Dark Time: Mortal Path Book One

( 41 )

Overview

Three hundred years ago, she sold her soul to a demon. Now she wants it back.

For centuries, the woman calling herself Maliha Crayne has lived a second life—as an assassin for the malevolent creature who owns her soul. A haunted killer with the blood of countless victims on her hands, she has finally discovered a way to nullify the demonic pact that chains her: If she saves a life for every one she has taken, she will be free.

But if she ...

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Dark Time (Mortal Path Series #1)

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Overview

Three hundred years ago, she sold her soul to a demon. Now she wants it back.

For centuries, the woman calling herself Maliha Crayne has lived a second life—as an assassin for the malevolent creature who owns her soul. A haunted killer with the blood of countless victims on her hands, she has finally discovered a way to nullify the demonic pact that chains her: If she saves a life for every one she has taken, she will be free.

But if she fails, her punishments will be unspeakable, unendurable . . . and neverending.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Growing up in a 19th-century funeral home might have set the tone for Dakota Banks's life. In her debut fiction, she proves the point by conjuring up an infernal tale about a burned-at-the-stake witch who refuses to let bygones be bygones. Two hundred years of savage carnage later, the demonically inclined Susannah Layton, now known as Mialha, decides that she wants to retire, but unless she can perform some good deeds quickly, she will be consigned to the very hottest parts of hell.
David Morrell
“A passionate, fascinating story packed with action and history. Three hundred years ago, Maliha Crayne was burned at the stake. Now she’s in a race against time to save the world and her soul, and you’ll be with her step by step.”
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“With a kick-ass heroine who’s trying to get out of an unimaginaby bad situation and tons of action, this is a terrific read.”
Gayle Lynds
“Sweeping across continents and centuries, THE MORTAL PATH by Dakota Banks is story-telling at its most vivid. The characters are fascinating, the plot nail-biting, and the period pieces memorable. Curl up in your favorite chair - entertainment is guaranteed.”
James Rollins
“THE MORTAL PATH is a novel to be savored for both its edge of suspense and the pure joy of its storytelling. Part immortal, all human, Maliha is a heroine who will leave readers breathless and craving more. Not to be missed!”
Steve Berry
“Seductive, sophisticated, and imaginative, The Mortal Path: Dark Time has a multi-dimensional quality with beguiling concepts and a labyrinth of fast-paced suspense. There’s food for thought on every fascinating page. Dakota Banks is firing on all cylinders.”
David Dun
“Edge of your seat, breathtaking action in a must-read supernatural thriller.”
Romantic TimesBOOKclub
"With a kick-ass heroine who’s trying to get out of an unimaginaby bad situation and tons of action, this is a terrific read."
Steve Berry
"Seductive, sophisticated, and imaginative, The Mortal Path: Dark Time has a multi-dimensional quality with beguiling concepts and a labyrinth of fast-paced suspense. There’s food for thought on every fascinating page. Dakota Banks is firing on all cylinders."
David Morrell
"A passionate, fascinating story packed with action and history. Three hundred years ago, Maliha Crayne was burned at the stake. Now she’s in a race against time to save the world and her soul, and you’ll be with her step by step."
Gayle Lynds
"Sweeping across continents and centuries, THE MORTAL PATH by Dakota Banks is story-telling at its most vivid. The characters are fascinating, the plot nail-biting, and the period pieces memorable. Curl up in your favorite chair - entertainment is guaranteed."
David Dun
"Edge of your seat, breathtaking action in a must-read supernatural thriller."
James Rollins
"THE MORTAL PATH is a novel to be savored for both its edge of suspense and the pure joy of its storytelling. Part immortal, all human, Maliha is a heroine who will leave readers breathless and craving more. Not to be missed!"
Romantic Times BOOKclub
“With a kick-ass heroine who’s trying to get out of an unimaginaby bad situation and tons of action, this is a terrific read.”
Publishers Weekly

