One Silent Night (Dark-Hunter Series #12)

One Silent Night (Dark-Hunter Series #12)

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by Sherrilyn Kenyon
     
 

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While the world carries on unawares, Stryker, who leads an army of demons and vampires, is plotting an all out onslaught against his enemies—which, unfortunately for us, includes the entire human race. To avenge his sister, Stryker prepares to annihilate the Dark-Hunters. But things go awry when his oldest enemy returns. Enter his ex-wife. Zephyra. Just when

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Overview

While the world carries on unawares, Stryker, who leads an army of demons and vampires, is plotting an all out onslaught against his enemies—which, unfortunately for us, includes the entire human race. To avenge his sister, Stryker prepares to annihilate the Dark-Hunters. But things go awry when his oldest enemy returns. Enter his ex-wife. Zephyra. Just when he thought nothing could stop him, he's now embroiled in a centuries old war with a shrew who gives new meaning to pain.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“An engaging read.” —Entertainment Weekly on Devil May Cry

“Kenyon's writing is brisk, ironic, sexy, and relentlessly imaginative. These are not your mother's vampire novels.” —The Boston Globe on Dark Side of the Moon

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312947064
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
11/04/2008
Series:
Dark-Hunter Series, #12
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
123,485
Product dimensions:
6.78(w) x 4.18(h) x 0.84(d)

Read an Excerpt

One Silent Night


By Sherrilyn Kenyon

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2008 Sherrilyn Kenyon
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-5445-7


CHAPTER 1

Stryker paused as he looked around Tartarus. His father, the Greek god Apollo, had brought him here once, eons ago, when he'd been a small child to meet his great-uncle Hades, who ruled the Greek Underworld and oversaw the ancient dead. On that day his father had also bestowed a rare and beneficial gift on Stryker. The ability to come and go from the Underworld so that Stryker could visit his uncle. As a child, Stryker had been terrified of the dark god whose eyes had only softened when he looked at his wife, Persephone.

Luckily, Persephone was here with Hades now and the god was too occupied by her to notice the fact that there was an uninvited demigod in his domain. Hades could be extremely temperamental over such insults.

Especially when the uninvited demigod carried a vial of potent blood with him. More to the point, Typhon's blood. The son of the primordial god Tartarus, whose name was given to this very part of Hades' domain, Typhon was deadly and lethal. His power enough to take down even Zeus, the king of the gods. At least until the Olympian gods had banded together to trap Typhon under Mount Aetna.

"Thank you for not being able to kill him," Stryker said, holding the vial up so that he could see the luminescent purple blood he'd taken from the trapped Titan. With this, Stryker could wake the dead and bring back the most potent of scourges.

War.

Gripping the vial tightly, Stryker headed to the lowest part of Tartarus. This level was relegated to the beasts and gods that the Olympians had defeated. To the ones they feared above all others.

But it was the tomb in the back Stryker had accidentally found as a child that drew him now. In the darkness around him, he could still see the look of fear in his father's eyes. ...

"What's that, Father?" Stryker had pointed up at the statues of two men and one woman.

Apollo had knelt down by his side. "They are what's left of the Machae."

"The what?"

"The spirits of battle." Apollo had pointed to the tallest in back. Huge in stature and built like a warrior, the statue had made a seven-year-old Stryker gasp in fear of his coming to life to hurt him. "That is War. The fiercest of the Machae. He was created by all the gods of war to kill the Chthonians. It's said that he and his minions pursued them to the brink of extinction. In one final battle that lasted for three full months, War held the last of the Chthonians down until they tricked him. Beleaguered, he screamed mightily as his powers were bound by spell and then he was cast into his current stasis. Here he remains until someone reawakens him."

It had seemed a rather harsh punishment to Stryker's boyish mind. Ignoble and cruel. "Why did the gods not kill him?"

"We weren't strong enough. Even with our powers combined, we still lacked the ability to end his life."

