Formats available: ebook, paperback, audiobook
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: The Penton Legacy, #2
Length: 327 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Date Released: August 12, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository
With the vampire world on the brink of civil war over the scarcity of untainted human blood, battle lines are being drawn between the once peaceful vampire and human enclave of Penton, Alabama, and the powerful Vampire Tribunal. Mirren Kincaid once served the tribunal as their most creative and ruthless executioner—a time when he was known as the Slayer. But when assigned a killing he found questionable, Mirren abandoned the tribunal’s political machinations and disappeared—only to resurface two centuries later as the protector and second-in-command of Penton. Now the tribunal wants him back on their side. To break their rogue agent, they capture Glory Cummings, the descendant of a shaman, and send her to restore Mirren’s bloodthirsty nature. But instead of a monster, Glory sees a man burdened by the weight of his past. Could her magic touch—meant by the tribunal to bring out a violent killer—actually help Mirren break his bonds and discover the love he doesn’t believe he deserves?
Gallowglass. It’s not a word we hear much in the 21st century, and I had to look it up. But even without knowing exactly what it means, the sound of it still sends a chill up the spine.
Mirren Kincaid, the second-in-command to Aiden Murphy in vampire community of Penton, Alabama, was a gallowglass in 16th century Ireland. He sometimes still thinks of himself that way, no matter how much he tries to wall off the part of himself that trained to be an elite mercenary over 400 years ago.
No matter how many years he spent as the Vampire Tribunal’s cold-blooded Slayer. Aiden saved his soul, when all Mirren believed he wanted was to die for his many, many sins; but he just couldn’t make himself wait for the sun.
As part of the deadly political machinations between Aiden Murphy and the Vampire Tribunal, the power-hungry vamps on the Tribunal, especially sadist Matthias Ludlam, want Mirren’s services returned to their soul-sucking side.
He’s captured and starved while cleaning up the mess left behind from the first salvos in this war, the story told in Redemption (reviewed here).
Matthias, because he is a sadistic bastard (just how sadistic will get told in Omega) thinks to push Mirren beyond saving by forcing him into killing a relative innocent, or at least someone whose heart and soul Mirren doesn’t know is black, even if he believes the human woman Matthias throws in his prison cell is a drug-addicted whore.
Gloriana Cummings is none of those things. She’s a telekinetic that Matthias has kidnapped, forcibly addicted to heroin and abused through multiple bleedings for a month. And instead of killing her in a rage of blood lust, Mirren takes just enough blood to break them both out of hell, with the help of a timely rescue from Penton.
Mirren saves Glory, and Glory gives Mirren what he needs most; love and absolution. But saving her from Matthias with her memory intact also brings down the destruction of the place that has provided Mirren with home and healing for decades.
Can a person, who has spent his existence thinking that his only value is in his fighting skill finally admit that he is worthy of being loved and is able to love in return? And will he stand and fight for everything and everyone he believes in, and who believes in him, instead of running from the weakness of emotion?
Escape Rating B+: With all due apologies to Glory’s storyline, the Penton Legacy series is absolute vampire romance reading crack, and I mean that in the best way possible. Maybe potato chips are a better analogy. I don’t think you can read just one. Or I clearly can’t, I opened Omega the minute I finished Absolution.
Mirren’s backstory is complex, but in a different way from Aiden’s in Redemption. He became a gallowglass in the 16th century not just because that’s what he was trained to do, but because it was an honorable profession 400 years ago. He was a warrior. He knows times have changed. Changing with them was hard.
He originally didn’t question the things the Tribunal asked him to do, which, admittedly meant to murder people. He was a mercenary in the 16th century, he became the Tribunal’s mercenary. When he finally got to a point where he had to stop, there was no way out except to fake his own death. So he did. The Tribunal doesn’t leave loose ends, after all; cleaning up their loose ends used to be Mirren’s job.
Glory is Mirren’s equal, not in physical strength, but in spirit. She does have powers. She’s been damaged but she comes back strong, and she fights back the best she can. It’s good for the overall story that she doesn’t get turned. It was important that she be a strong human and stay that way.
The worldbuilding and story arc continue to be well done. This is the middle book in a trilogy, and while it ends well for Mirren and Glory, the overall story does not end on an up-note, which is to be expected. However, I like the way things are building towards what I hope will be a satisfying conclusion.
One last thing. The writer dedicates the book “To Lestat. You were my first.” I had to smile. My first literary vampire was Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Comte de Saint Germain in Hotel Transylvania, but I have very fond memories of sitting enthralled with Lestat poring through Interview with the Vampire one night in almost a single sitting. I only got up once.