River Marked by Patricia BriggsRiver Marked by Patricia Briggs

River Marked

byPatricia Briggs

Mass Market Paperback | February 1, 2012

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In the sixth novel in the #1 New York Times bestselling series, coyote shifter Mercy Thompson and Alpha werewolf Adam finally reach the alter. But when they make the Columbia River their honeymoon destination, their newlywed bliss turns into a fight for survival...
 
Being a different breed of shapeshifter—a walker—Mercy can see ghosts, but the spirit of her long-gone father has never visited her. Until now. An evil is stirring in the depths of the Columbia River—and innocent people are dying. As other walkers make their presence known to Mercy, she must reconnect with her heritage to exorcise the world of the legend known as the river devil.
Patricia Briggs is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series and the Alpha and Omega novels.
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Title:River MarkedFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 6.81 × 4.19 × 0.78 inPublished:February 1, 2012Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0441020003

ISBN - 13:9780441020003

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from River Marked This is an amazing series. Really enjoyed it.
Date published: 2017-10-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from River Marked I love Adam n Mercy. The way they treat each other n family. I can't wait for the next book to read as well.
Date published: 2015-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Simply amazing storyline. I could not put it down. I love the storyline and how it progresses in each book.
Date published: 2015-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ..... This book was amazing, just like the rest of the series. It was nice to see Mercy and Adam get away from the daily stress.
Date published: 2015-01-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from river Marked Mercy does it again! She has a wonderful honeymoon that ends in a battle for her life.
Date published: 2014-09-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good book! I loved reading this book cover to cover. Another great novel in the Mercy Thompson series, Patricia Briggs is an amazing writer and I look forward to the Mercy Thompson novel.
Date published: 2014-06-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Delighted... to meet Coyote at last. Isn't he a fun and flexible character. Wonderful book.
Date published: 2014-05-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A bit slow A bit slow overall but good. A nice continuation
Date published: 2014-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from River Marked Mercedes Thompson is a fun to read edge of your seat trouble can't help but find her kind of coyote. Mated with the werewolves alpha she finds herself in all sorts of trouble. Yet her unusual and magical friends always seem to have her back. I love this book want more whish they could write faster definite thumbs up. Do itself a favor though and start with book one
Date published: 2013-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AvidReader Ditto Christine.. Ditto Maura... Ditto all 4+ rated comments. Great read, Great series. Have them all.
Date published: 2013-10-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enchanting As with all the other Mercy Thompson books, River Marked is a must read. Right from the beginning this book in impossible to put down. It captures your attention and keeps you intrigued throughout. Cheers Patricia to another enchanting chapter to the tale of Mercy Thompson. I am looking forward to the next one.
Date published: 2013-05-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! Can't wait to read the next one!
Date published: 2013-04-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Never a let down! I've never been bored with this series. What I'm going to do when it is finished I don't know. I'll miss Mercy and Adam terribly!
Date published: 2013-03-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fan Fic or the real thing? I've been a fan of Patricia Briggs work for years. I was so looking forward to this book. While it delivered on some levels I often found myself wondering who wrote this. All of the regular charachters were trotted out briefly as almost caracatures of themselves. There was a breif 5 min with Stefan that lead no where and was not touched on again. There was the rushed ambush wedding were the remaining characters make cameo apperences and the story left them behind. We are now introduced to a whole new aspect of Mercy's life. And could we go any further out there? Not only does Mercy meet her father but he's a God? A major jump down the rabbit hole that had me running to keep up. There were lots of good scenes and some character developement but most of the time it felt as though a fan of the series was writing their own spin on the story. Where can we go from here?
Date published: 2012-02-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome! Good: This entire book is about Adam and Mercy on their honeymoon, which makes me happy in and of itself. We see their relationship as we’ve never seen it before as they learn to completely trust one another, share everything with one another and just be together without of being scare or the other having to take off for business. There is not pack getting involved, and no Samuel to disturb them. Another thing: We learn all about Mercy, her past, her heritage, her people. It’s pretty cool. We also learn a lot about other shifters and how they came to be. Bad: Not much was bad about this novel. Only thing was that there were a lot of slow parts. I’m not a 100% sure what the whole museum scene was about it kind of seemed useless and pointless. Overall (Writing style, story line, and general): Overall I did love the story line. It made Mercy seem like she was at her strongest possible and the story line was focused. Although I found some parts of her novel useless I also found some of it still confusing to read but it was much better than the previous novels.
Date published: 2011-12-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from SOOOO GOOD!!!! Awwww! I was so happy that Mercy and Adam FINALLY married. This book they are on their honeymoon by a river and, of course, they cannot stay out of trouble. The two work together, along side some native gods, to rid of the river monster. I read this book in 3 days---would've been sooner but was in school. Can NOT wait for the next one!
Date published: 2011-07-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good "short" story River Marked is the 6th book in the Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series. This book had 2 major parts. 1: Mercy FINALLY getting married to Adam. I loved reading this part of the book. It was nice to step out of the danger for a brief time and see Mercy so happy. 2nd The next part storyline starts when Mercy and Adam go to their honeymoon. This is where the action begins. At the campground they are staying there seems to be something in the river. When Mercy is touched and "river marked" by the creature she sees the creature for what it is. A supernatural monster who is eating people. Mercy and Adam work at defeating the creature. But what is sad is that Mercy is often in a dream like state and connected to this monster. This book was a disappointment for me. I really love these characters. I enjoyed watching Mercy and Adam get married. I felt as though this book was a longer novella. There was some interesting stories that could have made the book even better. Example is Stephan's story, it was too rushed and could have been more elaborated. I felt cheated from his story. There were major questions answered in this book about Mercy's father and her "Walker" species. I think the river monster story didn't have to be elaborated and I felt it was forced, and pages added. I still appreciate the characters and the series but was disappointed overall with this book.
Date published: 2011-05-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from This series is going downhill for me.... Ok, so I think I will start off with what I enjoyed about the book. I enjoyed seeing Mercy with Adam for the whole book, and I also enjoyed seeing Stefan again. The storyline was mediocre. I feel like there is no plan for this series, and Briggs is just kind of making it up as she goes along, inventing new magical beings and things as needed. I think she should stick to characters already introduced and create story lines from there as opposed to this route. I found the story dragged a lot, with not a lot happening to be totally honest until the very end. I was hoping for an improvement from the last book, but definitely did not get that. I think I may give the series one last chance with the next one, but don't know if I will continue if that one falls flat as well... :(
Date published: 2011-05-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from More of a meandering creek than a river As much as I love Patricia Briggs, this was my least favourite of the Mercy Thompson series. There was so much potential for a heart-wrenching storyline, with Mercy coming to an understanding about her long-dead father, and her developing relationship with Adam. But for me, the story-line just dragged on and on and with so little depth. Don't get me wrong - I still enjoyed it, but not with the same gusto as the first 5 books. Beautiful cover art by the way -Daniel Dos Santos is a genius!
