THE FIRE KING - Marjorie M. Liu
Dirk & Steele, Book 9
Mongolia - Present Day
In the year since tragedy took Soria’s arm, she’s isolated herself from friends, family and the world. Traveling for a job interview, Soria is approached by Robert, who says he was sent by Roland, leader of Dirk & Steele, Soria’s former employer – and former lover. Her special skills are needed, and though she wants to go on ignoring the man who turned his back on her, she can’t deny that the thought of a mission with Dirk & Steele has her excited in a way she hasn’t been in a year. The man she is to investigate though is a challenge she could never have foreseen.
Karr was once a mighty warlord – a Chimera charged with protecting his people from the shape-shifters who would see the Chimera eliminated. Three thousand years later, he’s confused by the fact that he’s alive, and once again imprisoned by the shape-shifters. The human woman who comes to visit him surprises him first when she stands fearlessly toe-to-toe with the shape-shifter holding him captive, then when she speaks in his language. That she is working with the shape-shifters makes her the enemy, and he knows better than to trust. Yet, when the prison is attacked, and the woman refuses to leave him behind, Karr reluctantly follows her. Much has changed since the time he was killed, but the shape-shifters still pose a threat, and Karr isn’t sure whether finding other Chimera would be a good idea or a dangerous one.
The operatives of Dirk & Steele are gifted in many ways, and it is through those gifts that two isolated, lonely people find home again in THE FIRE KING. Soria is still dealing with the physical and emotional ramifications of the loss of her arm, and has cut herself off from everyone who cares about her. Her special gift is that she can understand and speak any language she comes into contact with, so long as she is around someone speaking it. Since no one can understand the being that was found in the caves, they call upon Soria to communicate with him. Chimera were considered the forbidden and dangerous offspring of cross-breeding shape-shifters. Karr and his people were always aware of the madness that could overtake their minds, and when it happened to him, he chose death over the possibility of hurting his friends again. Stabbed and then entombed, he never expected to survive, and now that he is living again, he struggles with the old guilt, the fear of hurting others, and the changes in the world. Being the leader of his people and worrying about his sanity had held him apart during his first lifetime, and now he sees himself as alone. In spite of the feelings he has for Soria, Karr intends to go it alone once he is sure he is free from the threat posed by the shape-shifters – there is no other choice for him.
A thrilling addition to the Dirk & Steele series, THE FIRE KING should not be missed.
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