None of that had made sense to Stryker at the time. "I don't understand why the gods fear the Chthonians so. They are human."

"With the powers of gods, child. Never forget that. They alone can kill us without destroying the universe and return our essence to the primary source that birthed us."

"Then why don't the Chthonians kill all the gods and replace them?"

"Because when they kill us it weakens their own powers and makes them vulnerable to each other and to us. So instead they police us and we obey out of fear of dying." Apollo had looked back at War then, his eyes harboring a morbid fascination. "War alone was immune to their powers. Unfortunately, he's also immune to ours. When Ares and the other war gods realized how powerful he was, they decided it was best that he remain hidden here for the rest of eternity."

"Did they not understand his power when they made him?"

Apollo had ruffled Stryker's short blond hair. "Sometimes we don't realize how destructive our creations are until it's too late. And sometimes those creations we make turn on us and seek only to kill us even though we loved and succored them."

Stryker clenched his teeth at the memory of his father's words. How true they'd proven. Stryker had turned on his father and his son had turned on him.

Here they all were. At war.

War ...

Stryker opened the dank tomb that smelled of fresh earth and mold. He held his hand up and used his powers to light the cobwebbed torches that hadn't been lit in centuries. The light was bright as it flickered against the walls and the remains of the last three Machae.

He paused by the woman. Petite and frail in appearance, Ker was the personification of cruel, violent death. Merciless and able to multiply herself into numerous she-demons called the Keres, she'd once haunted battlefields and ripped the souls out of the dying. It had been her powers that had inspired the Atlantean goddess Apollymi to save the cursed Apollites and give them a chance to circumvent Apollo's unjust curse.

All hail Ker for her powers. ...

The next statue was the spirit Mache. Battle. The right hand of War. It was the plural of his name that had been given to all the spirits of conflict. He was their backbone.

But compared to War, he was weak.

Like Ker, he was only a by-product of the one destructive force that Stryker sought.

A slow smile curled his lips as he stepped past the two lesser beings to approach the one he needed to awaken. No longer a giant to him, War was actually several inches shorter — which, given the fact that Stryker was six foot eight, wasn't surprising. War's body was as heavily muscled as Stryker remembered from eleven thousand years ago. Even in stasis, War's presence and power were awe inspiring and undeniable. Stryker could feel it in the air. Feel it from the chills that went down his spine in warning. This creature meant death to any who crossed his path. Dressed as an ancient soldier, the god wore a cuirass decorated with the head of Echidna.

Stryker reached out to touch War. The moment Stryker's fingers brushed the stone, light flashed through the room, turning the white marble to flesh. The cuirass was made of steel overlaid with gold, and a gold-studded black leather battle skirt and cloak completed the fearsome ensemble. The sword in War's hands that was halfway out of its black leather sheath flashed to steel.

Black eyes bored into Stryker.

Then all returned to marble. White. Cold. Eerily pristine. War was again asleep and yet Stryker could feel his consciousness rippling in the air around him. War was salivating for release.

"You want out," Stryker whispered to the spirit. "I want revenge against a god I can't touch." He pulled the cork from the vial and lifted it. "From the blood of the Titans to the blood of the Titans, I, Strykerius, return you to form in exchange for one act against my enemies."

He tilted the vial so that the purple blood only marked his fingertip. The feral power of it burned his flesh. Yes, Typhon's blood was as potent as the once-feared god. His eyes narrowing, Stryker wiped the pad of his finger over the lips of the dormant spirit. "Do you accept my terms, War?"

The lips alone turned to flesh. "I accept."

"Then welcome back to the living." Stryker poured the blood into the spirit's mouth.

The moment he did so, a violent shout rang out, extinguishing the torches and drowning them in darkness. "NO!"

Stryker laughed at Hades' indignant cry. It was already too late. A vicious wind cut through the room as War came to life with a battle cry so fierce it echoed through the chamber and caused the caged damned around them to cringe. The torches exploded back to life, flooding the room with so much light that Stryker had to shield his eyes.

