Swallowing Darkness: A Novel by Laurell K. HamiltonSwallowing Darkness: A Novel by Laurell K. Hamilton

Swallowing Darkness: A Novel

byLaurell K. Hamilton

Mass Market Paperback | November 24, 2009

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I am Meredith, princess of faerie, and at long last, I am with child–twins, fathered by my royal guard. Now I must stay alive to see my children born, as conspirators from every court plot against me and mine. They seek to strip my guards, my lovers, from me by poisoned word or cold steel. But I still have supporters, and even friends, among the goblins and the sluagh who will stand by me. Those who would defy and destroy me are destined to pay a terrible price. To protect what is mine, I will sacrifice anything–even if it means waging a battle against my darkest enemies and making the most momentous decision ever made as princess of faerie.
Laurell K. Hamilton is the New York Times bestselling author of the Meredith Gentry novels: A Kiss of Shadows, A Caress of Twilight, Seduced by Moonlight, A Stroke of Midnight, Mistral’s Kiss, A Lick of Frost, and Divine Misdemeanors, as well as seventeen acclaimed Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, novels. She lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
Title:Swallowing Darkness: A NovelFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 6.86 × 4.16 × 1.1 inPublished:November 24, 2009Publisher:Random House Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345495942

ISBN - 13:9780345495945

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Drama! The goal of the entire series has been met! Merry is with child and all is right in her world.... aha yeah just kidding. Faerie has become an even more dangerous place for Merry and her lovers since becoming pregnant... who would have guessed!? We get some court drama... which I love. Not the worst read.
Date published: 2018-04-10
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Guilty Pleasure I use to read this series in high school. I still enjoy Laurell K Hamilton's work, and the Merry Gentry series is my favorite. This book answered a lot of loose ends and sets up for the next, which I can't wait for.
Date published: 2017-03-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Frost, Doyal, Sholto & Mistral This one is full surprises. Goddess and Consort still at play. As always Merry is in danger. King Taranis truly has flipped his lid. If their was a Looney bin for the Sidhe he should be the first to be admitted. You would not believe the sit he pulled and did. Doyal-Darkness has many assassination attempts on him and they come close. Not just attempts on Doyal but also Sholto and Mistral. Merry loses someone dear to her and we have an epic battle to end all epic battles. And Merry is no longer as forgiving as she once was. ` " On the life of my grandmother, I swear vengeance this night. I call Kin Slayer against Cair`" - Merry Yes, Merry's had enough. This book starts out in L.A. then we are in Faerie and then back in L.A.. This book gives you everything you have come to love about the Merry series. So worth the read
Date published: 2014-09-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome, as always!! Loved that they were able to save Frost & finally kill Cel... Great ending, can't wait for the birth.
Date published: 2014-03-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from As good as to be expected I bought this book a week ago. Nearing the end. All I can say is.. "I just can't put it down." I have the next book in the series so looking forward to reading it. Laurell k. Hamilton is a fantastic, talented novelist and when her next book is released I will read that one too. Enjoy!
Date published: 2014-02-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from The Best of the Series (with a disclaimer*) * I have to start by saying I'm not a huge fan of this particular series by Hamilton (although I LOVE the Anita Blake series). The original premise, a mortal faery princess living in exile working as a detective sounded promising. Too bad that storyline never actually occurred. Instead the story gets totally hijacked by Meredith's trip back to the faery and the previous books all were a little too 'out there' (and that's saying something) with not enough plot and too much sex (never thought I would say THAT). I found myself reading one book after the next, each time thinking that