The Dark-Hunter novels hold a special place on my bookshelf. Many, many, years ago, way back when we had Waldenbooks, I was searching for something a little different. Up until this point I was strictly historical romance. That day I picked up a Carpathian book by Christine Feehan and three books by Sherrilyn Kenyon. I’d like to say that was the late ’90s. Those books forever changed my reading landscape and I never looked back. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t discard my love for historical romance. I just think I burned myself out on all the rakes and dukes. I still love those Carpathians and I love the Dark-Hunters and all the offshoots. Sword of Darkness is by far to date and will always remain on my top five books ever read. Which brings me to this new offshoot about the Hellchasers and the Hell-Hunters. What I love about Sword of Darkness and Deadmen Walking is the merging of fantasy and historical with a big dollop of romance. When I say I had the best time reading this book, I would be understating that comment. I wanted to use “swashbuckling fun,” but I think the crew aboard the Sea Witch would make me walk the plank, and I am just not jumping into that ocean with all the creepy demon sea creatures.
Devyl Bane was once a powerful warlord with a dubious past that may have made Count Dracula look like a choirboy. His past is dark and bloody and a byproduct of the time period and the multitude of battles he fought. Add in the fact that the only people he truly loved (his sisters) were gone. Keep in mind he has lots of powers and his family tree makes him a little extra powerful. He met Thorn on the battlefield a time or two. When he was sent to the bowels of hell, Thorn broke away from his father to form the Hellchasers to keep the worst of the demons at bay. Enter the Deadmen crew aboard the Sea Witch.
It’s 1716 and Devyl and his Deadmen crew find themselves at a pub in Jamaica. Devyl has a feeling things are not quite right. Devyl is a presence that the ladies in the pub draw straws to see who is going to serve him and his crew. Cameron always cheated, but this time she needs his help. Cam’s told her brother’s ship went down and he’s dead, but deep down she knows he still lives. Someone sent her some salvage from the wreck, a necklace charm with intricate detail. The note that accompanied the trinket is from her brother, not to let anyone know she had it and to trust no one. Cameron was told by Menyara to find Captain Bane and seek his help. Devyl is not a happy pirate and used some not-so-flattering language regarding the witch. Which made me laugh. Cameron reminds Devyl of his baby sister, who was slaughtered, and takes on her cause to find her brother.
Cam boards the Sea Witch and figures out really fast that there’s something very different about the crew.
Marcelina is from an ancient race who is currently tied to Devyl, literally. Many years ago Devyl killed her kind and she tied herself to him to save her sister, whom Devyl married. What Devyl didn’t realize was Macelina’s sister was way more evil than he could ever be. Vine killed Bane and now Devyl has a score to settle. Not only do Mara and Devyl have a contemptuous relationship, she’s also their vessel. If Bane dies, so does she. Their story is so layered in heartbreak and zero communication. Yet, deep down in the many layers that are woven together, you know that Devyl does have a heart. It’s just buried beneath vengeance and retribution. Devyl can’t be all that bad, if Thorn is giving him and his crew the opportunity to get their souls back…
Devyl and his crew fight a lot of creepy demons with the help of Cam. When you find out what and who Cam and her brother are, it’s very interesting indeed. The gates are fracturing and Vine is trying to free herself, and she will do everything within her power, including using Mara to get what she wants. Every time their ship is hit or there are storms, this batters Mara and weakens her powers. This is when you see Devyl’s true feelings for Marcelina. Their story is a slow burn. They have a lot of baggage to unload, yet the payoff is perfection. Secrets are revealed, more of the universe is uncovered. This book is a grand adventure on the high seas, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Pirates, Deadmen, Demons, Thorn, the entire cast of characters make this a must read. You don’t need to read the Dark-Hunters to pick up this book. It stands on its own. I had the best time reading this story. I felt like I was right there with them. Now I am off to re-read Sword of Darkness, which, by the way, is on sale right now on Amazon!
Hell hath no fury as a demon caged . . .
To catch evil, takes evil.
Enter Devyl Bane—an ancient warlord who has absolutely no love of humanity. Yet to return to the human realm as one of the most notorious pirates in the Spanish Main for the sake of vengeance, he makes a bitter bargain with Thorn—an immortal Hellchaser charged with battling the worst monsters the ancient gods ever released into our world. Monsters and demons Bane himself once commanded against Thorn and the humans.
For eons, those demons have been locked behind enchanted gates…which are starting to buckle. Now, Bane, with a vicious crew of Deadmen at his command, is humanity’s last hope to restore the gates and return the damned to their eternal prisons.
But things are never so simple. And one of his biggest vexations, aside from keeping his crew from killing each other before they have a chance to save humanity, is the very ship he sails upon. For Mara, the Sea Witch isn’t just a vessel, she’s also a woman born of an ancient race Bane helped to destroy. And sister to the possessed creature who is one of the worst of those trying to break through to claim his soul, and retake the world.
Mara’s innate hatred of him makes the very fires of hell look like a sauna—not that he blames her. Centuries of war and betrayal divide them. But if Mara can’t find the humanity inside the Devyl and the Devyl can’t teach Mara to embrace her darker side for the good of their crew and the world, the two of them will go down in flames and take us all with them.
Read an excerpt.