Date published: 2011-04-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Oh No! Lord Have Mercy! (lol, pun intended!) Finally! One of UF’s most loved couples has wed! Woot Woot! Way to go Mercy & Adam! Of all the trials and tribulations Mercy has faced, it’s quite endearing that the one thing that utterly terrifies her is her mother’s garish wedding plans! Lol, I can totally understand why! Seriously! Can you picture Mercy’s wedding complete with 100’s of Butterflies and Golden Balloons?...Tee hee…No way! Never fear, Mercy’s angst is for not and it all turns out perfectly, in the end. Well, that is except for the honeymoon! Having already faced many a dangerous foe, Mercy now confronts the terrifying reality that she may not come out of this adventure alive. In a coup to place Mercy once again in the position to “save the day”, Uncle Mike has loaned the newlyweds his luxurious trailer and they camp in a, yet un-opened to the public, trailer park owned by another Fae named Edythe (aka Yo Yo Girl)…And we all know that nothing is ever freely offered by the Fae! Oh Dear! Looks like Mercy is into “it” but good once again! As it turns out, there is something very suspicious and extremely dangerous going on in the Columbia River and, of course, it seems it’s up to Mercy to take care of business! In book 6 of the series, the information shared about Mercy’s heritage is spectacular. While in previous installments we were treated to just a glimpse, this time ‘round Briggs delves deeper, shedding much more insight into Mercy’s past and the history of her people. Complete with lots of laughs, plenty of “Mercy & Adam” time, and the ever present “trouble” that seems to follow Mercy like a lost puppy, River Marked is yet another example of Briggs mastery of the genre. With plenty of nail-biting excitement, fast-paced action and all sorts of new friends and foes, River Marked culminates perfectly in what appears to be a significant turning point promising much more excitement in Mercy’s adventures to come! While there are plenty of laughs and just as many dangerous endeavors within River Marked, Patricia Briggs included a treat for readers, within the final pages of the book. Now, I can't spoil the surprise because I really don't want to ruin the effect. Suffice it to say, readers will see a new side of Mercy and may even be grabbing for the nearest tissue box! Way to go Ms. Briggs! You always seem to find an amazing way to blind-side your readers! One way or another, you always have something totally unexpected up your sleeve!
Date published: 2011-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from awesome I picked up the first Mercy book because I was looking for something new to read and was hooked and River Marked is my fav so far cant wait for more and I hope Coyote makes future appearances I like his character
Date published: 2011-03-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love is in the air! A wonderful addition to the Mercy Thompson series! A chance to see Mercy and Adam together, on a more personal level, without the pack. We see them as a couple on a whole new level. Mercy is my favourite heroine. She is a perfect balance, and I enjoy how realistic she is as a person the coyote thing, not so realistic, obviously). I was somewhat disappointed with Silver Bourne, but this one was a great continuation. Coyote is a wonderful character, I hope we see more of him. I also enjoyed the Native American myth that Briggs wove into the story, although I do wonder about how real any of it actually is. Can't wait for the next one!
Date published: 2011-03-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Top Marks River Marked is the sixth book in the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs and while each book is a self-contained mystery that could be read stand-alone, we’re six books into an overarching story arc that threads its way throughout the series. In other words, read the series in order people! I highly recommend it for maximum enjoyment. And enjoy them you will, because Briggs is a writer at the top of her game – consistently delivering high quality urban fantasy adventures. In this outing, Mercy and Adam are on their Honeymoon. That's right. They actually got married. How refreshing to have the heroine actually get her man and keep him, without the usual drawn out angst. I won't spoil the details of Mercy's big day, but let's just say you'll be happily surprised. As far as comparing this one to previous books, the action starts a little slow. But that's okay, because you get a little slice of life with Mercy and Adam. It seems almost like they are normal. Well, as normal as you can be when you're a shapeshifting coyote and a werewolf. Rest assured though, this is Mercy we're talking about, so it doesn't stay quiet, or normal, for long. Mercy just can't catch a break, not even on her honeymoon. When Mercy and Adam stumble upon a mysterious monster luring people out into the river and killing them, they must rely on help from an unexpected source. In the process, we get to learn a lot more about Mercy's background as Briggs takes use deep into Native American lore. All in all, River Marked is a solid addition to the series. Maybe not the best, but certainly a highly entertaining read. I couldn't put it down. 2011-014
