|Author||Laurell K. Hamilton|
|Series||Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter|
|Genre(s)||Horror, Mystery, Erotic novel|
|Publication date||October 11, 2016|
|Preceded by||Dead Ice|
|Followed by||A Girl, a Goat, and a Zombie (eShort)|
In her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake learns that evil is in the eye of the beholder…
Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.
And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.
Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from...a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer.
Anita, Nathaniel, and Damian start to fix their triumvirate because Damian believes it's making him sick. Nathaniel ends up taking control of the connection, and accidentally rolls both Anita and Damian when they have sex together. They all gain power, and Damian loses his inability to disobey Anita's commands.
At the same time, Anita is trying to help Edward to help Irish authorities with their newfound vampire problem, and is eventually invited to Ireland to provide assistance in person despite their misgivings about necromancy. She takes along an entourage that includes both Damian and Nathaniel, but not a single wererat. Rat is her first voluntarily gained beast (one that doesn't sit well with the pre-existing ones), and she has a pact with Rafael to make him her animal to call, but hasn't had an opportunity to do so yet.
Anita finds the Irish police's attempts to treat vampires as just a medical emergency frustrating, and they find her unnecessarily bloodthirsty, but she's helpful enough that they don't send her immediately back. After they realize that She-Who-Made-Damian a.k.a. M'Lady is actually behind the attacks instead of having someone invade her territory, she calls all the newly made vampires out into sunlight and attacking people, and Anita's group struggles to contain at least part of the chaos.
Afterwards, when politicians take over and there isn't more for Anita to do, she goes off to a hotel with Domino to feed the ardeur in order to gain some of her strength back. Ethan takes the adjoining room as their bodyguard, but is unable to prevent an attack from members of the Harlequin that have chosen to follow M'Lady instead of Anita and Jean-Claude. Domino gets killed in the struggle, and Rodrigo force-feeds Anita some of the blood because he's sadistic and finds it funny at the time. It causes Anita to metaphysically marry a clan tiger, fulfilling the prophecy, and makes her the true heir of the Mother of All Darkness and the Father of the Dawn. Even drugged, and moments before losing consciousness, Anita manages to bind Rodrigo as her leopard Bride, and through him the other two siblings of their triplet, Rodina and Ru.
M'Lady appears in Anita's dream, but she manages to break free of it, only to find herself manacled within M'Lady's stronghold and unable to use her metaphysical ties to call help. Anita learns that everything from Damian's sickness to the vampire infestation in Dublin has been M'Lady's plot to bring Anita close enough to steal from within her the rest of the power of Marmee Noir, as part of it went to M'Lady as well. Anita manages to resist M'Lady's powers but not the fear her sadism and sheer hatred causes, especially after she has Nathaniel and Damian brought in and promises to ruin their beauty. She cuts off Nathaniel's long braid, and then leaves Anita and Nathaniel hanging to await their fate in order to build up their fear.
They manage to free themselves and take out their guards, and then the triplets help them to escape. Their pursuers reach them at the nearby village, where Damian joins them after escaping on his own and killing M'Lady's animal to call. While Anita is unable to raise the dead thanks to Ireland's wild magic, she is able to use the power of their triumvirate to help her take control of the numerous ghosts of the old gaol where the vampires had been killing people for centuries. M'Lady's human servant is killed in the fight as well, and losing both of her servants is finally enough to kill her. Rodrigo sacrifices himself for Anita, but Rodina and Ru come to St. Louis as Anita's Brides.
|Anita Blake Series|
|Novels||Guilty Pleasures • The Laughing Corpse • Circus of the Damned • The Lunatic Cafe • Bloody Bones • The Killing Dance • Burnt Offerings • Blue Moon • Obsidian Butterfly • Narcissus in Chains • Cerulean Sins • Incubus Dreams • Micah • Danse Macabre • The Harlequin • Blood Noir • Skin Trade • Flirt • Bullet • Hit List • Kiss the Dead • Affliction • Jason • Dead Ice • Crimson Death • Serpentine|
|Short Stories||Magic Like Heat Across My Skin • Blood Upon My Lips • The Girl who was Infatuated with Death • Those Who Seek Forgiveness • Selling Houses • Beauty • Dancing • Shutdown • A Girl, a Goat, and a Zombie • Wounded|
|Comics||The First Death • Guilty Pleasures (Handbook) • The Laughing Corpse • Circus of the Damned|