Fans of the supernatural and dark fantasy will be intrigued by Maliha Crayne's quest to save her soul, though it has more flash than substance. Susannah Layhem, burnt at the stake in 1692, was posthumously recruited by a demon. She served as his pet assassin for more than 300 years before her refusal to kill a baby revealed a loophole in her contract. Now, as Maliha, she writes mysteries and tries to balance her assassinations by saving human lives, the only route to paradise. While there is an actual story centered on the murders of two hackers, this is mostly an introduction to Maliha, her eclectic group of friends and her uncanny ability to attract violence and death that somehow never counts against her efforts toward salvation. Perhaps the next book will have more plot to go with all the action. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061687303
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/28/2009
  • Series: Mortal Path Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 268,445
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Growing up in a converted 1890s funeral home, complete with blood gutters in the basement floor, fueled Dakota Banks' interest in the paranormal. She's no ghost whisperer, but she keeps an open mind. She's fascinated with both archaeology and the paranormal, especially when the two intersect, as they do in Mortal Path.

Dakota is a member of the Horror Writers Association and the International Thriller Writers. She lives in a St. Louis suburb with her husband, two sons adopted from Peru and Ethiopia, and a couple of cats who keep her writing on track.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 41 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Started good then went down hill...

    I got into the book at the beginning, then at a quarter of the book...? Susannah/Maliha/Marsha whole purpose got lost. She's to save as many life as she took, to be free, but it was dragging, not a whole lot of fighting, kick butt actions. I don't know what happen the author lost me, it seems to me that the story took a different turn. The only thing that got me interested was her potential relationship with Jake but even that wasn't well developped! too bad the cover looked good.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by www.cymlowell.blogspot.com

    Imagine this: You are pregnant with your first child, homing with your husband and your fascination with herbal medicines. In the middle of the night, religious zealots drag you from your bed and throw you in a cold, rancid jail cell where you are beaten. Your husband stands by. The baby girl, who you would have named Constanta, is born in the squalor of the floor with your own hands. The zealots burn you at the stake as your husband passively watches along with the rest of the community, hurling epithets against the witch that you are supposed to be (accused by a disappointed suitor for your husband).

    And then . . . you are extracted from the fire by someone who offers you eternal life. In exchange, you must do his bidding as an assassin with superhuman powers. The dead Susannah becomes the Ageless Maliha. After some 300 years, she thirsts for the love of her child and more to life than being a killing machine. She rebels and begins finding the keys for undoing the demon and his cohorts. The demon offers a way out as a mortal human, which requires that Maliha balance her evil deeds with good. In her day job, Maliha is a popular fiction writer. Sound familiar?

    Dark Time: Mortal Path is a great adventure, taking the reader all over the world, back and forth across the millennia. Dakota Banks has crafted the beginning of a series of stories. When the pages stop turning, too soon for sure, I wanted to keep on turning to see how Maliha continues her quest for survival as a human, achievement of good, and whether her new romance has traction beyond passionate encounter. A fine read by an excellent writer with a fertile mind, and a great future.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Promising Start to a New Dark Urban Fantasy Series!

    This book was my most anticipated book release this summer and I really enjoyed it. Susannah Layhem was wrongfully accused of being a witch and burned at the steak in 1692. While she was burning, her heart was so desperate for revenge that shortly after her death, Rabishu, a demon lord reached out to her and gave her a chance to exact her revenge on those that wronged her. For this "gift" Susannah would become his eternal slave, one of the Ageless. The Ageless are human beings brought back from death, bound to a demon master and turned eternal assassins to perform their masters bidding. After centuries of service, Susannah abhors the killing machine she's become and finds a loophole in her contract. Reinventing herself, Susannah becomes Maliha Crayne. For Maliha to truly free herself from her contract with Rabishu she must counter every death caused by her hand, with saving a life. Only thing, she must complete counteracting centuries of killing before she dies a mortal death; if her goal is not achieved before her mortal death, Rabishu owns her in hell for eternity. The beginning of the book was phenomenal and tragic, then things started to slow down towards the middle and became a bit mediocre, however, the last three-quarters of the book were fast paced and exciting. One thing that bothered me though, was reading about Susannah's evil side after the fact. Susannah/Maliha is tough and brave. I would've preferred to experience some of her murderous acts, not just the good acts. This novel has loads of action and very little sex. I highly recommend this book to dark urban fantasy readers and look forward to the next book in the series, Sacrifice.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2009

    New supernatural thriller is a real page-turner

    During Colonial times, Susannah Layhem is a content wife, mother-to-be, and healer for her village. "Witch mania" sweeps through Massachusetts and Susannah is accused but innocent. Embittered by the loss of all of her goals for life, she is receptive when an ancient Sumerian demon offers her a way out of her death sentence. She becomes the demon's Black Ghost, an immortal assassin who also has special powers like fast speed and healing.