the story had to gain some momentum and actual plot. Finally, it got to the point where I'd come to read these books mostly as an exercise in self-punishment - just kidding - actually it was more that I just had to see it through to the end. So, now you have some context for when I say that this is the best book of the series. With only about 25 pages of the 365 page novel taken up with sex, surprisingly, this book actually has more of a plot. Picking up where the last book, Lick of Frost, left off, Meredith finds herself in the hospital after being raped by her Uncle, the King of the Seelie Court. Finally pregnant with twins (each baby has three genetic fathers), based on an earlier promise, Merry is now within her rights to claim the crown as Queen of the Unseelie Court. But nothing in Faery is that easy, and Merry’s treacherous cousin (and rival for the throne) Cel has a final trick up his sleeve. He refuses to be graceful in his defeat. And despite his cruelty and the fact that HE'S TOTALLY INSANE, many among the Unseelie Sidhe would prefer his leadership to that of a mixed-blood mortal. And so the insanity ensues. There is a singularly bloody battle where magic and mind-bending glamour abound. Traitors are exposed, familiar faces return and the Goddess is not shy of showing which team she supports. The book is a quick read and if you are a fan (which what else could you be if you have already read the five previous books) it will keep you turning pages. Thankfully, this installment ties up some big loose ends that have been hanging around since the beginning. It also sets things up for the next book to occur far away from Faery. Hopefully Hamilton will continue the trend and keep Merry and her band of men in LA and develop this series like it should have been in the first place. I guess I'll have to read Devine Misdemeanors to find out (but like with this book, I'll be waiting for the paperback). 2010-004
Date published: 2010-01-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from An appropriate end to Merry's story I can't say this was my favourite of the Merry Gentry series, but I think that Hamilton did a good job of wrapping up this story arc to bring the series to a close. When you create a series that states a specific goal for the main character, you sort of have to eventually get to that goal one way or the other. The story in this book was a bit more depressing than in past books, because in past books there was always give and take and the books ended with the *possibility* of either a really good or a really bad ending to come in future books. Because this was the climax of the "will Meredith get the crown" question - I won't spoil by saying if she does - that suspense ends with this book. But I liked the development of the Meredith character in this book. She has been very ambivalent about using her power against those who will - and have - tried repeatedly and ruthlessly to kill her up to now. In past books it has usually been others, mainly her guards/lovers, who have saved her while she stood behind them because she didn't want to be ruthless herself unless there was no option. That seemed reasonable at the beginning of the series because she is part human and was raised in the human world. But as the series progressed and Meredith CHOSE to participate in Faerie court life, and compete for the crown I found it increasingly hard to accept that she wouldn't have become at least SOMEWHAT more aggressive and willing to play by the "kill-or-be-killed" rules of the world she was living in. That changed in this book and it made more sense to me for this character. There is also more violence and less sex in this book, which also makes sense given that Merry is now pregnant [that's not a spoiler unless you haven't read the previous book in the series] and the battle for the crown is coming to a pretty intense culmination. I think unless Hamilton wanted to stretch this series out into a very long commitment to future books exploring the intricacies of Faerie Court politics, the way she wrapped up this storyline makes sense. I am looking forward to seeing what Hamilton does with the Meredith story in the next book, which is billed as a continuation of Merry's story but in a completely different direction than this plot has gone in so far. Hopefully, Hamilton has something in mind that will be as engaging as this story has been.
Date published: 2009-12-10

