The Shape Stealer
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The Shape Stealer

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by Lee Carroll
     
 

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Jewelry designer Garet James is the Watchtower—the last in a long line of powerful women sworn to protect the world from evil. Although she had once defeated evil in New York City, her pursuit of her true love, the 400-year-old vampire Will Hughes, has now unleashed an age-old evil onto the modern world, and the entire planet is at risk.

Marduk, the ageless

Overview

Jewelry designer Garet James is the Watchtower—the last in a long line of powerful women sworn to protect the world from evil. Although she had once defeated evil in New York City, her pursuit of her true love, the 400-year-old vampire Will Hughes, has now unleashed an age-old evil onto the modern world, and the entire planet is at risk.

Marduk, the ageless descendant of a demonic Babylonian deity, is now loose in Paris. He has joined forces with the villainous John Dee in a plan to destroy the world's economy and plunge the entire world into chaos.

To fight this threat, Garet enlists the help of a modern-day band of knights who are dedicated to preserving the sanctity of the timeline. As she and her allies face this threat, new challenges arise in the form of a rival faction of knights who will stop at nothing to bring about the destruction of everything Garet holds dear.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Clever and assured, with an authentic NYC setting.” —Kirkus Reviews on Black Swan Rising

“Fans of Charles de Lint and Mercedes Lackey should enjoy this vibrant addition to the urban fantasy genre.” —Library Journal on Black Swan Rising

Kirkus Reviews
Third entry in Carroll's urban fantasy series, following the somnambulistic The Watchtower (2011). This time, the pace picks up to a frantic pitch, with so much going on it's hard to follow, let alone become involved. First-person narrator and Watchtower Garet James, heir to a sort of anti-evil witch coven, succeeded in bringing her love, poet Will Hughes, from 17th-century London to 21st-century Paris. Unfortunately, he's the wrong version--she really wanted the charismatic vampire that young Will, 400 years later, will become. However, we soon learn, through numerous omniscient narrative threads, that elder Will is also around, having become de-vampired, and now is a well-known and highly proficient currency trader. But with both Wills in the world at the same time, elder Will's losing his immunity to the sun, while young Will's in danger of becoming destabilized in time. Throw in some fairies, Johannes Kepler (don't ask), the Institut Chronologique--whose Knights Temporal can travel through time and whose mission is to preserve the current timeline--and bad guys ranging from evil sorcerer John Dee and his boss, the monstrous vampire and Babylonian ex-god Marduk, to the Malefactors, time travelers intent on changing things around to suit themselves. You can imagine the size and shape of the plot necessary to accommodate all this, let alone the effort needed to determine if it adds up. Swaggering, pill-popping Marduk, twanging his fangs and twirling his mustachio (well, figuratively, anyway), would have been a star on the vaudeville stage. Instead of poetry, we're served limp doggerel. More and more scattershot, as memories of the firmly grounded, tightly knit, charming series opener recede into the murk.
Library Journal
Garet Jones, jewelry designer and the last in a line of powerful women destined to protect the mortal world from supernatural evils, has traveled back in time to rescue Will Hughes, her 400-year-old lover, from vampirism. But when she returns to the present it's with the wrong Will Hughes—the 19-year-old youth who loved Garet's ancestor, Marguerite. Worse, the evil Babylonian deity Marduk has returned with them to the 21st century. In her pursuit of a way to defeat Marduk and find "her" Will Hughes, Garet discovers a group of warriors known as the Knights Temporal, whose job is to preserve the time line from those who would change it for their own selfish purposes. VERDICT This third series entry (after Black Swan Rising and The Watchtower) deftly spins an urban fantasy tale of good versus evil, youth versus experience, and the power of true love that spans centuries. The insights of both Garet and the young Will Hughes provide entertaining views of the modern world, and the blend of historical and modern characters should appeal to fans of alternate history as well as of urban fantasy. Carroll is the pseudonym of author Carol Goodman and her husband, Lee Slonimsky.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765325990
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
03/05/2013
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,160,664
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

