I know better than most that there’s a reader for every book and a book for every reader, but, even so, I’m amazed at the very mixed reviews that I read on this book. For me personally, this book is outstanding. A PC Carpathian male who actually wants a partnership with a woman instead of laying down the law! Way to go! His life mate is a woman determined to keep her heart safe so she would not go through the same agony that she had seen her mother and grandmother go through when they lost their spouses. This book brings back the magic from the very first Carpathian book I read, and now I’m waiting with bated breath to see where the author will take the series next.
Dax was born in an ancient time with the gift to see the darkness in Carpathian males. He was feared as the Prince’s judge and executioner since it was his job to keep an eye on the darkness and destroy it when the male turned vampire. Feared and kept at a distance by the other Carpathians, he never expected to be blessed with a life mate of his own. Willingly he sealed himself under the surface of the earth in a volcano with his foster sister Arabejila’s life-mate-turned vampire, whom he had failed to destroy when he turned.
Civilizations have risen and fallen while the hunter and vampire sealed under the surface of the earth battle for the upper hand. Every five years Arabejila’s descendant comes to renew the seal on the mountain to keep the vampire contained. Riley and her mother, the current heirs of Arabejila’s legacy, are racing against time to reach the mountaintop before the time limit on the seal expires. The delays have helped the vampire and he now controls the very nature itself and using puppets puts road bumps in their path. Will they reach the mountain before the volcano explodes and releases the evil that it contains and brings truth to all the old horror stories that were told around the native campfires?
Well, we all know that the volcano has to blow; otherwise, how will Dax be released to find his life mate? As Riley and her party, which is supplemented by Gary and Jubal, our old Carpathian friends from previous books, race up the mountain to see if they can avert disaster, I’m at the edge of my seat furiously turning pages. Riley is a pragmatic modern-day woman and doesn’t really believe in magic, but suddenly her magic unfurls and she performs extraordinary feats and finds that she is gifted with the magical gifts of her ancestors. She certainly does not expect to be bowled over by a several-thousand-year-old male who spews fire at her in one breath and in the next is recognizing her as his life mate.
But the evil vampire is loose and free and proceeds to wreak havoc in the Amazonian rain forest. For the first time the hunter has been able to burrow down to the heart of the vampire to bring it out and incinerate it but unable to destroy the vampire. Clearly both hunter and vampire have evolved into different beings but still of equal strength. Joined by his life mate, finally the hunter will destroy the evil which he had fought for thousands of years.
Since Dax is ancient from the time before memory, the author is able to introduce wonderful fertility and other rituals that will revitalize the Carpathian people when they finally make it back to their mountains. In a revolutionary change, Dax is a very modern male determined to fully romance his life mate rather than forcing his own choices on her. Of course, the ritual with the flower petals is very creative and extremely intriguing.
It’s hard to believe this book is the twenty-third book in the series. Ms. Feehan keeps the reader engaged with the twists and turns of the plot as fire dragons battle water dragons and other forest fauna and flora interact with our characters in interesting ways, both good and bad. I feel sher has done a phenomenal job in keeping the book fresh and alive, and, as I said earlier, magical. I have to say I am certainly ready to take this couple back to the Carpathian mountains and visit with all my favorite characters as the series continues. It does appear that Jubal has a budding romance, but I am not sure if we’ll get to explore it in the author’s Leopard series or Carpathian series. I guess only the author knows and perhaps her publisher at this time what her plans are with that. I am certainly keeping my ear to the ground to stay ahead of the curve as it all unfolds.
Awakening after all this time in a world of absolute darkness and oppressive heat, Dax wonders in how many ways the world above must have changed. But it is how he has changed that fills him with dread and loathing. Buried alive for hundreds of years in a volcano in South America, Dax fears that he has become the full-fledged abomination that every Carpathian male fears, a victim of the insidious evil that has crept relentlessly into his mind and body over the centuries.
But there are some things that never change.
His name is Mitro, the vampire Dax had hunted all these long centuries. Once at the side of the prince of the Carpathian people he is the epitome of everything malevolent, and perpetrator of one of the most shocking killing sprees known to man — and beast. Even his friends and family weren’t safe from Mitro’s bloodlust. Neither was Mitro’s lifemate, Arabejila, an extraordinary woman with extraordinary gifts.
But now that Dax has re-emerged, so too has Mitro. The ultimate battle between good and evil has been re-engaged. Between Dax and Mitro, a violent game has begun — one that has marked Riley Parker, the last descendent of Arabejila, as the reward.
Other books in this series: