"I am Princess Meredith, heir to a throne--if I can stay alive long enough to claim it."
After eluding relentless assassination attempts by Prince Cel, her cousin and rival for the Faerie crown, Meredith Gentry, Los Angeles private eye, has a whole new set of problems. To become queen, she must bear a child before Cel can father one of his own. But havoc lies on the horizon: people are dying in mysterious, frightening ways, and suddenly the very existence of the place known as Faerie is at grave risk. So now, while she enjoys the greatest pleasures of her life attempting to conceive a baby with the warriors of her royal guard, she must fend off an ancient evil that could destroy the very fabric of reality. And that's just her day job. .
In the second R-rated outing (after 2000's A Kiss of Shadows) from bestseller Hamilton to feature bright and winsome faery princess Meredith Gentry, the unlikely shamus, who runs an L.A. detective agency with a staff of faery musclemen (plus a pet goblin), seems to spend almost as much time pondering her position in the fey world as attending to her client, glamorous film star Maeve Reed, actually a Seelie goddess, who needs Meredith's help in getting pregnant. Meredith does what she can for Maeve, although she has troubles enough of her own in the conception game. As one of two possible heirs to the Unseelie throne, the other being her nasty cousin, Prince Cel, Meredith must produce her own child and then, by faery tradition, marry her partner. It isn't easy, since any father must be kingly material, but our heroine is a game lass, and her failure is not for lack of trying. In an exciting climax, the LAPD Bureau of Human and Fey Affairs summons Meredith to battle a fearsome, crawling, tentacled and slobbering monster, the Nameless, which was too blithely created by opposing faery courts her own, the Unseelie, ruled by her millennium-old aunt, Queen Andais, and the Seelie, ruled by the ruthless and equally ancient King Taranis. More attention to the detective motif might have made the story more fun, but steamy prose and Meredith's obsessive personal conflicts should keep the faithful turning the pages. (Apr. 2)Forecast: With a 10-city author tour, national print advertising and the success of last year's Narcissus in Chains and other novels in her Anita Blake vampire series, Hamilton should make another run at the bestseller lists.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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March 03, 2003
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Excerpt from A Caress of Twilight by Laurell K. Hamilton
Moonlight silvered the room, painting the bed in a hundred shades of grey, white, and black. The two men in the bed were deeply asleep. So deeply that when I’d crawled out from between them, they’d barely stirred. My skin glowed white with the kiss of moonlight. The pure bloodred of my hair looked black. I’d pulled on a silk robe, because it was chilly. People can talk about sunny California, but in the wee hours of the night, when dawn is but a distant dream, it’s still chilly. The night that fell like a soft blessing through my window was a December night. If I’d been home in Illinois, there would have been the smell of snow, crisp enough, almost, to melt along the tongue. Cold enough to sear the lungs. So cold it was like breathing icy fire. That was the way air was supposed to taste in early December. The breeze crawling through the window at my back held the dry tang of eucalyptus and the distant smell of the sea. Salt, water, and something else, that indefinable scent that says ocean, not lake, nothing usable, nothing drinkable. You can die of thirst on the shores of an ocean. For three years I’d stood on the shores of this particular ocean and died a little bit every day. Not literally—I’d have survived—but mere survival can get pretty lonely. I’d been born Princess Meredith Nic- Essus, a member of the high court of faerie. I was a real-life faerie princess, the only one ever born on American soil. When I vanished from sight about three years ago, the media had gone crazy. Sightings of the missing Elven American Princess had rivaled Elvis sightings. I’d been spotted all around the world. In reality I’d been in Los Angeles the entire time. I’d hidden myself, been just plain Meredith Gentry, Merry to my friends. Just another human with fey ancestry working for the Grey Detective Agency, where we specialized in supernatural problems, magical solutions. Legend says that a fey exiled from faerie will wither and fade, die. That’s both true and untrue. I have enough human blood in my background that being surrounded by metal and technology doesn’t bother me. Some of the lesser fey would literally wither and die in a man-made city. But most fey can manage in a city; they may not be happy, but they can survive. But part of them does wither, that part that knows that not all the butterflies you see are actually butterflies. That part that has seen the night sky filled with a rushing of wings like a hurricane wind, wings of flesh and scale to make humans whisper of dragons and demons; that part that has seen the sidhe ride by on horses made of starlight and dreams. That part begins to die. I hadn’t been exiled; I’d fled, because I couldn’t survive the assassination attempts. I just didn’t have the magic or the political clout to protect myself. I’d saved my life but lost something else. I’d lost the touch of faerie. I’d lost my home. Now, leaning on my windowsill with the smell of the Pacific Ocean on the air, I looked down at the two men and knew I was home. They were both high-court sidhe, Unseelie sidhe, part of that darkling throng that I might someday rule if I could stay ahead of the assassins. Rhys lay on his stomach, one hand hanging off the bed, the other lost under his pillow. Even in repose that one visible arm was muscled. His hair was a shining fall of white curls caressing his bare shoulders, trailing down the strong line of his back. The right side of his face was pressed to the pillow, and so I couldn’t see the scars where his eye had been taken. His cupid-bow mouth was turned upward, half smiling in his sleep. He was boyishly handsome and would be forever. Nicca lay curled on his side. Awake, his face was handsome, bordering on pretty; asleep, he had the