Date published: 2011-03-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good read. I love this series and this book had the makings for great character and relationship development by having the main characters of Mercy and Adam basically carry the entire plot. My problem was that there was a lot of skimming when really it could have been meatier by showing Mercy and Adam adjusting to each other full time and without extraneous characters. Instead it seemed they waded through the story rather than diving into it. I also thought that when Coyote alluded that Mercy wasn't a walker but more like an avatar I was hoping more information as to what type of 'other' she was but instead that line was left dangling and I was completely dissatisfied. The story began with showing the carnage of Stefan's menagerie and life post-Vampire Queen but felt rushed and again skimmed as if to say 'see here he is, this is where he's at, done'. It didn't even delve into the sub-plot of feelings Stefan holds for Mercy or the complicated love/hate Mercy holds for Stefan. Instead it was like they merrily bopped along the movements rather than showing any real meaning behind what they were doing. The wedding, while lovely, could have evolved the family relationships as well as Mercy/Adam's but instead it just seemed to go through the motions just to get it done. The native american history was interesting and I loved to read about it but it again could have been used for character development but wasn't. Then there was the family that was killed by the hunger when Mercy wouldn't sacrifice herself because she was needed to overcome the hunger. A lot of character development, struggle and turmoil could have been pursued and instead the whole incident was seemingly brushed over. It seemed that a lot of lines were strung out but none were followed through or developed which left me with a less than satisfied feeling when I closed the book. It only took me one night to read so it was a quick read but I cannot say it was the most satisfying read I've had in the series. To me, this was a Mercy Thompson novel on fast forward. You get the gist of the story but you miss all the nuances.
Date published: 2011-03-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Lovely It’s time to celebrate because River Marked, book six in Patricia Briggs’ ‘Mercy Thompson’ series, is finally available in stores. I love this series and have been really looking forward to seeing where Patricia takes us next. In this installment we follow Mercy and Adam as they go away together. That’s right. No pack, no vampires, no fae. Just Mercy and Adam. Okay…well we do see the Pack and the others a bit, and there are other characters who are introduced, but it’s still mostly Adam and Mercy. These two together are fantastic. Absolutely one of the best couples I’ve ever read. They are so in sync, yet there is still enough mystery to keep things fresh and slightly unpredictable. There are no awkward moments because they are comfortable with and confident in the love they have for one another. And as always the dialogue, the banter, even the tender and touching moments that we witness between Adam and Mercy were all written wonderfully. Patricia did a beautiful job with these two. Speaking of beautiful, the wedding scene is just amazing. Yes, there is a wedding. No, I won’t tell you who gets married. But I swear my heart fluttered a few times and tears may have escaped my eyes while I read that scene. It was lovely. Perfect. This book finally brings us information about Mercy and her Native American roots. Actually, this book answers questions I never knew I had about Mercy. I guess I just assumed that I knew what I was supposed to know about her and that was fine. But I really enjoyed reading about the Native Folklore and meeting Coyote. He was a great read. Wise and a little cocky, he made me smile. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always found the Native culture to be fascinating. Maybe it’s because I grew up right across the river from a Native Reservation. Maybe it’s because in Canada, the Native people played such an important part in our heritage and we learn about them in school and in our National Museums. Whatever the reason, that Patricia brought that touch of Folklore to this book, with such richness and importance, really made it that much more for me. I was glad to have a little peek at ‘happy’ Samuel and I would love to see him get a novella or something - I’d love to see his character away from Mercy and see him with his new lady friend. Another character that intrigued me in River Marked was Charles. He was mentioned quite often and what was said about him made me want to read the ‘Alpha & Omega’ series that Patricia writes (which is his series). And I will. I have those books in my book closet and will pick them up eventually for sure. I also found myself quite amused by the walking stick. It’s just a fae stick but in the past few books, it’s taken on a life of its own. It’s practically a character! I found how it was written into this book to be excellent and where it ends up…just right. While reading River Marked, I couldn’t get over how easily I was going along. I swear I had just started it and the next thing I knew, I was at page 124! That got me thinking… Why is it that some books take a while longer to get into then others? Then it hit me (I couldn’t believe how I’d never thought of this before). When you are reading the sixth book in a well-established and well-written series (such as this Mercy Thompson series), you are reconnecting with familiar characters in a familiar setting. The author doesn’t need to go on and on setting up her world or introducing us to the main players in her story. We know them already therefore we can just jump right in and enjoy where the book will take us. It’s wonderful…and this book was wonderful. Overall, as you can tell, I really really enjoyed this book. The relationship between Adam and Mercy… *sigh* If only we could all have an Adam in our lives. Still no word on when book 7 will be out, but that’s okay. This installment will have me smiling for quite some time. Especially that wedding scene. Just perfect. Oh, and that letter… *sighs…wipes eyes*
Date published: 2011-03-08

Read from the Book

From The Dalles Chronicle"Two Local Men Still Missing"Thomas Kerrington (62) and his son Christopher Kerrington (40) are still missing, though the boat that they were fishing in has been recovered. The boat was found abandoned two miles downstream of John Day Dam yesterday. The men set out on a morning fishing expedition Monday morning but never returned. Sherman Co. marine deputy Max Whitehead says, "This has been an unusually bad year for boating fatalities on the Columbia. We're stepping up patrols and urging boaters to take their safety very seriously." Searchers are scouring the river, but after four days, hopes are low for a safe recovery of the two men.From The Hood River NewsThis week's fish counts are drastically down at both John Day and The Dalles Dams. Allen Robb of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says, "We are concerned that there was some sort of toxic dump in the river somewhere between the dams. There is a significant reduction in the numbers of fish and our operators are telling us that this is especially true of our larger fish such as the adult Coho salmon." Although extensive testing is under way, no sign of poison has been found in the river nor has there been an unusually high number of dead fish. "The fish are spooked," says local fishing guide Jon Turner Bowman.Chapter OneUnder the glare of streetlights, I could see that the grass of Stefan's front lawn was dried by the high summer heat to yellow. It had been mowed, but only with an eye to trimming the length of the grass, not to making it aesthetically pleasing. From the debris of dead grass in the yard, the lawn had been left to grow long enough that the city might have demanded it be mowed. The grass that remained was dry enough that whoever had cut it wouldn't have to do it again unless someone started watering.I pulled the Rabbit up to the curb and parked. The last time I'd seen Stefan's house, it had fit right into his ritzy neighborhood. The yard's neglect hadn't spread to the house's exterior yet, but I worried about the people inside.Stefan was resilient, smart, and… just Stefan—able to talk Pokémon in ASL with deaf boys, defeat nasty villains while locked up in a cage, then drive off in his VW bus to fight bad guys another day. He was like Superman, but with fangs and oddly impaired morals.I got out of my car and walked up the sidewalk toward the front porch. In the driveway, Scooby-Doo looked out at me eagerly through a layer of dust on the windows of Stefan's usually meticulously tended bus. I had gotten the big stuffed dog for Stefan to go with the Mystery Machine paint job.I hadn't heard from Stefan for months, not since Christmas in fact. I'd been caught up in a lot of things, and getting kidnapped for a day (which was a month for everyone else because fairy queens can apparently do that), was only part of it. But for the last month, I'd called him once a week and gotten only his answering