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Read an Excerpt

1

The Little Bridge

 

Paris in the morning. The streets newly washed by rain. The smells of coffee and fresh baked bread wafting from cafés. Sunlight a glittering promise of the day on the Seine. I’d dreamed of walking like this across the Pont Saint Michel with Will Hughes some day. How after four hundred years of night he would see his first daybreak by my side. To win that dawn we’d traveled back in time, faced a conniving alchemist, an evil astrologer, an ancient sorceress, a monster, assorted crocodiles, and Will’s own sordid past … and won a cure. We’d come back using the Astrologer’s Tower and a timepiece I’d fashioned as a time machine, and I’d handed Will the cure—the blood of the shape-shifting creature that had made him a vampire. He had drunk and become human. Descending the Astrologer’s Tower we’d learned that the creature, Marduk, had traveled back with us. But I knew that together we could handle even that. When Will looked around him, amazed at the new world at his feet, I thought it was wonder at the new world of daylight after four hundred years of night, but it wasn’t. He was amazed because he’d never seen twenty-first-century Paris. The Will I had brought back with me was not the man I had fallen in love with. It was his earlier self. Nineteen-year-old Will Hughes, the callow youth whom I’d found when I traveled back in time to 1602 and inadvertently brought back with me.

“You’re not my Will,” I had told him. “I saved the wrong one.”

*   *   *

“Tell me again what he said to you in the alley?”

We were in the Café Le Petit Pont across from Notre Dame. I was on my second café au lait. Will was sipping his, his childish delight at the beverage beginning to grate on my nerves.

“What my dark twin said?”

I sighed with exasperation. “I’ve explained. He’s not your dark twin. He’s you—four hundred years later. We came from the future—now—to find a cure for him.”

Will pouted. My sexy, virile vampire pouted. I preferred those lips when they snarled back over fangs. “He said I was his better self.”

I snorted. “He was flattering you, probably because he knew it would work. Then what did he say?”

“He told me he knew a way that I could become human again and regain my true love, Marguerite.” He made moon eyes at me again, as he had every time he’d mentioned Marguerite. I slapped the table.

“I told you, I am not your Marguerite. I’m a distant descendant.”

“Well, he told me you were. He said I’d find you at the top of a tower in Catherine de Medici’s palace. That I’d have to fight my way there, but when I did I’d find you … er … Marguerite … on top with my cure. And I did fight! There were crocodiles!”

“Yes, you were very brave,” I said for the fifth time. “But didn’t you ask him why he was sending you instead of going himself?”

Will’s brow creased. “Why should I question my dark twin’s desire to save me?”

I sighed and lowered my head in my hands. “No, I suppose you wouldn’t.”

“But now that you mention it, he did say one other thing.”

“Yes?” I said, picking up my head.

“He said to tell you—well, to tell Marguerite…”

I made a circular motion with my hand to urge him to go on.

“Let’s see, what were the exact words? He made me memorize them … oh yes, that he was sending you his better self because that’s what you deserved.”

“Then you’re both idiots,” I said, tossing a euro coin onto the table and getting up. I headed east along the Seine, battling the early morning flow of tourists, not caring if he followed me. But of course he did. He caught up with me in front of the Shakespeare and Company bookstore, where a shopkeeper was setting up the outdoor bins of books in the little square in front of the store.

“I don’t know why you’re angry with me, good lady. I merely followed the instructions of what appeared to be my dark angel.”

“That’s why I’m angry with you,” I said, wheeling on him. “You followed orders; you didn’t think to question him, did you? If you had, he might have told you that he was you four hundred years later and merely because he’d done some questionable things in those four hundred years he didn’t think he was good enough for me. Then you might have asked, ‘Verily, good sir, have you asked the lady what she thinks?’ And he would have been forced to admit that the lady had already told him that she didn’t care what he’d done, that she loved him, the man he was, with all the experiences he’d had, not the silly boy he’d been four hundred years before.”

