The Lost Centurion ~ The Immortals #1

  • CenturionAuthor: Monica La Porta
  • Published: June 2014 by Monica La Porta
  • Category: Paranormal, Romance
  • four-half-stars

Marcus has sworn to avenge his wife’s death—even if it takes an eternity to hunt down the vampire who murdered her. Once a Roman Centurion, Marcus is now immortal and, for the past two thousand years, impervious to human emotions. 

Marcus was saved by Apollo, with the gift of immortality, after suffering a deadly battle wound and has been searching for the man who killed his wife for over two thousand years. Marcus’ search has brought him back to Rome and now, finally, he has a lead on the vampire, Claudius, who was seen leaving his house the night his wife, Aurelia, died. 

Everything changes for Marcus the night he rescues Diana Valente. As Marcus arrives to meet Virgil, the informant, he’s drawn into a brawl between Virgil and several other vampires. Virgil has turned a human girl into a vampling to save her life but without her consent. After Virgil is fatally wounded Marcus finds himself cast in the role of Diana’s protector. She is totally reliant on Marcus and knowing nothing of the world of vampires and immortals she struggles with the changes taking place.

The girl didn’t resist; she barely seemed aware of what was happening around her, but cried when he lifted her. She weighed nothing in his arms, and from what he could see, her body was covered in bruises. The most prominent ones were around her neck, where the vampire had tried to strangle her, but her skin was marred all the way under her blouse.

Claudius’ vampire nest is now hunting Diana, and as Marcus has forfeited the protection of the pact made between Vampires and Immortals by becoming a renegade, his life is also in danger. Claudius, who demands the return of his vampling, has no intention of giving up the chase. Marcus must choose between saving Diana or avenging his wife’s death.

The descriptions of Rome, past and present, and the places in Italy are beautifully written and paint a vivid picture; Marcus’ house, the Forum, Alexander’s villa to name a few, giving a real sense of Rome as it is and how it was. The plot winds its way along with some surprises and unexpected twists with plenty of action and romance. The relationship between Marcus and Diana evolves unpretentiously and the characters are written convincingly. And I like the different take on the vampire angle. This is a series I’ll follow.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US 

About the author

MonicaMonica La Porta is an Italian who landed in Seattle several years ago. Despite popular feelings about the Northwest weather, she finds the mist and the rain the perfect conditions to write. Being a strong advocate of universal acceptance and against violence in any form and shape, she is also glad to have landed precisely in Washington State. She is the author of The Ginecean Chronicles, a dystopian/science fiction series set on the planet Ginecea where women rule over a race of enslaved men and heterosexual love is considered a sin. She also published two other series: the futuristic love story across the universe, Elios & Gaia, narrated in two books; and the paranormal romance/urban fantasy series The Immortals set in Rome. Stop by her blog to read about her miniatures, sculptures, paintings, and her beloved beagle, Nero. Sometimes, she also posts about her writing.
Author links: www.monicalaporta.com, Twitter, The Ginecean Chronicles and The Prince’s Day Out

 

The Iron Druid Chronicles ~ the books

 

  • ID1Tricked ~ book 4
  • Author: Kevin Hearne
  • Published by Del Ray
  • Category: Urban Fantasy
  •  four-stars

Tricked picks up the story more or less straight after Hammered. Lots of gods from several pantheons are after Atticus for what happened in Asgard. Atticus decides on extreme action and fakes his own death with the help of Coyote who, of course, wants something in return. And not just a little something so again Atticus is drawn into battles he wouldn’t have chosen. Because he owes Coyote Atticus agrees to help the Navajo people. Coyote has worked things to his advantage and Atticus is obliged to fight shapeshifting skin walkers whose only thought is to kill.

Some new characters are introduced including a Navajo shaman, Frank, who proves to be a great addition to the story.  So, the mythology and culture leans more towards Native American which, again, has been thoroughly researched and is very interesting.