Hades appeared with Ares by his side. The gods tried to blast War, but it was futile.

War laughed before he returned their attack. The force of it sent them scattering to the ground like leaves in a storm. The joy in his black eyes said the spirit took great pleasure in his cruelty. His lips twisting into a smile, War turned to face Stryker. "Who do I kill for you?"

"Acheron Parthenopaeus and Nick Gautier."

War sheathed his sword. "Consider it done."

Stryker caught his arm as he started to vanish. "One word of caution, the world isn't what it used to be." He handed the spirit a small messenger bag that contained a pair of black jeans, a black shirt, and boots. "You might want to lose the skirt and armor. Just a thought."

War sneered at him, but in the end, he took the clothes and vanished. Stryker turned toward the gods. Ares had been knocked unconscious while Hades shook his head to clear it.

The dark god of the Underworld glowered his displeasure and rage as he stood over Ares, trying to revive him. "Have you any idea of what you've unleashed?"

Stryker was ambivalent to his condemnation. "Cruelty, pestilence, wrath, violence, ultimate suffering ... what other gifts did the gods bestow on him?"

"You hit the highlights. But before you released him, you should have bothered to learn that he always destroys the one who commands him. You won't be an exception." Hades gestured toward the room. "Look around you. This hole we call Tartarus is all that's left of the primordial god. His death at the hands of War is what caused all the pantheons to combine their powers with the Chthonians' to contain him. And that was back in the day when we were worshiped and held our full powers. We're not that strong anymore."

Well, there was something Stryker hadn't bothered to contemplate. Not that it mattered. He was more than ready to lay down his life — provided he took his enemies with him. "Oops," he said, his voice thick with sarcasm. "Guess I screwed up. Inability to see the consequences of our thoughtless acts must run in the family. So much for my father being a god of prophecy, huh?"

Hades' eyes turned bright red. "He will destroy the humans."

Stryker sneered at him. "I didn't see you standing up to defend the Apollite race when my father cursed us to feed off each other's blood and die painfully when we were only twenty-seven years old because a handful of Apollites had killed his worthless whore. As I recall, all of you turned your backs and left us to the darkness like rats you wanted to forget existed."

Hades shook his head. "I would kill you, but a better fate is to leave you to the thing you just unleashed. I'll see you back here when you're no longer living."

Stryker didn't comment as he watched Hades rouse Ares. Bored with them both, he returned to Kalosis, which was where he'd go after his death. The Atlantean hell realm had been his home since the day he'd turned his back on his father and sided with the goddess who ruled this domain. Apollymi owned his soul. He'd gladly consigned it to her on the day his father had cursed Stryker's entire race for something only a handful of soldiers had done.

Stryker wanted nothing to do with the Greeks ever again.

Bitterly amused by the fact that Apollymi would most likely enjoy his eternal torture even more than Hades, Stryker returned to his office, where he kept the sfora orb that would allow him to spy on his enemy. At least on Acheron.

As for Nick, Stryker could see through his eyes any time he wanted to. It was one of the perks he'd claimed when he bound the bastard to him. Unfortunately, though, there wasn't much to see with Nick, as he'd taken to keeping himself isolated from the world and everyone Stryker wanted to spy on.

He was bored with Nick's moping.

For now, Stryker wanted to see Acheron's demise. Waving his hand over the orb, he watched as the clouds cleared to show him the one god he wanted most to bury ...

Apollymi's most precious son.

Stryker curled his lip as he found Acheron in a bizarro Norman Rockwell scene. How quaint. Acheron was at home on Katoteros, the Atlantean paradise realm, trimming a Christmas tree with his girlfriend, Soteria. There was something almost twisted about an ancient god humoring a human custom to placate his lover. The two of them looked so happy and sweet it was enough to make him puke.

That was all about to change.

Leaning back in his chair, Stryker waited.

* * *

"Ooo, akri, can the Simi eat that?"

Ash Parthenopaeus paused as he heard the voice of his demon behind him. Turning around, he saw Simi eyeing the glass angel in his hand.

Dressed in a black-and-red plaid Goth skirt and corset top, Simi had a Santa hat on her head that covered her small demon's horns. Like Ash, her hair was solid black in color and fell all the way to her waist.

Before he could answer, Soteria gave Simi a sweet, tolerant smile that melted him. Her brown hair was pulled forward into two pigtails, and in total contradiction to Ash's dark Goth style, she was dressed in a pair of winter white pants and a red sweater with white reindeer on it. Ash's long-sleeved T-shirt was black with reindeer skeletons pulling a twisted sleigh.

"Um, please, Simi," Soteria said, "don't eat that. That's been my angel on the tree since I was a little girl. I picked it out at a Christmas store in Greece with my parents."

Simi pouted. "Then can I eat the chocolate?"

"Absolutely."

Simi squealed before she grabbed the Hershey's chocolate bar Soteria had left on the coffee table near them and ran off to savor it.

Soteria laughed. "Dang. I was going to share that with you later."

Ash put the angel on top of the tree, which given the fact that he was six foot eight in height was an easy reach for him. "It's okay. I despise the taste of chocolate."

Soteria pulled silver tinsel from the bear ornament in her hand. "I would ask for an explanation, but every time I ask why you have an aversion to something the answer always breaks my heart. So I'll just make sure not to get you any for Valentine's Day."

"Thanks."

Closing the distance between them, Ash pulled her into his arms for a quick kiss. His lips had barely touched hers before a bright flash blinded him. He drew a breath in to chastise his steward, Alexion, for the intrusion, but before he could speak something slammed into him and knocked him off his feet.

Soteria turned to face an intruder. Expecting to find the Greek goddess Artemis there, she was stunned to see a tall, extremely well-built man. The brutality on his face was only matched by its beauty. Dressed all in black, he walked past her as if she were nothing more than a piece of harmless furniture toward Acheron.

She summoned her powers to blast him, but when she tried, she found her powers worthless against him. It was as if she were human again. The blast left her and seemed to be absorbed somehow by his body.

The man seized Acheron from the floor and threw him against the far wall as if he were nothing more than a straw dummy.

Dear God, the man was going to kill Ash!

* * *

Ash couldn't breathe as he tried to fight and couldn't. It was as if something had wrapped itself around him like a steel band, paralyzing him. Pain ripped through his body with potent talons. No one had been able to kick his ass this badly since he'd been human.

No sooner had that thought gone through his head than he had crystal clarity of who and what was attacking him.

War. The ultimate warrior.

Shit.

"No!" Ash shouted as Soteria started to attack War at the same time Simi manifested into the room by her side to fight. War would tear the two of them apart. "Take Simi and get out. Now!"

As Simi launched herself toward War, Soteria grabbed her. Tory gave him a look to let him know that she didn't want to stand back, but that she trusted him enough to listen.

Alexion appeared with a sword that he tried to stab through the spirit. Instead, it went through War's flesh and tore into Ash's abdomen. Ash hissed as more agony poured through him.

Alexion's face paled. "I'm so sorry, boss."

He should try being the one with the gaping wound. But Ash wouldn't hold that against his steward. The most important thing right now was to save all their lives. "Go! Take Danger, the demons, and Tory, and get the hell out of here."

War seized him by his throat. Ash choked, trying to remove the tight grip. He met Alexion's gaze. Loyalty gleamed bright, but his friend knew what Ash did. He couldn't fight while distracted.

