FROM THE BOOKCOVER:So Still the Night is an historical paranormal fantasy, the second book in the Shadow Guard series. Set in the waning years of the Victorian age, the novel is a high-spirited adventure and romance that I think would also make a terrific film. The story begins in the mountains of Tibet and quickly turns to London where we have Mark living on his steamship on the Thames, colourful social balls, hot air balloon excursions in Hyde Park, chases through the cobblestone streets, encounters in Big Ben’s tower, magical pools, visits to tombs, lightning storms, creepy minions called ‘toadies’ and more. The book is a visual delight.
Marcus Helios was a member of the Shadow Guard until one reckless act changed it all, bringing him to the edge of madness. His hope for salvation lies in a cryptic message contained within two cryptic scrolls he believes to be in the possession of an enigmatic beauty named Mina. And Mina is not about to hand over the scrolls' secrets to a total stranger.
But someone else has designs on the mysterious relics, and on Mark: Jack the Ripper's jilted bride. Her malevolent embrace will trap everyone within reach, and her dark plans will challenge the powers of all she is destined to destroy.
Mark is a part of the Shadow Guard (The Shadow Guards are a mysterious order of immortals tasked with intervening, as necessary, in the lives and deaths of mortals.) but has begun Transcending, a process that will end in madness and conversion to one of the dark creatures (brotoi) of the underworld Tantalus. Mark needs the secrets the scrolls contain to reverse his Transcendence. His solution – seduce Mina who he believes has the scrolls discovered by her father in Tibet. He reflects on his plan when he pays her a call -
A powerful brotoi prepared the damn River Thames with human sacrifices, in preparation for the arrival of the dark underworld lord, Tantalus. There'd never been a more valiant cause, a more noble reason, to seduce one lush, English virgin. Yes, world. And I'm just the man to do the job. His palms sweated, and his heart—he swore it skipped every other beat, an indication his emotions were tangled up in the decision more than he'd prefer. He rang the bell.This occasional levity lightens the mood at just the right moments.
Mina distrusts Mark and questions his motives but is nevertheless attracted to him. Mark’s pursuit is relentless and in that quest he falls for Mina recognizing that it isn’t just the scrolls that offer him salvation. The repartee between the duo is sharp. Mina is smart and independent and holds her own against the advances of the immortal both before and after she learns his secrets. Their relationship is hot both in and out of the bedroom.
There are lots of terrific secondary characters, especially Marks immortal assistant Leeson, twin sister Selene and Mina`s Aunt, Uncle and nieces. All play significant roles with unexpected twists and turns and impacts on the outcomes. Victorian London is also beautifully portrayed immersing you in its` rich detail and invigorating clime. The Dark Lady and her toadie minions with their brutal sacrifices imbue the tale with just the right note of darkness. Is there a HEA for Mina and Mark? You’ll have to read this to find out and you will be glad you did.
So Still the Night is like a very sexy Arthur Conan Doyle adventure and can be read as a standalone novel. Next year sees the release of Darker Than Night which will be Selene’s story. It will be on my must buy list. I also plan to grab the previous book Night falls Darkly, which I missed. A series I most definitely recommend.
Penguin Group (USA)/Signet
Shadow Guard Series: