by Patricia Briggs
Series: Mercy Thompson, #10Hardcover, 364 pg.
Ace Books, 2017
Read: March 10 – 13, 2017
It was pretty clear from the pages of Fire Touched that Mercy’s little The Doctor to the Sycorax speech was a big deal. But I don’t think any of us really had a clue just how far-reaching the potential ramifications were until it’s spelled out for us by a few different characters here. Well, okay, that’s probably not true — a lot of people who read these books probably thought about it, but I didn’t — and I think that Mercy and her acquaintances do a better job of spelling things out than I could, so I’ll let them. But many in the supernatural communities aren’t happy that she did it and are looking for ways to insulate themselves from it, as well has looking for ways to take advantage of it for their benefit.
One such person is Bonarata — one of the oldest, and most feared vampires in the world — he has ties to the Tri-Cities vampires, as well. He’s the one who’s responsible for Marisila, Stefan and Wulfe leaving Europe and ending up in the Tri-Cities. He’s also a legend in Werewolf circles — many years ago, he killed an Alpha and turned his mate into a blood-slave. After the death of Chastel, Bonarata is the closest thing the non-Fae have to a Super-Villain (pretty sure any of the Grey Lords that wanted to could wipe the floor with him).
So shortly after Fire Touched, Bonarata arranges for Mercy to be kidnapped. Now, while Briggs’ vampires aren’t the political wheels-within-wheels schemers that Faith Hunter’s are, they’re still crafty and wily — so all his reasons for doing so aren’t immediately discernible (and probably not totally discernible by the end of the book — but we get closer).
Mercy is Mercy, however, and it doesn’t take too long before she escapes from Bonarata and finds herself running throughout Europe to escape from his henchmen. She finds herself in Prague (this detail feels like a spoiler, but it’s on the dust jacket, so . . . ) where her best bet for an ally is one of the few Alphas in the wold with a grudge against Bran Cornick. In addition to this she finds herself in the middle of a couple of vampire nests competing for control of Prague, and there’s a whole bunch of ghosts (and other things that go bump in the night) that are taking advantage of the presence of someone who can see them.
Meanwhile, Adam, Marisila, Stefan, Honey and a couple of others are on the way to Bonarata’s home to negotiate for Mercy’s release. Whoops. These chapters are told in Mercy’s voice from Adam’s point-of-view, as if she’s relating what he told her happened, which is a nice touch. It also suggests that she survives this mess — not-at-all-a-spoiler: the first person narrator lives. It’s here that we learn a lot more about Honey, Marisila and Stefan — we also learn about Adam’s Doctor Who fandom. It’s nice seeing things from Adam’s POV for a change.
Mostly the book consists of Adam and Mercy doing all they can to survive long enough to see each other again — which is sweet. We’ve seen them work together plenty of times in this series — we’ve also seen them apart for brief periods — this is the longest (that I can recall) that they’ve been separated, and the furthest apart they’ve been. They’re both independent by nature (however that nature is shaped into something else for the needs of the Pack), so they can adapt to this, but their primary goal is to get back together. Which I’m sure made many, many fans cheer and melt.
Will someone drawn in by the cover art, or wanting to see what the fuss over this Briggs-person enjoy the book? Yeah, I think so — but not as much as the established fan. This book works as well as it does because of the world, not just the story. We’ve been in Mercy’s world for 10 books now — for most of us you can add the short stories and Charles & Anna novels, too. We know it what it means for Honey to make that trip. We know what it means for people to exploit Mercy (or try to) to get to Bran or Adam. We know the pain that the loss of pack-link or mate-bond creates. This would be a lousy book 4, but with the cumulative weight of this series, Silence Fallen us a strong book 10.
It was a fun book — exciting, amusing, and fascinating to see how packs and nests work outside of the US. Most of all it was a good story, taking several competent and powerful characters out of their usual setting and circumstances, and throwing them into a milieu they’re not familiar with to watch them sink or swim. Excellent read for fans of the series — which isn’t a surprise to any, but just something I think I have to say.
Now begins the wait for #11.