    This goes on for centuries until she finally begins to question why others should die so she can keep her youth and beauty. She rebels against her orders. The demon, who answers to a higher Sumerian god, is forced to explain to her how she can get out of the contract. She has to save as many lives as she's taken and she'll be free. The problem is every time she saves a life, she ages. She can die of old age or get too feeble to save lives before she saves enough of them. Time is against her.

    From here the story moves to modern times. Susannah takes a new name for her new mission, Maliha. Maliha is an incredible, powerful, sexy, kick-ass heroine who is also vulnerable on the inside as she tries to move back into the world of mortals. Her story is super compelling and the emotional attachment to her begins on page one and deepens throughout the book. Maliha has to be the best urban fantasy/supernatural thriller character I've come across in a long time. The book itself is a mix of action, romance, supernatural, action, moral dilemmas, and more action! I love the way the story is told using some flashbacks to show us how Maliha got to be the way she is.

    Something really original about this book is that it is based on Sumerian mythology. Sounds strange, but because it is based on known myths that somehow makes it more credible. Figure that out.

    The main thriller plot wraps up nicely but there are plenty of threads that will carry over into the next book. I'm usually not a fan of cliffhanger endings (just get annoyed) but this book has an amazing cliffhanger ending that really worked for me because I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!! I highly recommend this book to urban fantasy and supernatural thriller readers, and anyone looking for a page-turner.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The first paranormal Mortal Path thriller is light fun

    In 1692 Susannah Layhem is accused of being a witch and jailed; her baby is born and dies while she is incarcerated. She no longer cares that she is innocent and the facts would bear out her contention; but that did not matter to her accusers including her husband and his brother and wife. After she dies in the holy bonfire, Rabishu the demon recruits her to become his top gun assassinating people. For three centuries she did his bidding, but abruptly says no when the demon assigns her to murder a baby as she never stopped grieving for her dead infant Constanza .

    The demon is as stunned as Susannah is when she realizes she somewhat is freed of her Faustian contract although she will still have to kill mortals. Now residing on earth as Maliha Crane, she hopes to regain her soul so she can stop her killing after three centuries of doing the demon's bidding. She writes mystery novels and tries to save humans in an effort to balance her karma and is involved in the investigation of the homicides of two hackers.

    Although the plot is extremely thin especially when it converts from historical to modern day urban fantasy, fans will enjoy meeting Susannah-Maliha and the worlds of Dakota Banks (including eerie dark Midworld). The first paranormal Mortal Path thriller is dark and enthralling as Rabishu is outraged at Malilha saying no for the first time as she hopes to obtain some redemption for her dark soul.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 27, 2010

    Good book

    I enjoyed this book. I wasn't fantastic but it was very good and I'm looking forward to the next one in the series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fantastic new author debut!

    This book was a thrilling new addition to the paranormal fantasy genre. I loved the original concepts Dakota Banks has employed in her debut novel! Susannah/Maliha is a very compelling main character with an appropriately dramatic and well thought-out backstory. Even the tiniest details sprinkled throughout the book were well-researched and had me learning something new about the world, i.e. Kopi Luwak coffee and the McLaren F1. I couldn't help myself from turning page after page for hours on end. Cannot wait until the next installment of this new series to come out!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2009

    This is a new series that is action packed and very good story line

    This series is going to keep readers wanting more. She sells her soul for revenge but after centuries of being the assasin for the dark side she is tired of the killing. She finds a way to save people to make up for all the killings she had to do for the dark side and they are not happy about it. An excellant addition to the paranormal world.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    a must read

    couldn't put it down and can't wait for a sequel

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Rip-roaring fantasy tale with sex, violence, the occult and martial arts action.

