Traitor to the Blood: A Novel of the Noble Dead Hardcover – Jan 3 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
The Hendees' bestselling Noble Dead series (Sister of the Dead, etc.) makes the leap from mass market to hardcover with this winning fourth novel to feature vampire hunter Magiere, who's half-vampire herself, and her half-elf partner, Leesil. Raised in the Warlands, Leesil must return there to investigate the fate of the parents he betrayed and to seek redemption for his sins as an enslaved assassin for the evil Lord Darmouth. Accompanying Magiere and Leesil are two appealing supporting characters: Wynn, an idealistic elf, and the dog Chap, who's actually a fay in canine clothing. In Venjètz, Darmouth's city, Leesil goes to his father's only confidant, the feline-loving innkeeper Byrd, but wonders if he can trust the man, as Byrd is also an informant for Darmouth. Meanwhile, none other than Lord Darmouth himself calls upon Magiere's vampire-killing skills. Fans of the series are sure to be pleased, while the novel stands well enough on its own to attract new readers. (Jan.)
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This is one of those books for which the term dark fantasy was definitely intended. (Chronicle)
...fabulous entertainment wrought with mystery, adventure, and sharp-toothed wit. (Mark Anthony, author of The Last Rune series)
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel circles around Leesil, and his return to the warlands where he once lived as a child. Leesils parents had been spys and asassins for a local warlord, Darmouth, but were aparently put to death when Leesil ran away from home. The guilt over leaving his parents behind to become Darmouth victims, Leesil returns only to find out that perhaps his parents had not been killed, and that in fact they were part of a deep rooted rebellion, attempting to overthrow Darmouth.
As the tension mounts, Magiere fears that Leesil might be losing his mind over all the secrets and hidden information regarding his parents, and their where-abouts.
To add to their problems is the mystery of Chap, and his Fay nature, which is more closly examined and explored through this work.
Fantastic read overall.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Leesil and Magiere cross a medieval Rumanian world that is full of otherworld folk, wierd creatures, and the wars of men. It is a brutal place, and the opportunities for adventure are endless. They are joined by Wynn, a scholar, who becomes the group's historian, gathering information about the world less traveled and the behavior of Dhampirs. Wynn has a very peculiar sense of right and wrong - more often than not Leesil and Magiere finds themselves catapulted into a crisis by her manipulations.
Just as Sister of the Dead was the story of Magiere's discoveries about herself, Traitor to the Blood is about Leesil's return to his birthplace in the lands of Lord Darmouth. It is from there that Leesil originally fled, putting his parents at risk to their vengeful master, and it is there he must return to find out what happened when he left, and if either parent survived. But Leesil's curiosity becomes a compulsion, and between his principles and Wynn's, Magiere has her hands full trying to keep everyone alive.
The story has everything a fantasy should - vampires, elves, magic, and a fair amount of politics as Magiere, Chap, Leesil, and Wynn are drawn deep into the undercurrents of a tyrannical the realm. Darmouth and his minions play a deadly game with the Dhampir and her friends, and plot follows counterplot in a genuinely complex piece of fantasy work. The Hendee's get top marks for the latest adventure in the Noble Dead series, and there is still more to come.
The plot in this book seems to be much more involved that the first three books. In the first three, the plot seemed rather linear and there weren't many subplots. They were still very good books, don't get me wrong. In this book however, it seems the Hendee's made a conscience effort to really have a solid foundation in which to throw their characters. There are several subplots in this book that only add to the mystery of the situation and even within the last one-hundred pages yet another subplot is thrown in for good measure. With all this talk of multiple subplots, you might be thinking this book is confusing. It's really not. The plot, and subplots, are laid out in such a way (and explained) that there is really no confusion. They are merely added elements to the overall story and help explain different characters motivation and feelings.
For the most part the characters in this book as carryovers from the previous three books. Of course, being that the heroes are in a different place now, there are some new additions, but the main cast largely remains the same. This is a good thing though, because it allows the Hendee's to delve deeper into who the characters really are instead of having to explain about new characters all the time. There is a lot of character development in this book for a number of characters. However, there is no secret, this book largely focuses on Leesil and his mission to find his parents. These characters, from the heroes to the villains are very well written and this only adds to the fantastic story of the book, and series. These are not your two dimensional, cliché ridden characters from some other fantasy books that are being published now.
I do have one minor criticism about this book. In the previous books there has always been some levity and humor sprinkled in. That's fine, in fact I enjoy that. However, there was one scene in this book that seemed to be written strictly for the humorous aspect, and it just didn't seem to fit with the part of the story it was placed in. It kind of threw me off a little bit. Again, not a huge deal, but one worth mentioning.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and this series. The Noble Dead series is one of the most underrated fantasy series going on today. There is not much, if any, publicity surrounding the series. In fact, I heard about Dhamphir from another author when I asked about good vampire fantasy books. Sometimes, word of mouth is the best advertising one can get. So, I will close with this. If you like vampire novels and you like fantasy novels don't hesitate at all to jump into this series. You won't be disappointed. They truly are diamonds in the rough and make for some very enjoyable reading.
