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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton steps outside her highly addictive Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books to introduce readers to a new series of intrigue. A Kiss of Shadows is a sensual novel of dark fantasy that will both entertain and unsettle. In a manner reminiscent of Roger Zelazny's Amber series, Hamilton draws the reader into the adventures of two violent worlds: one a perilous mortal realm, the other a place of disturbing and often deadly magic.
In this alternate reality, the mystical Fey have always existed side by side with mankind, though not always calling attention to themselves. Many nations of the mortal realm closed their borders to the Fey, but the founding fathers of the United States sympathized with the magical beings and so opened America to high levels of immigration. Situated in Illinois, the Fey lands are a main tourist attraction and exist as a kind of "reservation" of sorcery.
Beautiful Princess Meredith of the Fey has been on the run from the Unseelie Court for several years, having taken the human identity of Meredith (Merry) Gentry and working as a private eye who handles cases with a supernatural bent. During a case involving a bizarre cult and Faerie artifacts, Meredith is forced to use her magic. She is immediately noticed by her aunt, the Queen of Air and Darkness, who resolves to have Meredith brought back to the Court.
The Queen sends her bodyguards to do the dirty work, but Meredith agrees to return home without a fight. The Queen seeks to find an heir to the throne because she feels her resentful and sadistic son, Prince Cel, isn't suitable to rule. She devises a strange contest between Meredith and Cel, decreeing that the first to bear a child shall have the crown -- and the loser will be put to death. Thus begins a violent struggle between the rivals that involves unbridled passions, malicious attacks, and bitter betrayals.
Hamilton has researched Celtic folklore in creating the Fey, but she has imbued these folk with a variety of personalities, from benevolent to psychopathic. This is an edgy, high-octane thriller filled with adventure and action; it's a deftly plotted tale that speeds from one imaginative story twist to another. Meredith is a unique and powerful protagonist whose humor and wit never hamper the strength of her resolve, moral fiber, and determination. With A Kiss of Shadows, Laurell K. Hamilton achieves new heights of stylish erotic fantasy with which to captivate and enchant her readers. (Tom Piccirilli)
Tom Piccirilli is the author of eight novels, including Hexes and Shards, and his Felicity Grove mystery series, consisting of The Dead Past and Sorrow's Crown. He has sold more than 100 stories to the anthologies Future Crimes, Bad News, The Conspiracy Files, and Best of the American West II. An omnibus collection of 40 stories titled Deep into That Darkness Peering is also available. Tom divides his time between New York City and Estes Park, Colorado.