"I'll meet you at Neratiti." Gathering the women, Alexion disappeared.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from One Silent Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Copyright © 2008 Sherrilyn Kenyon. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

In the past two years, New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon has claimed the #1 spot twelve times, and since 2004, she has placed more than 50 novels on the New York Times list. This extraordinary bestseller continues to top every genre she writes. With more than 23 million copies of her books in print in over 30 countries, her current series include: The Dark-Hunters, The League, Lords of Avalon, BAD Agency, Chronicles of Nick and Nevermore. A preeminent voice in paranormal fiction, Kenyon helped pioneer and define the current paranormal trend that has captivated the world. She lives with her husband, three sons, a menagerie of animals and a collection of swords.

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4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 419 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, the print is large and the book is short. Yes, the hero is a bad guy and his heroine is a b****. This novella does go into their background, however, and reminds the reader that most things are not as simple as black/white, good/evil, etc.
Kenyon "warns" her readers that OSN is a major turning point in the series. I liked meeting the new characters, and learning more about a couple of familiar ones. Yes, the DH world is more complicated than we knew, but that also makes it more interesting. I also liked the checks and balances and the uneasy truces that were formed.
I didn't have a problem with the timing issue; it's not the first novella to go back and fill in a story.
Bottom line, for me at least, is that this is a $6.99 paperback. I didn't have great expectations, and it was better than I had hoped it would be. Just check it out and see for yourself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the twist in perspective where it really brings a lot of in depth understanding to the "antagonists" of the series. Stryker, though far from moral, is hard not to love and sympathize with. The history and romance between he and his wife was very TOUCHING! It went perfectly with the plot, and absolutely satisfied me. I am so happy with Nick's portrayal in the book. I really loved the human Nick, who was so funny, goofy and carefree. But after his mom died, his personality, understandably, changed to being really bitter and depressed. I was really disappointed at how EMO he was becoming, not at all like the Nick we knew and loved. But this book sows a change in Nick for the better, bringing back the Nick that I really missed in the last few books. The appearance of more new characters and a wealth of information was mind-boggling and intriguing. I am going crazy because I really can't wait to learn more or read about so many characters, and the least keeps on growing and growing. I have been consistently devoted to the series, but this even further brought back why I love this author. I think part of the book's appeal is the novelty of it, how it really focuses on the other side. There is no black or white, but a gray shade of reality and character. The ending's implications REALLY just knocked me off my seat. This novel is pivotal in this series as it spins the balance of power in another direction. This novel was consistently amazing, I have no complaints whatsoever about it, though it just makes me more frustrated as I have more and more things to look forward to and wait for.
Dark_Hunter_Lover More than 1 year ago
I really loved reading this book. I personally love Acheron out of all the Dark-Hunter characters but when i found out that a book was coming out for Stryker I got very excited. I really wanted to see Stryker's excuse for wanting to destroy the world. I loved the twist of it being from the bad guy's point of view.
*WARNING: SPOILER*
At the end when Stryker finds out that they can goo out into the sunlight because they are now part demon, he said how it was the dawn of the end of mankind, I thought how it all semmed to be in seen in a positice light. Since Stryker is the hero it's like what he does and what he wants is in a way "good" because it serves his purposes. Yet it's bad becuse humans will die in the process. I really loved that little twist of making all that is bad, look good from the enemies point of view.
I specially loved the twist of Nick and how Acheron was the only one who could help him with his new powers.
*END OF SPOILER*
One Silent Night pales to Acheron, if you like Kenyon's eailer books with the honorable hero's , but if your looking for somehting different, I would deffenetly recommmend this book. It's different because it's told from the bad guy point of view, so everything is twisted. I specially loved Zephyra because she was so cruel and not as forgiving as the other heroines.
Overall I loved it more because it was unique and a little bit different from what Kenyon's normal hero and heroine, yet still had that wry humor that I love.