On to the meat and potatoes of the matter. For those of us that are real fans of the series this book should keep your attention, answer some questions, and further develop the characters and side plots. If you are a wishy washy fan you might find this story to be a bit to be to much talk. Like the first book in the series there is some action at the begining, and then a considerable lull until the last hundred pages or so. The quality and intensity of the last fifty pages will keep you turning pages with great anticipation.
So on the whole the book is worth the time, its a long read, but if you have invested the time in the characters it is a must. You finally see some more of Leesil's inner deamons.
First, I really adore Leesil and Magiere as a couple. They are extremely cute together, and I particularly love Leesil and his conflicted nature. The angst is piled high in this one, as Leesil is full of guilt for the murders he is forced to commit, and he retreats from Magiere. Magiere tries to help him, but becomes frustrated when nothing seems to work.
The romance between these two characters is understated and touching. I like how protective Magiere is, and the gentle way they touch each other through the book. However, I would really like at least 1 decent sex scene. They are interrupted and sex is implied throughout the story, and while I know this isn't romance, the sexual tension is strong between these two, and a somewhat more detailed scene would not be amiss.
I have to say Wynn has always been rather annoying to me. She is somewhat less annoying in this one, but it is very clear that the authors are gearing up for a spinoff featuring her. Too much time is spent with Wynn, rescuing Wynn, seeing to her needs, and she is still wangsting about the death of Chane from the previous story.
Second, I just find Chane creepy. I know he is Wynn's love interest, but the guy is so violent and grossly so, I just didn't care about him. Also Westiel. These two skulk around the entire book and really don't do much. They could've easily been edited out.
Finally: the plot involving `not killing the evil bad guy.' Eh. I think the authors dug deep with that one. The lord of the city was violent, oppressive, and a monster. Of course he had to die. The whole ending with Leesil trying to save him, seemed a bit out of character. While it is possible the common folk might suffer, it is also possible Osmata would make a better leader. I felt letting a paranoid crazy person who collected heads live was a bit much. Magiere and Leesil are clever. They should've come up with something a bit better, such as disabling the crazy man and letting his consort rule. It just seemed like a last minute `gotcha' to add a bit more angst to the tale.
While I did enjoy traitor to the blood, and in fact think it is one of the better novels I've read all this year, I felt the ending and the wangst over murdering the villain was a bit silly.
Still I enjoyed seeing Leesil and Magiere in action, even if it was somewhat hampered by Wynn.
First let's talk about Leesil. This man is madly in love with Magiere and has put himself in danger time after time to keep her safe. In this book he takes her to the most dangerous place he knows to find out what happen to his parents. He's not going there to rescue them but to just get info so he may alleviate the guilt he feels for fleeing. Why is this action contrived? The last book explained to us that his mother was still alive and in the elfin lands, if he went there she could tell him what happen after he left. Did he do this? No. He gets a hair up his butt and goes to Venjetz. Why? I don't know. The cost to benefit is never explained fully. Could it be the Hendees just wanted the group in peril. There is no other reason for the group to go to Venjetz. Leesil is well known there. If he is caught he and his love will be killed. There is know one there he can trust because the king keeps family members of anyone who could help hostage. Did they go to Venjetz because the Hendees thought they might get another book in?
Next when did two X con-artist start to care about the geopolitical fall out of over throwing a tyrant . This is the most contrive part of the story Leesil must now protect the man who killed his parent and ruined his life. Why? You may ask, " To protect the peasant population of this country from civil war". A peasant population that is being brutalized, starved and murder by their tyrant king. You would think with what Leesil knows about this guy he would help start the civil war. No. It doesn't matter how many innocent people must die. The tyrant must be saved at all cost. Give me a break. If they were going to use this ploy they could have shown a king that did not know any other way to rule. One who had a deep love for his kingdom and thought keeping it together justified anything he did. Did they do this? No, we get a villain that is complete self center and morally corrupt .
The Hendees have turned all their main characters into thirteen year old girls going through addolesant guilt. Each page is so full emotional turmoil that you start wondering if this is fantasy Novel or group therapy . Even the dog is going through a moral dilemma. In most fantasy books the weaker characters start taking on the characteristics of the stronger character. They find emotional strength to over come their personal demons. In this book , which is the forth book, the strong characters are getting weaker and weaker characters are just irritating. None of protagonists are growing emotionally, they're just living in the pain of the past, if this was the first book that would be fine but this is the fourth. The characters aren't just stagnant but are regressing to a hopelessness that greater then they felt in earlier books. What was the point of putting Leesil and Magiere together if they don't gain strength from each other.
I love reading and respect all writers because they have achieved something I never could, they've written a book. But writers must also respect their readers and the Hendees did not with this novel.