Lief makes a minor appearance, his creator, Zdenik is in Phoenix because Lief arranged for him to take over if he was killed or too badly injured in Asgard to continue as leader. It seems though, that Zdenik is planning to take over the territory regardless….

Thoughts

Another solid Iron Druid story, action packed with battles and fearsome creatures.  Oberon is back and so is the humorous banter. It was interesting to learn more about Atticus’ back story and I like the way the relationship is developing between Atticus and Granuaile.

I loved Lief, the friendship of sorts and conversations between him and Atticus in the first three books and hope he reappears as the Lief of old…on to book 5 to find out 🙂

  • ID2Trapped ~ book 5    
  • five-stars

Twelve years have passed since Atticus and Granuaile ‘died’ and Granuaile has finished her training and is a fully fledged druid. All Atticus has to do now is bind her to the earth. This involves intricate tattooing and communing with Lady Gaia and takes three months.

The only available place, for various reasons, is Olympus. Not the best place so needless to say it doesn’t go smoothly. The binding gets interrupted more than once because those who believed Atticus and Granuaile dead now know otherwise. They are attacked by several immortals including a vampire, Bacchants and a band of dark elves and have to fight their was round and through them all. Not to mention a battle royal with Hel and her brother, the wolf Fenris.

Finally Atticus and Granuaile find a quiet place to finish the tattooing which is very long…. and intimate. The sparks that have crackled between them from the beginning ignite good style, much to Oberon’s amused bewilderment at ’the mating habits of humans’.

Now hold on! First, you didn’t have to watch, because I specifically suggested you not do so, and second, it wasn’t grody. It was the stuff Al Green sings about.

 < It was you who told me that proverb thingie: ‘Grody is in the eye of the beholder’>

 No, Oberon, that was beauty.

Thoughts

The picture of Granuaile on the cover gives away the fact she features prominently in the story.  Now she’s a full druid and is bound to the Earth she can shape shift, her animals are brilliant, and perform magic.  She comes into her own in a big way and she and Atticus make a great team. Oberon, hilarious as ever, especially now he and Granuaile can communicate through thoughts as well.

The plot is intricate, a lot of Atticus’ past actions and enemies come back to bite him and there were almost too many gods and pantheons to keep track of. Leif returns but his relationship with Atticus is no better, Atticus believes Leif is using him for his own ends again.

The ending is a cliff hanger leaving several threads unresolved.  Straight on to book six for me then!

  • ID3Hunted ~ book 6
  • four-stars

So, carrying straight on from Trapped, Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon are under attack from Artemis and Diana because they have imprisoned Bacchus on an Island where time is frozen. The Morrigan holds the goddesses off and gives the three a head start. The consequences  are dire. Malina and her Polish coven also offer assistance in return for Atticus keeping Poland vampire free for a year.

Odin and Gaia are on their side but now Loki is on the loose and after them too, along with dark elves and vampires, and Atticus and co are trying their best to avoid Ragnarök along with everything else. Leif Helgarson puts in an appearance and he’s in scheming mode again.

Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon are looking for an Old Way through to Tír na nÓg that isn’t guarded or they must make their way to the forest of Herne the Hunter to escape the Olympians. So they trek across Europe and swim the Channel to England, as the Morrigan instructed, to find a safe portal. They’re ambushed several times along the way and Atticus has to make full use of his healing powers. You didn’t think he’d get away without injuries, did you! Some of which are spectacularly gruesome.

Thoughts

The title says it all, this chapter in Atticus, Granuaile and Oberon’s saga is all about them being hunted, by various gods and an unknown enemy in Tír na nÓg, all through Europe and beyond.  I was totally surprised with a happening in the first few pages which was quite sad. 

The characters are still developing, especially Granuaile who the Elementals have named Fierce Druid. She certainly has a novel way of despatching her enemies.

The original and creative mix up of mythology continues but more so and it was a little difficult to get my thoughts in order, there’s so much to take in. I found this a more challenging read than previous books although it didn’t detract from the enjoyment. It’s easier, I think, listening to the audio. 

The books are available at  Amazon UK and Amazon US