machine. Last night, I'd called him four times to invite him to Bad Movie Night. We were a person short of the usual as Adam—my mate, fiancé, and the Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack—was out of town on business.Adam owned a security firm that, until recently, had dealt primarily with government contractors. Since the werewolves—and Adam—had come out to the general public, though, his business had started to boom on other fronts. Werewolves were seen as very good security people, apparently. He was actively looking for someone else who could do most of the traveling but so far hadn't found the right person.With Adam away, I could give more attention to the other people in my life. I'd decided Stefan had had time enough to lick his wounds, but from the looks of things, I was a few months late.I knocked on the door and, when that got no response, gave it the old "Shave and a Haircut" knock. I'd resorted to pounding when the dead bolt finally clicked over, and the door opened.It took me a while to recognize Rachel. The last time I'd seen her, she'd looked like the poster girl for the disenchanted goth or runaway teenager. Now she looked like a crack addict. She'd lost maybe thirty pounds she didn't have to lose. Her hair hung in limp, greasy, and uncombed strings down her shoulders. Mascara smudges dripped over her cheeks in faded smears that would have done credit to an extra in Night of the Living Dead. Her neck was bruised, and she held herself like her bones ached. I tried not to show that I noticed she was missing the last two fingers on her right hand. Her hand was healed, but the scars were still red and angry.Marsilia, the Mistress of the Tri-Cities' vampires, had used Stefan, her faithful knight, to oust traitors from her seethe, and part of that involved taking his menagerie—the humans he kept to feed from—and making him think they were dead by breaking his blood bonds to them. She seemed to think that torturing them had been necessary as well, but I don't trust vampires—other than Stefan—to speak the truth. Marsilia hadn't thought Stefan would object to her use of him and his menagerie once he knew that she'd done it to protect herself. He was, after all, her loyal Soldier. She'd miscalculated how badly Stefan would deal with her betrayal. From the looks of it, he wasn't recovering well."You'd better get out of here, Mercy," Rachel told me dully. "'Tisn't safe."I caught the door before she could shut it. "Is Stefan home?"She drew in a ragged breath. "He won't help. He doesn't."At least it didn't sound like Stefan was the danger she had been warning me about. She'd turned her head when I stopped her from shutting the door, and I saw that someone had been chewing on her neck. Human teeth, I thought, not fangs, but the scabs climbed the side of the tendon between her collarbone and her jaw in brutal relief.I shouldered the door open and stepped inside so I could reach out and touch the scabs, and Rachel flinched back, retreating from the door and from me."Who did this?" I asked. Impossible to believe Stefan would let anyone else hurt her again. "One of Marsilia's vampires?"She shook her head. "Ford."For a moment I drew a blank. Then I remembered the big man who'd driven me out of Stefan's house the last time I was there. Half-changed to vampire and mostly crazy with it—and that had been before Marsilia had gotten her claws into him. A very nasty scary guy—and I expected he'd been scary before he'd ever seen a vampire."Where's Stefan?"I have very little tolerance for drama that ends in people getting hurt. It was Stefan's job to take care of his people, never mind that for most vampires their menageries existed as convenient snacks, and all the people in them died slow, nasty deaths over a period that might last as long as six months.Stefan hadn't been like that. I knew that Naomi, the woman who ran his household, had been with him for thirty years or more. Stefan was careful. He'd been trying to prove that it was possible to live without killing. From the looks of Rachel, he wasn't trying very hard anymore."You can't come in," she said. "You need to leave. We're not to disturb him, and Ford…"The floor of the entryway was filthy, and my nose detected sweaty bodies, mold, and the sour scent of old fear. The whole house smelled like a garbage heap to my coyote-sensitive nose. It would probably have smelled like a garbage heap to a normal human, too."I'm going to disturb him all right," I told her grimly. Someone obviously needed to. "Where is he?"When it became obvious that she couldn't or wouldn't answer, I walked farther into the house and bellowed his name, tilting my head so my voice would carry up the stairs. "Stefan! You get your butt down here. I have a bone or two to pick with you. Stefan! You've had enough time to writhe in self-pity. Either kill Marsilia—and I'll help with that one—or get over it."Rachel had resorted to patting my shoulder and tugging at my clothes to try to get me back outside the house. "He can't go outside," she said with frantic urgency. "Stefan makes him stay in. Mercy, you have to get outside."I'm tough and strong, and she was shaking with weariness and, likely, iron deficiency. I had no trouble staying right where I was."Stefan," I bellowed again.A lot of things happened in a very short period of time, so that I had to think of them later to put them together in the proper order.Rachel sucked in a breath of air and froze, her hand on my arm abruptly holding on to me rather than pushing me away. But she lost her grip when someone grabbed me from behind and threw me onto the upright piano that sat against the wall between the entryway and the living room. It made such a huge noise that I mixed up the sound of my impact with the pain of my back hitting the top of the piano. Reaction to countless karate drills kept me from stiffening, and I rolled down the face of the piano. Not a fun thing. My face hit the flagstone floor. Something crashed into a limp pile beside me, and suddenly I was face-to-face with Ford, the big scary guy who inexplicably seemed to have thrown himself down beside me, blood dripping out of the corner of his mouth.He looked different than he had last time, leaner and filthier. His clothing was stained with sweat, old blood, and sex. But his eyes, staring momentarily at me, were wide and startled like a child's.Then a faded purple T-shirt spilling over ragged dirty jeans, and long, tangled dark hair blocked my view of Ford.My protector was too thin, too unkempt, but my nose told me that he was Stefan almost before my brain knew to ask the question. Unwashed vampire is better than unwashed human, but it is not pleasant, either."No," Stefan said, his voice soft, but Ford cried out, and Rachel let out a squeak of sound."I'm all right, Stefan," I told him, rolling stiffly to hands and knees. But he ignored me."We don't harm our guests," Stefan said, and Ford whimpered.I stood up, ignoring the protest of sore shoulders and hip. I'd have bruises tomorrow, but nothing worse thanks to sensei's sometimes brutal how-to-fall sessions. The piano looked like it would survive our encounter as well."It wasn't Ford's fault," I said loudly. "He's just trying to do your job." I don't know if it was true or not; I suspected Ford was just crazy. But I was willing to try anything to get Stefan's attention.Still crouched between Ford and me, Stefan turned his head to look at me. His eyes were cold and hungry, and he gazed at me as though I were a complete stranger.Better monsters than he had tried to cow me, so I didn't even flinch."You're supposed to be taking care of these people," I snapped at him. Okay, so he did scare me, which is why I was snippy. Get-scared-and-get-mad wasn't always smart. I, raised in a pack of werewolves, certainly knew better. But looking at Stefan and what had happened to his home made me want to cry—and I'd rather get scared and mad than do that. If Stefan thought I pitied him, he'd never let me help. Criticism was easy to take."Look at her—" I gestured toward Rachel, and Stefan's gaze followed my hand in response to the command in my voice, command I was just learning to borrow from Adam. There were a few perks to being the Alpha werewolf's mate.Stefan jerked his gaze back to me as soon as he realized what I'd done, baring his fangs in a way that reminded me more of one of the werewolves than a vampire. But the snarl died from his face, and he looked at Rachel again.The tension died from his shoulders, and he looked down at Ford. I couldn't see the big man's face, but his body language clearly said surrender to my pack-trained sight."Merda," said Stefan, releasing his hold on Ford."Stefan?"The menace was gone from his face, but so was all trace of any emotion. He appeared almost dazed."Go get showered. Comb your hair and change your clothes," I told him briskly, striking while he was still weak. "And don't dawdle and leave me at the mercy of your people for very long. I'm taking you out tonight to watch some bad movies with Warren, Kyle, and me. Adam is out of town, so there's a slot open."Warren was my best friend, a werewolf, and third in the Columbia Basin Pack. Kyle was a lawyer, human, and Warren's lover. Bad Movie Night was our therapy night, but sometimes we invited people we thought needed it.Stefan gave me an incredulous stare."You obviously need someone to hit you with a cattle prod to get you moving," I informed him with a sweeping gesture that took in the disreputable state of his house and his people. "But you got me instead, your friendly neighborhood coyote. You might as well give in because I'll just annoy you until you do. Of course, I know a cowboy who probably has