Gallery / January 7, 2014 / $16.00 print, $11.66 digital
Alma Katsu’s acclaimed supernatural trilogy that began with The Taker and sparked a chase around the world in The Reckoning—comes to a stunning conclusion, and brings Lanore McIlvrae to a final encounter with Adair, her powerful nemesis. Dismayed by Adair’s otherworldly powers and afraid of his passionate temper, Lanore has run from him across time, even imprisoning him behind a wall for two centuries to save Jonathan, her eternal love. But instead of punishing her for her betrayal, Adair declared his love for Lanore once more and set her free.
Now, Lanore has tracked Adair to his mystical island home to ask for one last favor. The Queen of the Underworld is keeping Jonathan as her consort, and Lanore wants Adair to send her to the hereafter so that she may beg for his release. Will she honor her promise to return to Adair? Or is her true intention to be reunited with Jonathan at any cost?
From the start of Alma Katsu's truly epic Taker trilogy, it’s clear that Lanore is a complicated, morally ambiguous heroine. One of the things that make these books so compelling is that it’s impossible to predict where Lanny’s heart—or body—will lead her. This continues to hold true in the third and final book in the series.
Lanore knows how to get men to do what she wants, and she has no hesitation in asking them to do her bidding, no matter how unlikely an ally they might be. By the end of book one, no one would imagine that she would ever seek out her predatory, brutal former lover and captor Adair for any reason. But here, she needs his help:
“I sought out Adair now after four years apart only because I’d been seized by an idea that I wanted to put into action, and I needed his help to make it work. I had no notion, however, if he still cared for me enough to help me, or if his love had dried up when it went unreciprocated.”
It’s a more understandable dilemma when it become clear that Jonathan is at the center of it—Jonathan, the object of her tormented, unrequited devotion. Her love for Jonathan has always brought out her most questionable behavior, and even now she can’t avoid the feeling that she is acting on behalf of the one man who has done nothing for her while she did not “save” Luke, the man who risked his own life for her:
“Here I was at Adair’s house not for Luke’s sake, not to beg Adair’s favor so that Luke could spend eternity with me, but to ask him to help Jonathan, a man who was dead and gone and surely beyond our help. And I did not want to ask myself why.”
Of course, as readers, that’s exactly the type of question that drives us to follow Lanore through three books and many centuries. While Lanore makes plenty of questionable decisions, and has some fierce and sometimes corrupt desires, we can’t help but empathize with her. Lanore, with her eternal life, will never have a happily ever after, because there is no ending for her. As a result,
“My emotional well had run dry and, for the last stretch, I had lived alone.”
So it’s hard to blame her when she considers taking refuge in Adair’s bed. Lanny has always been a sexual being, and the centuries have done nothing to dull her appetite—or her memory:
“And what waited for me in his bed but days and nights of stupendous sex? Sex so pure and powerful that it would keep me focused on the moment, on the physical pleasure of the body, and free me from my overburdened mind. More than any man I’d ever known, Adair had the ability to turn sex into both a physical and spiritual act.”
When Lanny gets her wish and is sent to the underworld to save Jonathan, her quest itself is surprisingly spiritual. She is forced to reckon with people and places from past—and her own passions and sins. When she encounters an old friend from her earliest days with Adair, he says,
“Attraction is a very curious thing, you know. We’re rarely attracted for the reasons we think; it’s the subconscious at work.”
Lanore’s journey up until this point has been triangulated by three men: Jonathan, the object of excruciating love and desire, Adair, a fearsome villain turned lover, and Luke, dependable and steady savior of her darkest hour. Lanore feels guilt, like she has a fickle heart—especially when it came to Luke:
That was how I’d betrayed Luke—in my desire for Adair. It wasn’t so uncommon, was it? Living with one man while your mind is on another? Being unable to stop thinking of this other man who, for one reason or another, was not the one sitting beside you.”
In the end, all she wants is the knowledge that the man beside her is the right one, the enduring one, her mate to love in way that is as real and vulnerable as the human condition.
This is ultimately what makes Lanore such a compelling heroine, and what makes this series so indelible: While her journey is set in an extraordinary world, her need to love and be loved is fundamental. Her passions are our passions, her weaknesses are our weaknesses, and her quest for a perfect love is every woman’s quest for a satisfied heart.
Learn more or order a copy of The Descent by Alma Katsu, available January 7, 2014:
Jamie Brenner is the author of the 1920s novel The Gin Lovers (St. Martin’s Press). Her latest release, writing under the name Logan Belle, is Now or Never (A Last Chance Romance). She is the author of the erotic romancesMiss Chatterley, The Librarian (Pocket Star/Simon & Schuster) and the trilogy Blue Angel (Kensington.) For more please visit www.jamiebrenner.com or follow her @jamieLbrenner.