Shifting Shadows (Stories from the World of Mercy Thompson)
Penguin / September 2, 2014 / $26.95 print, $12.99 digital
Mercy Thompson’s world just got a whole lot bigger…
A collection of all-new and previously published short stories featuring Mercy Thompson, “one of the best heroines in the urban fantasy genre today” (Fiction Vixen Book Reviews), and the characters she calls friends…
One of the stories in Patricia Briggs's new Mercy Thompson collection, “Silver,” takes place long before Moon Called, and it's the story of Ariana and Samuel’s first meeting, the first half of the story that continues in Silver Borne. It tells the very difficult background of Bran and Samuel and how they came to be how they are now. Silver is a painful story because the reader is given a glimpse into Bran’s story before he was the all-powerful Marrok. It is a little humbling to find him down and hurting.
Samuel’s story is just as hard, as he starts off the journey grieving for the loss of his wife and child. From there, he and his father are taken by his grandmother and forced to provide her with sustenance in the form of their lives. Eventually they manage to break away from the witch and Ariana enters the picture. As we know, though, things do not go as they should and the couple parts on unhappy terms. Silver is not a happy tale but one that is written so we would know more about the history of Bran and Samuel.
“Fairy Gifts,” also before Moon Called, is a story about Butte, Montana, Briggs's hometown. Thomas is a Chinese vampire making his way in the old tunnel mines in the town of Butte. Early in his life he runs across a woman who is able to give him everything he wants, including his Master's death and freedom from being a slave to blood and sunlight.
Eighty years later he is called back to Butte by some sort of magic to be asked to find that same woman again. A group of strangers asking for help come across as doing the right thing but they are really looking to harm the woman. Thomas is only too happy to find the woman and repay the gift she gave him so many years ago. Freedom.
Another tale before Moon Called, “Gray,” takes place in Chicago around Valentine’s Day. Elyna is a turned vampire who killed her husband in a fit of bloodlust. She has bought their old home hoping his ghost still remains there so she can be with him. Elyna pays a group of cops a large amount of money to help her fix the place up all while trying to stay out of the notice of the Master vampire holding the territory. This is Elyna’s tale of finding her true love again.
“Seeing Eye” occurs about a year before Moon Called; Moira is a good witch who makes an appearance in Hunting Ground. Tom is the werewolf who shows up at her door asking for help because his brother is being held by a local coven. As good witches are few and far between these two have a story that needs to be told. Seeing Eye is a small glimpse into the couple and Briggs has said she will “write more about Tom and Moira eventually.“
”The Star of David“ features a werewolf who appeared in Moon Called but did not have a large role. He is a fellow Army Ranger of Adam’s and has a tragic past. Not knowing he was a werewolf, he returned home from war and killed his wife and her lover which caused a terrible break in his relationship with his children. Here David is given a second chance and helps his daughter save a child from vampires.
”Roses in Winter“ takes place between Bone Crossed and Silver Borne. Fan favorite Kara is a child who was brought up in Blood Bound. Her father asked Mercy for help and Kara was sent to live with the Marrok’s pack. Kara is one of the youngest children to survive the original change to werewolf but once changed, she is not able to force herself back to human.
Kara finds refuge with Asil, a lone Alpha wolf waiting for death, and takes comfort in his presence. The short story is a good one with its tale of acceptance and comfort.
”In Red, With Pearls“ takes place between Silver Borne and River Marked. Another set of fan favorites, Warren and Kyle, are featured in this short story. Warren is a werewolf and he is gay. He has suffered through many, many years of hardship because of who he is but has finally found someone in Kyle he can trust. Warren is also a very dominant wolf and he needs a place high up in the hierarchy of a pack.
”In Red, With Pearls“ allows Warren to work with Kyle. Kyle is a divorce attorney, but he has a bit of zombie problem. He is attacked in his office and Warren calls Elizaveta, the witch on the Columbia Basin’s payroll, in to help. Warren is the one to investigate and hand out justice to the person responsible for trying to harm his mate.
”Redemption“ is set between Frost Burned and Night Broken. Its lead, Ben, is an interesting character in the Mercy Thompson world, and is both aggressive and temperamental. This story is a day in the life of Ben and how he learns to be a werewolf. The reader is able to see Ben’s progression of dominance. There is a lot of humor thrown in as Ben has a bet with Adam that he cannot stop swearing.
”Hollow" takes place after the events in Night Broken and details the fallout of certain events that happened in Night Broken. As Mercy deals with what to do with her broken, beloved garage she is asked to get rid of a ghost. Mercy manages to get injured and cause Adam grief in only a handful of pages.
There are also two outtakes at the end of the book; one is from Silver Borne, which is a happy scene for Samuel and Ariana. The second outtake is from Night Broken and focuses on Adam’s reaction to Mercy being hurt and almost dying.
The Shifting Shadows anthology is an excellent way to pass the time until the next full-length Patricia Briggs novel is released.
Learn more or pre-order a copy of Shifting Shadows by Patricia Briggs, available September 2, 2014: