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Blood Bound: Mercy Thompson Series    by Patricia Briggs order for
Blood Bound
by Patricia Briggs
Order:  USA  Can
Ace, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Patricia Briggs' Blood Bound (second in the series after Moon Called) brought to mind Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake books, but I liked this series more in many ways. Its heroine, Mercy Thompson, is a down to earth mechanic, who happens to have been raised by werewolves and has befriended an ancient vampire, Stefan. She works hard to keep her business running, in between the usual escapades. She's a shapechanger - a walker who can turn into a coyote and who has mysterious abilities that vampires fear. And Mercy's encounters with the otherworldly involve less sex and more action (so far) than Anita's.

This episode starts as Stefan calls (in the middle of the night) asking Mercy to accompany him to deliver a message to a vampire who's showed up in the Tri-Cities without permission from the Mistress of the area's seethe. Mercy accompanies Stefan as a coyote, 'a witness he won't notice.' Unfortunately, said out-of-towner, Cory Littleton, turns out to be a demon-ridden sorcerer-turned-vampire, with the ability to influence Stefan's (but not Mercy's) memory after he tortures and kills a hotel employee in front of them. Understanding what he faces, Stefan bars Mercy from further involvement, but goes after Littleton himself, aided by two werewolves and another vampire.

This does not go well, with several good guys (so to speak) held by Littleton. So, of course, Mercy seeks them out, helped by Stefan's friend and fellow vampire Andre, by ghosts (she has the ability to speak to them), and by powerful fae. Adding depth to the adventure are the politics amongst werewolves, fae and vampires - the former have outed themselves but the others still hide their existence from humans and readily - and casually - kill to keep their secrets. There are also intriguing hints of potential romance for Mercy - with Stefan, with her roommate and childhood friend Samuel (a werewolf and physician) and especially with Adam, Alpha wolf and werewolf pack leader.

I found Blood Bound an engaging, gripping read, and particularly liked the series premise of interactions and conflict between powerful Old World predators and a coyote in human form, the much less powerful but canny New World trickster. I look forward to more of Mercy Thompson.

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