a cattle prod somewhere if it comes to that."One side of his mouth turned up. "Warren is a werewolf. He doesn't need a prod to get cows moving." His voice sounded rough and unused. He glanced down at Ford."He's not going to hurt anyone soon," I told the vampire. "But I can drive most people to violence given enough time, so you should get moving."Abruptly, there was a popping noise, and Stefan was gone. I knew he could teleport though he seldom did it in front of me. Both of his people jerked reflexively, so I guess they hadn't seen him do it much, either. I dusted off my hands and turned to Rachel."Where is Naomi?" I asked. I couldn't see her letting things get into this state."She died," Rachel told me. "Marsilia broke her, and we couldn't put her back together. I think that was the final straw for Stefan." She glanced up the stairway. "How did you do that?""He doesn't want me to get the cattle prod," I told her.Her arms were wrapped around herself, her mutilated hand clearly visible. She was bruised, bitten, battered—and she said, "We've been so worried about him. He won't talk to any of us, not since Naomi died."Poor Stefan had tried to curl up and die because Marsilia had sold him out—and he'd done his best to take the remnants of his menagerie with him. And Rachel was worried about him.About him."How many of you are left?" I asked. Naomi had been a tough lady. If she was gone, she wouldn't have been the only one."Four."No wonder they looked bad. Four people couldn't feed a vampire all by themselves."He's been going out hunting?" I asked."No," she said. "I don't think he's been out of the house since we buried Naomi.""You should have called me," I said."Yes," said Ford from the ground, his voice deep enough to echo. His eyes were closed. "We should have."Now that he wasn't attacking me, I could see that he was thin, too. That couldn't be good in a man in transition from human to vampire. Hungry vampire fledglings have a tendency to go out and find their own food.Stefan should have fixed this before it got so bad.If I'd had a cattle prod, I might have been tempted to use it, at least until the stairs creaked, and I looked up to see Stefan coming down. I have a dusty degree in history for which I'd sat through a number of films of the Third Reich, and there were men who'd died in the concentration camps who were less emaciated than Stefan in the bright green Scooby-Doo T-shirt he'd filled out just fine when I'd seen him wear it a few months ago. Now it hung from his bones. Cleaned up, he looked worse than he had at first.Rachel said that Marsilia had broken Naomi. Looking at Stefan, I thought that she'd come very close to breaking him, too. Someday, someday I would be in the same room with Marsilia with a wooden stake in my hand, and, by Heaven, I would use it. If, of course, Marsilia were unconscious, and all of her vampires were unconscious, too. Otherwise, I'd just be dead because Marsilia was a lot more dangerous than I was. Still, the thought of sinking a sharp piece of wood into her chest through her heart gave me great joy.To Stefan, I said, "You need a donor before we go out? So no one pulls us over and makes me take you to the hospital or the morgue?"He paused and looked down at Rachel and Ford. He frowned, then looked puzzled and a little lost. "No. They are too weak, there aren't enough of them left.""I wasn't talking about them, Shaggy," I told him gently. "I've donated before, and I'm willing to do it again."

Editorial Reviews

“An outstanding urban fantasy novel with some well-loved and well-traveled characters...The way [Briggs] writes about all of the different fictional supernatural creatures is fascinating and keeps you on your toes.”—Examiner.com “A wonderful urban fantasy that has characters who touch the souls of readers...With a strong cast including other walkers and a terrific malevolence, fans of the saga will relish Mercy’s honeymoon.”—Genre Go Round ReviewsMore Praise for the Mercy Thompson Novels“I love these books.”—Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times bestselling author“An excellent read with plenty of twists and turns…It left me wanting more.”—Kim Harrison, #1 New York Times bestselling author“The best new urban fantasy series I’ve read in years.”—Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author“In the increasingly crowded field of kick-ass supernatural heroines, Mercy stands out as one of the best.”—Locus“Action-packed and with more than a few satisfying emotional payoffs...Patricia Briggs at the top of her game.”—The Speculative Herald“The characters are all realistic and vibrant.”—The Independent“These are fantastic adventures, and Mercy reigns.”—SFRevu“The world building is incredibly lush and subsuming...a fantastic urban fantasy adventure.”—Fresh Fiction“Outstanding.”—Charles de Lint, Fantasy & Science Fiction