    Over 300 years ago a young woman who uses herbs to treat others is convicted of being a witch. She is burned at the stake, just after losing her baby. As she dies she is suddenly confronted by Rabishu, a demon who offers her immortality as long as she kills for him. She is renamed Maliha Crayne and carries out assassinations for her master, until she refuses to kill an infant. Rabishu offers her a choice: either save a number of lives and be released from her bondage, or fail and be damned to eternal torment. This first book in a series by Dakota Banks is full of Maliha's efforts to attain her goal, but is also loaded with action sequences, raw sexual activity and martial arts. The only flaw in the intriguing cover is that she is holding a sai in each hand, but doesn't use them in the book. Maybe next time, and I hope there is a followup in the series. It is difficult to put the book down, once you start reading it. The ending is a surprise and indicates we will be reading about Maliha in more books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2013

    Really enjoyed this series just waiting for the new one

    I really enjoyed this series alot i thought it was interesting even though in the begining it was a little predictable i just cant wait for more i also love how the authir knows her guns everything from a chey tech to a sig saur p226 9 mm very fun to read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Compelling

    Both plot and characters kept me engaged

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Loved it!

    Keep reading! The beginning may be odd but u get her backstory then move to present day events! Totally worth it to keep reading. It does leave u with a cliffhanger though! I loved all three books in this series

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  • Posted March 4, 2012

    Very good story couulsn't stop until I finished it

    Good story I loved how the main character secided to change her path.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2012

    :(

    This book started off good for the first chapter . Then just went down hill from there. I found it very hard to follow , and all over the place. I wouldnt recommend this book at all.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Hot then Cold

    The story started out with such promise, but went downhill from chapter two

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2009

    Demon Demon Who's Got The Demon

    I'll make this short and sweet. The book is about a girl whose been the assassin for a demon for a lot of years, gets tired of the evil work and wants to repent. The story doesn't end with the girl getting her wish, but concludes leaving you wondering what happen to the last three days of your life as you've attempted to finish this story. Skip this book and find something better to read. Perhaps some instructions on how to use the radio would be more exciting than this.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great action, some minor irritations

    Dark Time, the first book of Mortal Path by Dakota Banks features a woman named Susannah who after a very traumatic event and death, is resurrected back to life and given immortality, super human abilities, and becomes an unstoppable killing machine by the demon Rabishu in exchange for doing his bidding on Earth. She changes her name to Maliha Crayne and after numerous errands ordered by Rabishu, she gets tired of killing aimlessly and decides to take her life in her own hands. Going against Rabishu, she makes another deal; if she saves a life for every one taken, she'll be free if not she'll be damned to long eternal torment by Rabishu. However with every life saved, she ages and her abilities are not as good as it used to be.

    The action bits were great. The beginning of the novel grabbed my attention right away and I was engrossed with it. I loved how she became this assassin but with a conscience. The plot is really good. Maliha is something comparable to Lara Croft mixed with Xena Warrior Princess. She seriously knows how to kick some serious booty. She could be a super hero you see on TV shows, complete with "normal" friends who each had a history with her in the past (hence why they're friends), a potential boyfriend, and a never ending arsenal of weapons. I liked this character a lot then again, I'm always for women characters who know how to pack a punch.

    The plot flows with several chapters in between that feature flashbacks of Maliha and how she came to befriend some of her friends in the past. I like them, as it explains a bit of the background story some may find it not necessary, but the little chapters give the story a little more form and depth. Which is great. The ending was a good cliffhanger, it's making me grind my teeth now that I have to wait for the next one to come out.

    There's a few problems with this book that I have. Maliha is gorgeous. Yes. I realize that. Do we have to be reminded of her gorgeous butt every other chapter? do we have to be reminded that every man she meets wants to jump into the sack with her? (and she wants to jump in nearly every sack she finds with a man in it?) that gets really irritating and got in the way of the plot, I think. Another thing, she meets up with a nemesis who's "Ageless" like she is. Yet somehow this one managed to sneak into her ultra high security place and managed to fondle her body parts. She didn't feel that? after how many centuries of training? sure, she's lost some of her ability but is it that bad that she can't feel someone's hand down her underwear? that irked me. A LOT. Of course, you get the romance in this book but it's not that explicit and I managed to just skim through that (as I don't care for that stuff much).

    Overall, a good book packed with action, with a few details overlooked and a few irritations along the way. Nothing so major (or maybe not) to get in the way of enjoying the novel.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 41 Customer Reviews

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