A killer strikes Southwood--and he's no mortal. Now sorceress and thief Sham must use all of her magical knowledge to send the demon away!.
"An interesting cross between a murder mystery, romance, and fantasy." -VOYA "Patricia Briggs is a natural born storyteller." --Midwest Book Review"There's a delightful new author in the ranks of fantasy that romance readers will appreciate. Patricia Briggs proves herself a rare talent as she devises a clever mystery with appealing characters in a fantasy setting . . . top-notch reading fare." --Romantic Times -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . One of my favorite Patricia Briggs books
Posted June 20, 2010 by Karen , Fernandina Beach, FLLoved the characters and the story....I periodically re-read this story and it entertains me again and again. Funny and suspenseful.
August 10, 2003
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Excerpt from When Demons Walk by Patricia Briggs
Sham sat on a low stone fence in the shadows of an alley pulling on her boots. In the darkness that even the moonlight failed to reach, a sea breeze caressed her hair. She drew in a deep breath of the fresh air.
Even the sea smelled different here in the hilly area of Landsend. The Cybellian conquerors, like the Southwood nobles before them, had chosen to make their homes far from the wharves. In Purgatory, the westside slum where Sham lived, the ocean air smelled like dead fish, old garbage, and despair.
She stood up and ran her hands lightly over the silk of her courier's tunic to make sure that the black and gray material hung properly. She had to fluff the opaque sleeves twice to keep them from revealing odd bulges where she stored the tools of her trade.
It was still early in the winter season, so the silk was warm enough if she kept moving, but she was glad the trousers were made of heavier material. After bundling her other clothes, she tucked them out of sight in the lower limbs of a tree that graced the garden behind a wealthy merchant's house.
Messengers were common on the streets of Landsend, Southwood's capital, even in the darkness of early morning. Female messengers were not, but Sham was lightly built and, on the streets, could pass easily as a boy -- as she had for the last twelve years. Even the long braid that hung down her back was not out of place. Only recently had the Southwood men begun to crop their hair like the Easterners who had conquered them.
As she strode through the empty, moonlit street, she noticed a guardsman standing near a cross street watching her.
The east-city guards were as different from the guards of Purgatory as the smell of sweetsalt was from rotting fish. Most of them were younger sons of Cybellian merchants and traders rather than the glorified street thugs who were supposed to keep order in the less prosperous areas of town.
The guard caught Sham's eye and she waved to him. He responded with a nod and waited for her path to bring her nearer.
"Late night," he commented.
She noticed with hidden amusement that he was even younger than she'd thought -- and bored as well to talk to a mere messenger.
"Early morning, messire," she grumbled cheerfully in Cybellian, not bothering to hide her Southwood accent since her white-blond hair kept her from claiming Cybellian birth -- as long as she chose to leave it uncovered.
He smiled agreeably and she continued past him, careful to keep a rapid straight path and looking neither to the left nor the right until she'd traveled several blocks.
The house she was looking for was on the end of a block, and she waited until she'd turned the corner before giving it more than a casual glance. The hedge was too high for her to see much of the building, but there were no signs of occupation in the upper story. First checking to see if anyone was watching her, Sham dropped to the ground and shimmied under the wall of greenery that enclosed her target for the evening.