Leo0730 More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book I finished it in one sitting. I must say that I really didn't want to read Stryker's story but I had to find out what was coming. I have found in reading this I have a new respect for him and why he does what he does, but I am not sure I like his wife all that much and that might have to do with Jared. I want to hear more about him.
SamanthaP More than 1 year ago
How is it that Kenyon actually had me cheering for the bad guy, Strykerius, and hoping he would find love, when I have hated that man since book #1 of this series. I wasn't even thinking I would like this book, let alone not be able to put it down. Very good story and there is a serious change about to take place in the world of the Daimons. This is a must read for all Dark Hunter fans. Stryker unleashes an evil being and sends him to destroy Ash and Nick. That being then turns on Stryker causing him to have to eat crow and ask Ash and Nick for help. That was actually kinda funny. So we all know the saying, " the enemy of my enemy is my friend". Well Nick, Ash, and Stryker have to put all their differences aside, band together and open a can of whoop @ss. The only let down during this fight was that they had to rescued by their women. I mean I'm all for strong women, but I'd prefer to have seen these men not need saving in the final battle.
Ashley_C More than 1 year ago
I've always hated Stryker because he played the bad guy and ruined practically everyone's life. But... this book gave me a whole new perspective of him which made me hate him less. To see his other sensitive side, was quite amazing. He was always greedy man who wants domination and power until Zephyra came. Another magnum opus by Sherrilyn Kenyon.
MissJ More than 1 year ago
I have read comments on the other DH novels such as Dance with the Devil, and Dark side of the moon. One silent Night is a great book and it has a great fore shadowing of what is going to take place in the next books. I've read all the DH novels and for the most part i love the series. It seems to me that people forget that this is a series and each book is building from the other books. This is one book that does this for example. I love the fact that Nick has a new part of his personality going on (don't wanna give anything away. I love Ash and Sin. Yes, the story is short but it is setting the stage up for the upcoming books. In all I like this book as well as the rest of the series, but i recommend people to read the books in the order they are supposed to be read in order to understand exactly what is going on in the DH world.and besides all writers have bad days, but I am most def a fan of DH and i will continue to read the series because overall it is a great and original series.
JamieLS11 More than 1 year ago
Out of all the Dark Hunter books, I have got to say that this one has to be my least favorite. The story itself was good, but I never could stand Stryker's character. I do not think Stryker deserved his own story since he is still a evil person, (just like his wife). However I was surprised in some parts, especialy when he had to ask Ash for help. As always Ash the kind hearted person that he is, helps the evil one who is always plotting his death. I'm curious to see what becomes of the Daimons since they have now found new ways to live, and I can't wait too see what becomes of Nick and his new powers. This is a must read just to keep up with the Dark Hunter Series.
mizzT More than 1 year ago
I was really excited to hear Stryker's story but truthfully up against Ash's story Stryker turns out to be a just a bratty child unloved by his god of a father. The storyline is ok, and there are a couple of surprises but I am not rushing to read it again or recommend it either. Read it to keep up to date with the series and pretty much leave it at that. I think we were really spoiled with Ash's heart breaking story and the Stryker's just pales in comparison.

I do look forward to Nick' story and of course the Daimon stories since it seems that is where we are heading after One Silent Night. I also would love to read a story about Jared and Savitar.

Overall the book was ok, I am not a fan of Stryker or his wife Zephyra. They just seem like petulant children to me who of course have been wronged by Apollo, but heck what else is new in the series!!!

Because it is Sherrilyn Kenyon I have it 3 stars. Read the Dark Hunter books and definitely read Acheron, that book should be a movie.
spitzlady More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, as I do all Dark-Hunter books. Ms. Kenyon brings in new characters, Jared, Nim, Zephyra, Medea, as well as old favorites. Not to give any spoilers, but my favorite line in the book is between Savitor and Ash. "Get off the Cross. Someone needs the wood." The whole world of the Dark-hunters is about to change.I can't wait for poor Fang's book.
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As always, a great read from this series!
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Here. ~~[(Blank)]~~
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Dollie1 More than 1 year ago
I love this series.
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