Read from the Book

Chapter OneHospitals are where people go to be saved, but the doctors can only patch you up, put you back together. They can’t undo the damage. They can’t make it so you didn’t wake up in the bad place, or change the truth to lies. The nice doctor and the nice woman from the SART, Sexual Assault Response Team, couldn’t change that I had indeed been raped. The fact that I couldn’t remember it, because my uncle had used a spell for his date-rape drug, didn’t change the evidence—the evidence that they’d found in my body when they did the exam and took samples.You would think being a real live faerie princess would make your life fairy-tale-like, but fairy tales only end well. While the story is going on, horrible things happen. Remember Rapunzel? Her prince got his eyes scratched out by the witch, which blinded him. At the end of the story, Rapunzel’s tears magically restored his sight, but that was at the end of the story. Cinderella was little better than a slave. Snow White was actually nearly killed four different times by the evil queen. All anyone remembers is the poisoned apple, but don’t forget the huntsman, or the enchanted girdle and the poisoned comb. Pick any fairy tale that’s based on older stories, and the heroine of the piece has a miserable, dangerous, nightmarish time of it.I am Princess Meredith NicEssus, next in line to a high throne of faerie, and I’m in the middle of my story. The happy-ever-after ending, if it’s coming at all, seems a very long way away tonight.I was in a hospital bed, in a nice private room, in a very nice hospital. I was in the maternity ward, because I was pregnant, but not with my crazy uncle’s baby. I had been pregnant before he stole me away. Pregnant with the children of men I loved. They’d risked everything to rescue me from Taranis. Now, I was safe. I had one of the greatest warriors that faerie had ever seen at my side: Doyle, once the Queen’s Darkness, and now mine. He stood at the window, staring off into the night that was so ruined by the lights from the hospital parking lot that the blackness of his skin and hair was much darker than the night outside. He’d removed the wraparound sunglasses that he almost always wore outside. But his eyes were as black as the glasses that hid them. The only color in the dim light of the room was the glints from the silver rings that climbed the graceful line of one ear to the point that marked him as not pure blood, not truly high court, but mixed blood, like me. The diamonds in his earlobe sparkled in the light as he turned his head, as if he’d felt me staring at him. He probably had. He had been the queen’s assassin a thousand years before I was born.His ankle-length hair moved like a black cloak as he came toward me. He was wearing green hospital scrubs that he’d been loaned. They had replaced the blanket from the ambulance that had brought us here. He’d entered the golden court, to rescue me, in the form of a large black dog. When he shape-shifted he lost everything, clothes, weapons, but strangely never the piercings. The many earrings and the nipple piercing survived his return to human form, maybe because they were part of him.He came to stand beside the bed, and take my hand—the one that didn’t have the intravenous drip in it, which was helping hydrate me, and get me over the shock I’d been in when I had arrived. If I hadn’t been with child, they’d have probably given me more medicine. For once I wouldn’t have minded stronger drugs, something to make me forget. Not just what my uncle, Taranis, had done, but also the loss of Frost.I gripped Doyle’s hand, my hand so small and pale in his large, dark one. But there should have been another beside him, beside me. Frost, our Killing Frost, was gone. Not dead, not exactly, but lost to us. Doyle could shape-shift to several forms at will and come back to his true form. Frost had had no ability to shape-shift, but when wild magic had filled the estate where we’d been living in Los Angeles, it had changed him. He had become a white stag, and run out the doors that had appeared into a piece of faerie that had never existed before the magic came.The lands of faerie were growing, instead of shrinking, for the first time in centuries. I, a noble of the high courts, was with child, twins. I was the last child of faerie nobility to be born. We were dying as a people, but maybe not. Maybe we were going to regain our power, but what use to me was power? What use to me was the return of faerie, and wild magic? What use was any of it, if Frost was an animal with an animal’s mind?The thought that I would bear his child and he would neither know nor understand made my chest tight. I gripped Doyle’s hand, but couldn’t meet his eyes. I wasn’t sure what he would see there. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling anymore. I loved Doyle, I did, but I loved Frost, too. The thought that they would both be fathers had been a joyous one.He spoke in his deep, deep voice, as if molasses, and other, thick, sweet things, could be words, but what he said wasn’t sweet. “I will kill Taranis for you.”I shook my head. “No, you will not.” I had thought about it, because I had known that Doyle would do just what he’d said. If I asked, he would try to kill Taranis, and he might succeed. But I could not allow my lover and future king to assassinate the King of Light and Illusion, the king of our enemy court. We were not at war, and even those among the Seelie Court who thought Taranis was mad or even evil would not be able to overlook an assassination. A duel, maybe, but not an assassination. Doyle was within his rights to challenge the king to a duel. I’d thought about that, too. I’d half liked that idea, but I’d seen what Taranis could do with his hand of power. His hand of light could char flesh, and had nearly killed Doyle once before.I had let go of any thought of vengeance at Doyle’s hand when I weighed it against the thought of losing him too.