Book 12 in the Immortals After Dark series, published January 2012.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole continues her electrifying Immortals After Dark series with this thrilling tale, revealing secrets of the Lore, fierce realm of the immortals. . . .
ALL FEAR THE ENEMY OF OLD
Driven by his insatiable need for revenge, Lothaire, the Lore’s most ruthless vampire, plots to seize the Horde’s crown. But bloodlust and torture have left him on the brink of madness—until he finds Elizabeth Peirce, the key to his victory. He captures the unique young mortal, intending to offer up her very soul in exchange for power, yet Elizabeth soothes his tormented mind and awakens within him emotions Lothaire believed he could no longer experience.
A DEADLY FORCE DWELLS WITHIN HER
Growing up in desperate poverty, Ellie Peirce yearned for a better life, never imagining she’d be convicted of murder—or that an evil immortal would abduct her from death row. But Lothaire is no savior, as he himself plans to sacrifice Ellie in one month’s time. And yet the vampire seems to ache for her touch, showering her with wealth and sexual pleasure. In a bid to save her soul, Ellie surrenders her body to the wicked vampire, while vowing to protect her heart.
CENTURIES OF COLD INDIFFERENCE SHATTERED
Elizabeth tempts Lothaire beyond reason, as only his fated mate could. As the month draws to a close, he must choose between a millennia-old blood vendetta and his irresistible prisoner. Will Lothaire succumb to the miseries of his past . . . or risk everything for a future with her?
After escaping from prisoner island, Lothaire, the most powerful Vampire in the Lore, the Enemy of Old, is only just in time to safe his Bride … from Death Row! She is only minutes away from the deathly injection. Something she desperately wants.
The young Ellie has grown up in the Appalachian Mountains, free and wild, running barefoot most of the year. Now she is helping her mother raising her younger brother as her father died in the coalmines. Working for her uncle when she can, and getting ready for college. And then, suddenly, she is possessed. The ancient, but powerless, Vampire goddess Saroya has taken over her body. Saroya is cursed by her sister to die time and again as punishment for killing so many and revelling in the pain and misery she causes. And so she jumps from body to body until her host dies. But Ellie is not so easy to conker. Unlike her other hosts, she is young and strong, and doesn’t give in to Saroya easily. Only when she sleeps, Saroya can take her over, doing horrible things. Time and again Ellie wakes to slaughter, to find blood everywhere, and she won’t take it any more. Now her last chance at freedom is gone, when Saroya has killed 5 priests, trying to exorcise her. Her mother has called the sheriff, and Ellie is ready to die, then and there. She will not have Saroya kill her mother and brother.
But just when she is about to get killed by the sheriff, a man appears in front of her, taking the bullets meant for her. Making her get arrested without resistance, and thrown in jail. There she will be safe, and she will keep his Bride safe! Ellie has no idea who or what he is, but she has no choice. And now, after 5 horrible years in prison, he has come for her in the nick of time. She was ready to die, to get rid of Saroya.
Instead, he takes her to a luxury penthouse in New York, and keeps her a prisoner there. She is to treat herself allright, as long as she houses his Bride. Her body is his to do with as he pleases! Or else, he will hurt her family! And so Elly has little choice, but she won’t give in to this Vampire. Who could ever believe they existed! But Lothaire is getting confused. His Bride doesn’t seem to want him, or be with him. And Elisabeth is entertaining and refreshing with her boldness. He cannot predict her actions, and somehow, her presence is keeping his madness at bay.
He needs to find the Ring. With it he can throw Ellie out of her body, so Saroya will be with him forever as his Bride, and his Queen. With her at his side, he will be King of the Horde, and of the Dacian Vampires. He will get the revenge he promised his dying mother. After all those centuries of plotting, his goal is in sight! But Ellie makes him doubt himself, and what he wants to do after he reaches his goal. What will happen then? Never has he thought of that.
And then, when he finally finds out how mistaken he was, he cannot take back the vows he made to his goddess when he first met her. Not even the Ring can grant those wishes to him.
A really great book. Lothaire certainly was not a character I admired previously in the series, but Kresley Cole sure explains him. The torture and betrayal he has suffered for centuries, the plotting he has done for even more centuries, all centered upon one goal. He has done unspeakable atrocies, but then, the whole Lore world is a very cruel world, with all kind of species hating and fighting each other. He has never known kindness or friends, and he has no idea how a woman thinks or feels. They all fall for his devastating good looks and body, no one has ever denied him, until Ellie. He has no idea how bad he is treating her, is baffled when she goes against his orders.
And Ellie was such a great character. Denied her wish to die twice now, she still tries to make the best of it. She is used to be called names, as she comes from one of the poorest regions of America. A hillbilly, a redneck, a hick. But she is not stupid, she got a PhD in psychology in prison, even knowing she would never be using it. But it sure helps her to handle Lothaire, even though he is Vampire and not human.
I also liked the Hag, Lothaire’s personal soothsayer, who becomes Ellies friend after a while. Lothaire tends to leave Ellie there, protected from the sight of others, when he goes hunting for the Ring. I loved the scenes with them drinking bears and watch the ocean together.
The lovescenes between Lothaire and Ellie are incredibly hot and good. Especially at first, when he cannot have real intercourse with her, as his Vampire strength will crush her. So they find other things to do together.
Saroya, well, she is pure evil. She doesn’t care for Lothaire at all, but that he is a strong Vampire and she will be his Queen. But she is a Virgin Goddess of Death, and not inclined at all to have sex with any male. So Ellie standing in for her is fine with her!
And then there are the usual cast of characters I have come to expect and like, with of course Nïx as the most important one. We finally get a glimpse in her soul, and her pain. All her actions will be for the greater good in the end, even if not understood at the moment. I like her, and I hope someday she will have a mate of her own.
There was not much story for the ongoing storyline, the Ascension. This book totally focused on Lothaire and his Bride. And their journey together sure is a rocky one! It sure takes a lot for an ancient Vampire to admit his feelings and his errors.
I have read some lesser books in this series, but with Lothaire, Kresley Cole has definitely convinced me again of her greatness. I love the world she has created, and cannot wait for more books to devour. She keeps surprising me, her original characters, her tortured heroes and heroines, and the difficult journeys she makes them take. Before they meet, and what happens next.