Will, who had grown nearly as pale as his vampire self under my tirade, fidgeted with the frills of his shirt cuff. “I am not silly,” he said. “And neither was my older self an idiot. We both did what we did for love. Can we not be friends, you and I? We both want the same thing. You want your beloved Will back and I want my Marguerite. Can that not be arranged? I am willing to go back in time and change places with my dark … er … my older self.”

“That’s very gallant of you,” I said, “only as I mentioned earlier, the timepiece we used to travel back in time is broken.” I held up the watch that hung around my neck. Its glass face had cracked and its gears no longer moved.

I sighed and looked away from him, toward the river and the square in front of Notre Dame where tourists were lining up for morning tours. Time was moving on. Irrationally, I felt it was moving me even further away from Will—the real Will, stuck in 1602. But then something occurred to me. Time was moving on. Will wasn’t stuck in the past. Without Marduk’s blood he had remained a vampire, which meant he would have continued living from then until now. He must exist somewhere in the present … but then where was he? The question quickly made my head hurt. I needed to find someone who understood time … Of course! Horatio Durant, the watchmaker who had helped me make the timepiece. He hadn’t admitted to any supernatural knowledge, but that didn’t mean he didn’t have any. I would start with him. Relieved to have come up with a plan of sorts, I turned to share it with Will … but Will was gone. I spun around in a circle, searching for him, but didn’t see him anywhere. He’d vanished into the crowds of tourists streaming along the Seine as completely as his older self had vanished into the river of time.

 

Copyright © 2013 by Carol Goodman and Lee Slonimsky

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“Clever and assured, with an authentic NYC setting.”

—Kirkus Reviews on Black Swan Rising

“Fans of Charles de Lint and Mercedes Lackey should enjoy this vibrant addition to the urban fantasy genre.” 

—Library Journal on Black Swan Rising

Meet the Author

LEE CARROLL is a pseudonym for the collaboration between Hammett Award–winning mystery novelist Carol Goodman and her poet and hedge fund manager husband, Lee Slonimsky. Goodman and Slonimsky live in Great Neck, New York.

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The Shape Stealer 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
jeanniezelos More than 1 year ago
The Shape Stealer. Lee Carroll ARC provided via Netgalley. Written by husband and wife team Carol Goodman and Lee Slonimsky. Though I hadn't read the first two books in this trilogy I simply loved Carol's Fairwick Chronicles, and this looked to be a similar type of book. So I read the samples of books one and two – I usually find that's enough to allow me to keep up when I jump into an existing series – and went from there. This book is really complex though, and in honesty I needed to read those earlier books to fully to appreciate the story. I found myself floundering over events, trying to understand the complex time travel machinations in the book, and not sure of the characters. I need to feel “there” in the book, usually I'd be Garet in my mind, seeing events alongside her, but I felt a bit detached because there was so much I just didn't understand. That's my fault for thinking I could pick up such a complex book. My Bad :( Still, for those who love a story that has more than just a boy meets girl romance, and who want snippets of history intertwined with vampires, and other supernatural creatures this trilogy may be what they're looking for. Just don't think you can pick up book three though as I did – you really do need to read books one and two to fully appreciate the story and the way its written. Apart from the difficulties in following the story though, I had specifics I really wasn't keen on – the poetry...it didn't add anything I found, and in fact I ended up skipping it each time I came to it. Then the romance – it's not classed as a romance novel, but somehow I was expecting a bit more than we got. Young Will was just such a put off, he really read like a typical teenager, arrogant and foolhardy, and not the “better person” Old Will seemed to think he was. Then there was Old Will – we met him eventually, but there didn't really seem to be much closeness between him and Garet considering all they'd gone through to be together...it could have been though that I was skim reading by then, being so lost that I simply couldn't read the book in the way I usually would. Stars: It's difficult to assess really – but on how I personally enjoyed it – and that’s how I always rate – this is just a two/three star. It is very well written, it is a sweeping, eventful story and yet I simply didn't gel with it.