of superstitious peasants that thought their towns were overrun with vampires and the other undeads of the night. He was perfect to play the part of the vampire with his tanned skin and shocking silvery hair. He look different, moved different and could do things that other humans could not. He could make the villagers believe that Mags was indeed fighting a creature of the night. It was a good life.
Everything changed when they cam to a village that had peculiar deaths, the dead had strange marks on their necks and seemed drained of blood. Magiere ignored it and just did the routine as usual and got out of town to rest up for the journey ahead. Everything was going as usual except there was something in the woods and the dog, Leesil’s dog Chap kept growling at the woods. Chap knew something was out there. He knew that something unnatural was stalking him and he wanted to chase it, to kill it. Chap was a special hound, one bread for the hunt and the protection of its master. It would not let anything happen to either Magiere or Leesil if he could help it. He would sacrifice his own life to protect theirs. Chap’s growling caused them concern as they never saw the dog act like this and were trying to calm him when they were attacked. What ever was in the woods looked like a village beggar but moved with such speed that he was almost unable to be tracked with the eyes. If it were not for Leesil’s heritage or Magiere’s neither would have stood a chance against what was attacking them. It was a real vampire, a Noble Dead that was after them though neither would even consider admitting it.
Fighting this one villager was so much different for Magiere. It was instilling in her a hunger, a thirst and a desire to kill. She wanted to tear the creature before her apart and it scared her. She lost herself in the fight as her own teeth grew and a lust and desire to hunt filled her. She was starting to realize what she was but was not going to admit it, not to anyone, not even to herself. The fight was soon over and Magiere knew that it was definitely time to call it quits on the game. She had just told Leesil about a tavern she had purchased and how she wanted to tend the bar and have him tend the tables for gambling. Now her worst fears of hurting someone actually cam true and it shook her to the very core. Little did she know that was just the start of what was happening to her and what lay in wait for her in the town of Miiska where her new home and tavern await.
Barb & J. C. Hendee have given us the perfect start for a tale about the undead, the supernatural and what a hunter breed for the fight can really do. It just isn’t all fight fight fight but there is also the more emotional side to the characters as well. We see Magiere growing more fond of Leesil and Chap day by day, more fond then she would want to be. Relationships scare her for some reason, like she is afraid of herself and rightly so with what she really is. She is a dhampir breed to hunt the creatures of the night and Welstiel is going to make sure that she stays on that path no matter what. He will see that she does exactly what he wants her to do once he makes sure she is able to do so.