“I am the captain of your guard, and I could avenge my honor and yours for that reason alone.”“You mean a duel,” I said.“Yes. He does not deserve a chance to defend himself, but if I assassinate him, it will be war between the courts, and we cannot afford that.”“No,” I said, “we can’t.” I looked up at him then.He touched my face with his free hand. “Your eyes glow in the dark with a light of their own, Meredith. Green and gold circles of light in your face. Your emotions betray you.”“I want him dead, yes, but I won’t destroy all of faerie for it. I won’t get us all kicked out of the United States for my honor. The treaty that let our people come here three hundred years ago stated only two things that would get us kicked out. The courts can’t make war on American soil, and we can’t allow humans to worship us as deities.”“I was at the signing of the treaty, Meredith. I know what it said.”I smiled at him, and it seemed strange that I could still smile. The thought made the smile wilt a little around the edges, but I guess it was a good sign. “You remember the Magna Carta.”“That was a human thing, and had little to do with us.”I squeezed his hand. “I was making a point, Doyle.”He smiled, and nodded. “My emotions make me slow.”“Me, too,” I said.The door behind him opened. There were two men in the doorway, one tall and one short. Sholto, King of the sluagh, Lord of that Which Passes Between, was as tall as Doyle, and had long, straight hair that fell toward his ankles, but the color was white-blond, and his skin was like mine, moonlight pale. Sholto’s eyes were three colors of yellow and gold, as if autumn leaves from three different trees had been melted down to color his eyes, then everything had been edged in gold. The sidhe always have the prettiest eyes. He was as fair of face as any at the courts, except for my lost Frost. The body that showed under the t-shirt and jeans he’d worn as part of his disguise when he came to save me seemed to cling to a body as lovely as the face, but I knew that at least part of it was illusion. Starting at his upper ribs, Sholto had extra bits, tentacles, because, though his mother had been high-court nobility, his father had been one of the nightflyers, part of the sluagh, and the last wild hunt of faerie. Well, the last wild hunt until the wild magic had returned. Now, things of legend were returning, and Goddess alone knew what was real again, and what was still to return.Until he had a coat or jacket thick enough to hide the extra bits, he would use magic, glamour, to hide the extras. No reason to scare the nurses. It was his lifetime of having to hide his differences that had made him good enough at illusion to risk coming to my rescue. You do not go lightly against the King of Light and Illusion with illusion as your only shield.He smiled at me, and it was a smile I had never seen on Sholto’s face until the moment at the ambulance when he had held my hand, and told me he knew he would be a father. The news seemed to have softened some harshness that had always been there in his handsome body. He seemed the proverbial new man, as he walked toward us.Rhys was not smiling. At 5'6", he was the shortest full-blooded sidhe I’d ever met. His skin was moonlight pale, like Sholto’s, like mine, like Frost’s. Rhys had removed the fake beard and mustache he’d worn inside the faerie mound. He’d worked at the detective agency in L.A. with me, and he’d loved disguises. He was good at them, too, better than at illusion. But he’d had enough illusion to hide the fact that he only had one eye. The remaining eye was three circles of blue, as beautiful as any in the court, but where his left eye had once lain was white scar tissue. He usually wore a patch in public, but tonight his face was bare, and I liked that. I wanted to see the faces of my men with nothing hidden tonight.Doyle moved enough so Sholto could put a chaste kiss against my cheek. Sholto wasn’t one of my regular lovers. In fact, we’d only been together once, but as the old saying goes, once is enough. One of the children I carried was part his, but we were new around each other, because in effect we’d only had one date. It had been a hell of a first date, but still, we didn’t really know each other yet.Rhys came to stand at the foot of the bed. His curly white hair, which fell to his waist, was still back in the ponytail he’d worn to match his own jeans and t-shirt. His face was very solemn. It wasn’t like him. Once he’d been Cromm Cruach, and before that he’d been a god of death. He wouldn’t tell me who, but I had enough hints to make guesses. He’d told me that Cromm Cruach was god enough; he didn’t need more titles.“Who gets to challenge him to the duel?” Rhys asked.“Meredith has told me no,” Doyle said.“Oh, good,” Rhys said. “I get to do it.”“No,” I said, “and I thought you were afraid of Taranis.”“I was, maybe I still am, but we can’t let this go, Merry, we can’t.”“Why? Because your pride is hurt?”He gave me a look. “Give me more credit than that.”“I will challenge him, then,” Sholto said.“No,” I said. “No one is to challenge him to a duel, or to kill him in any other way.”The three men looked at me. Doyle and Rhys knew me well enough to be speculative. They knew I had a plan. Sholto didn’t know me that well yet. He was just angry.“We can’t let this insult stand, princess. He has to pay.”

Editorial Reviews

“An emotionally charged and suspense-filled tale . . . with enough surprises, twists and turns to keep you guessing.”—Romance Reviews Today

“Wild magic and wilder sex.”—Publishers Weekly

“Nearly nonstop action.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch