Lannes Hannelore is a gargoyle, one of a dying race that has protected man for centuries. But he's being hiding in Maine for years now, isolated from everyone else, lonely and scarred from a horrible experience that he suffered at the hand of a witch who wanted him as a slave. He lives under an illusion, whenever someone looks at him, all they see is a tall, beautiful man. What they don't see is his wings and his pronounced bone structure which certainly marks him as other than human. He is called to Chicago by an old friend and there he meets a woman covered in blood who's trying to steal his car. Lannes is drawn to this woman and wants to help her. But she doesn't know her name, where she's from, anything at all about herself except the fact that she must run - but from what? Lannes wants to help her even though he could be risking his secrets, his heart, even his life.
Ever since I read Charlie's story in the anthology Dark Dreamers, I've been looking forward to reading more about this hidden race, the gargoyles. Both Lannes and the woman are amazingly well-developed characters. Lannes is willing to help the unknown woman, even though that could put him in danger but he also has to fight with the ingrained belief that he has to hide what he is. And no matter how much he fights it, his attraction to her only keeps getting deeper and it's lovely to see him come to be more confident in himself. He doesn't look like a normal man yet the way Liu describes him was absolutely beautiful, his oddness only adds to his attraction.
I feel that Liu did an amazing job writing the woman character, especially considering she doesn't know barely anything about herself, yet Liu made that worked so well. This book could not be as great as it is without the second characters, including Charlie, one of Lannes' brother. They add more depth and richness to the story.
The plot is strong, and has major twist and turns yet it's very easy to follow. Liu's style of writing is wonderful to read. It flows so well and it feels somehow poetic. The words practically jump off the page, they're so powerful and even the smallest of sentences can pack quite the punch. The Wild Road is another great book in the Dirk & Steele series and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of this mysterious race.
Re-Issued Review: Original Review Date: 7/3/2008
Lannes is one of a dying race born to protect mankind. And while most see a beautiful man, this illusion is nothing but a prison. But when he finds a woman covered in blood, with no memory or past, he will be drawn into a mystery that makes him question all he knows.