“The Dog in the Dark” by Barb and J.C. Hendee is part of the ‘Noble Dead’ series and is a continuation of the tales about the dhampir Magiere and her husband Leesil as they seek the two remaining orbs of Air and of Spirit. They are accompanied on their travels by Chap, the majay-hi in the wolf-like body, Brot’an’duive’, an elite shadow-gripper and the young female known as Leanalham. The Most Aged Father has sent more of his elite Anmaglahk after the group with demands that add to the serious schism within the order. Multiple flashbacks provide insight into the quest from very differing perspectives but the ultimate conflict seems destined to destroy all that is familiar no matter which side wins.
This intricately woven paranormal series should definitely be read in order and may still be a little difficult to follow. I am not a fan of flashback narrative and this particular volume seems to be overburdened with it. I am delighted that the action is centered around the original trio of Magiere, Leesil and Chap but much of the story dragged along with brief glimpses of the exciting battles and feats of daring that I usually enjoy so much with these stories. The strong bond between Magiere and Leesil is being sorely tested and her internal struggle as well as the pervasive suspicion that colors everything makes this a ponderous and dark read. The constant shifting between various characters and their ruminations upon past events made it difficult for me to establish a rapport with any of the characters, despite my previous fondness for some of them. I think that part of my discomfort is the attempt to give so many different points of view dilutes the focus and I feel like I am trying to keep track of too many things at once. The imagination and creativity that characterizes this series is present but it doesn’t have the cohesive force that I enjoyed with the first series.
The Noble Dead series has been hailed as “a crowd-pleasing mix of intrigue, epic fantasy, and horror.”* Now, national bestselling authors Barb and J.C. Hendee present the latest thrilling novel following the adventures of dhampir Magiere and half-elf Leesil…
Barely escaping the city of Calm Seatt—and the assassins hunting them—Magiere, Leesil, and the elven dog Chap sail south to continue their quest to find the powerful Orb of Air before their enemies do. But they are not alone, much to their frustration.
The aging elven assassin Brot’an has forced himself on them by offering his protection. Chap doesn’t believe this ruse, however, and seeks to uncover the assassin’s true agenda—as well as the cause of the secret civil war that has erupted into the open among Brot'an's people.
Meanwhile, Magiere struggles with her own dark nature, using Leesil’s love as an anchor to keep her grounded. For the personal price she paid to procure the Orb of Fire was more than she thought—and more than she wants to reveal to anyone.
But that is exactly what the cunning Brot’an wants to know. And he is willing to do whatever it takes—even if he must reveal his own dreaded secrets that may cost the entire party their lives…and their very souls.