"Five Immortal brothers, Five Witches and Five Goddess must now gather to defeat an ancient Demon"
The last of the Immortal warriors, Hunter often tagged "the
crazy one" has just woken from a three-some. He liked to
have fun and these days his fun was never serious, just a
good time and a good-bye in the morning. He'd been awakened
by the house cat which had been scratching around for food.
The next thing he experiences was pain as The Calling pulled
at him. And then it stopped. One minute he was feeding a
domestic kitty in Minnesota and the next he's on a
Californian island just off the coast of Mexico and in the
lion's den (literally).
Leda Stowe is a witch whose element is air (Amber's is
earth, Lexi's fire, and Christine's is water -- see where
this is going?). Until recently she'd been a member of the
Coven of Light but had done the unthinkable, experimenting
with death magic to save her terminally ill husband. The
Coven hadn't appreciated her success and neither had her
husband. Twice rejected, she focused on her animal rescue
vocation on the deserted island with one her current
projects a bear named Taro soon to be relocated to the wilds
in Japan and a lion who'd been tortured by a Mexican drug
runner, that she'd named Mukasa. His fate was still uncertain.
Estranged from the Coven, Leda had not participated in the
Calling. Still it seems each of the warriors had been sent
to the place they were most needed. Imagine Leda's surprised
to find a half naked Immortal warrior in her lion's pen.
Even more surprising was the fact that Mukasa, who didn't
trust any other human besides her, didn't seem to mind his
presence in the least. It soon becomes clear that Hunter has
an affinity for animals in addition to beautiful women and
Leda certainly falls into that category.
After telling her that the lion would prefer to roam the
island to being caged, he suggests a little activity for
them as well, much to the consternation of Leda's partner
who had been giving her space to recover from her divorce.
Leda is definitely attractive, and soon learns that Hunter
has a sad story of his own. He'd loved once, very deeply.
He'd married a mortal woman and had given her two children.
Then the uber demon (the very same that was now draining the
world of life magic, although he doesn't yet know this) had
killed his little family. His wife had died for him and his
babies had followed. He would never allow anyone to do that
for him again. He became determined to be a love 'em and
leave 'em kind of guy from that day on. This is how he
copes. But if he were ever to love again the woman would be
exactly like Leda.
The demon presence descends on Leda's island. Leda thinks
demon essence within her has drawn it but Hunter knows it is
he who the demon is after and sends it packing. All in a
day's work and the minute the threat is over he's back to
angling for sex.
Leda's soul had been tainted by her bargain with the demon
and she fears what that would do to him if she were to
succumb to his charm. Hunter informs her that he can remove
the blackness -- through sex of course! This mean she has to
trust him implicitly. Fortunately it works for as he later
tells her, had it not he would have had to kill her.
Nope Hunter had no love for demons so when Leda's half
demon, half witch pal Samantha comes to her for help in
locating her mother who has disappeared, Hunter is not
inclined to trust her. Like the vampires who have allied
with his brothers Samantha contains death magic but is not
evil. And though there is no love lost between her and her
father it soon becomes readily apparent that the demon is
deeply in love with his mortal wife, just as Hunter had
been. Samantha also explains the reason for the Calling.
Before Leda can consider what to do next, she has to round
up Mukasa who Hunter has given free reign of the island.
When they find him, they also discover that magical creatures
also share the island with them, water spirits known as the
Undine. Dyanne tells her that as the life magic in the world
diminishes her people have been dying. She implores Hunter
to employ his powers to heal them. Not knowing of Tain's
plight he tells her to ask him as he is the healer among the
five brothers. Her response is cryptic. She tells him that
he will find his brother and once he does he will have to
choose a path. Each will be painful but a choice must be
made. She tells Leda she must choose a path as well. Hunter
tells her that while he is willing to go forth and find out
what is happening, he won't allow her to leave until the
world is safe again. Imagine her consternation. However
when she awakes in the middle of the night, she finds Hunter
down by the sea communing with his mother Kali, the Hindu
goddess of destruction -- and creation. Kali tells him of
Tain's plight and the need for all the brothers to unite to
save him. She too talks to him of choices and sacfice. The
Goddess takes her leave with a command to Leda to be good to
Leda feels she has no choice but to leave Hunter behind on
the island to care for her animals and casts a sleep spell
upon him so that she can slip away to L.A. to help Samantha
unchallenged. He'd planned to use the animals as an excuse
to leave her behind, but now the tables have been turned and
Hunter is not about to allow her to go into danger alone.
Mukasa wants to go with him and when the Undine promises to
take care of the bear while he's gone, he is able to leave
with a clear conscience.
Suffice it to say that after quite a bit of action Hunter
and Leda make it to Amber and Adrian in Seattle. Darius and
Kalen who had also been on their way were apparently not so
lucky and the two remaining Immortals fear that the demon
now possesses three of their brothers instead of one. In
spite of the fact that it's readily apparent that the
fulfillment of the demons evil plan requires that all five
be together, they also realize that they must be together to
defeat the menace. Hunter and Adrian must now find a way to
join their brothers without the Old One's knowledge. As Kali
had imparted to Leda success would require them all -- five
Immortals, five witches and five Goddesses to bring down the
ancient demon. Who will the fifth witch be and what must
they all do to restore Tain to sanity and destroy the demon?
Yes, there is a resolution which is most satisfying, but the
story is not finished. Four new tales are on the way.
THE GATHERING is filled with deep emotion, the passion of
each pair of
lovers, loyal though often unlikely friendships, maternal
and brotherly love edged with action and suspense, a
plethora of magical creatures and best of all a touch of
humor. Hunter puts me to mind of a number of Sandra Hill's
naughty but oh so sexy Viking heroes. Wouldn't it be great
to see a Norse Immortal show up in a future tale. Hm that's
an intriguing thought.
Ah well, Tain's much awaited story
THE REDEEMING is next and the reader will have a good idea
who his mate will be by the end of THE GATHERING. I can't
wait to see how that's going to work and of course what
Cerridwen, his mother is going to say about that.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted August 20, 2008