Mar 6 2014 1:00pm

Long Live the King: Anticipating J.R. Ward’s The King

The Black Dagger Brotherhood series has millions of fans, seemingly a million characters, and sold millions of books worldwide. This spring, author J.R. Ward will bring her incredible world full circle in the 12th book in the series, The King. Wrath, king of the vampires, and his queen, Beth, have ruled over the wayward vampire population for eleven books. But as the first couple of the series, they had the shortest book and this is a great opportunity to go back and check in on them. So what is going to happen in The King?

First, let’s see where we left off in Lover at Last, book eleven of the BDB universe:

Qhuinn and Blay get together (FINALLY!) and Qhuinn becomes a Brother. We finally found out what happened to his brother—and Luhcas is home safe! Meanwhile, Q’s baby mama, Layla, is pregnant and in love with Xcor, the king of the Band of Bastards. Xcor is equally besotted, but Layla’s status as a Chosen (fallen or not) gives the cleft palate suffering king pause because he doesn’t feel worthy of her (aww!) Also, as the BoB have tried to assassinate Wrath and are considered traitors, Layla and Xcor are in the middle of some real Romeo and Juliet drama.

Assail, an opportunist who is fairly new to the BDB world, is chasing after Sola, basically a female version of him. She was kidnapped at the end of the book, and he plans on getting her back. (The sighs of relief heard round the world that this wouldn’t be the next book were louder than Katy Perry’s “Roar.”)

Trez, our favorite Shadow (well, the Shadow that talks), is pledged to marry the Queen’s daughter back in the Shadow world with the s’Hisbe people, but he doesn’t want to, especially when he is carrying a torch for the Chosen Selena.

Finally, we get a glimpse into Beth’s mindset as she shares some bedrest time with Layla. Beth talks about wanting a child so badly, and how Wrath is not on board with it. She hasn’t had her “needing” yet (fertility time for vampire females) but she is hoping that it will come soon. The rumor is that if a female vampire hangs around enough females who have gone into “needing” it will bring about their own, and Beth has been through Layla’s, Bella’s, and Autumn aka No’One.

What’s next for Wrath and Beth?

Last year at a Lover at Last signing, Ward announced Wrath and Beth’s book with the proclamation, “We’re going to try and have a baby!” Since then, blogs and message boards have been buzzing. Beth wants a baby, but Wrath wants Beth, and there is a significant mortality rate with pregnant females. But it seems that Beth is probably going to be going into her “needing,” and Wrath can either service her, or drug her until it’s over. What are the chances that Beth isn’t going to get her baby? Slim to none. King be damned, Wrath is putty in Beth’s hands.

This will be a crappy time to get pregnant, however. Xcor and the BoB failed in their assassination attempt, so they are using the glymera council and ancient laws to attempt to unseat Wrath and the BDB. We will definitely see more of this action. As long as we see more of the BoB, is it worth a guess that we will continue to see more stolen moments between Xcor and Layla? Absolutely. It would also be nice to see more of Throe. Another scene like the motel scene a couple books ago wouldn’t hurt at all.

Since Sola was kidnapped at the end of LaL, Assail is going to be on the hunt for her, but does that mean they will actually be in the next book? Ward is famous for starting a storyline and picking it up whenever she feels like it (For example, Qhinn’s brother had been missing for several books before he was found in LaL.) Speaking of storylines on hold, whatever happened to Muhrder? Dare we get a peek at him in The King? Probably not, but how juicy would it be to have a disgraced Brother come back on the scene as his ex (Xhex, who is a Sympath, a race anathema to vampires) is married into the royal family, when the BoB are looking to take the throne?

Finally, as we discuss The King, the irony of having so many kings around is not lost. Wrath, the proper vampire king; Xcor, the king of the Band of Bastards; Rehvenge, the king of the Sympaths; and Trez, possibly next in line for king of the s’Hisbe. (The women are the ruling force there, but we know Trez isn’t feeling his arranged marriage. Will his brother iAm pull a Phury and take his place?) Wrath and Rev are happily mated, but obviously Xcor and Trez are not. Will we see any strife in Rev’s relationship with Ehlena as he splits his time between the Sympaths and the glymera? Will all the kings face their own particular challenges in this novel?

The best thing about speculating a J.R. Ward BDB novel is that Ward herself is a wildcard. Just when you think you have her figured out, she changes the story, breaks the rules, and creates her own reality, to the delight of fans and the scorn of non-fans. No matter what happens, eager readers are guaranteed another wild ride in The King.


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For more J.R. Ward news, reviews, and s**t-kickers, head to our Black Dagger Brotherhood collection.


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Nicole Leapheart's alter ego is Miss Boxy Frown, and she posts book reviews and TV recaps at She reads and watches everything from romance to sci-fi, but enjoys it even more if some smut is involved. And tattoos.

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Felicia Smith
1. Ferishia
What I'm most interested in seeing, aside from Beth & Wrath (now that I've gotten over my disappointment that it's not Lassiter's or even Trez's book *sniffle*), is the side stories. Now that the compound is basically a "Motel 6", who else will come and live there? Will we learn more about Saxton and what will happen to him now that Blay & Qhuinn are together? Is JRW going to do another m/m story and hook him up with someone? I really like Saxton, I just didn't like him with Blay. But I do want him to find someone. My fear is that JRW will pull a "Welsie" on him. That would be tragic and I would seriously rethink continuing to read the series.

I also wonder if there will be mated couple rift, like you mentioned. V & Jane and Xhex & John all had to work out issues even after they were mated, so it wouldn't be entirely out of charter for Rehv and Ehlena to have some sort of dust up. Then there is Trez, Lassiter (WHEN IS SHE DOING LASSITER'S BOOK!!!) and yes Murhder! OMG WHY did she toss his name around in a couple of books but then nothing??!! Drives me crazy! And yet I continue to read them. lol

Should most definitely be a wild ride, but I'm SO READY!
Mare Hernandez
2. mare9548
Well that about Beth's pregnancy will be at crappy time was expected and obvious. Let be honest. Which pregnancy in BDB world has been happy & with no trouble whatsoever?
Doing a small memory exercise, we have No'One/Autumn, whom after being rape by a Sympath ended killing herself after giving birth. Then is Wellsie who was murdered even before she could see her & Tohr's baby. Next is Bella that almost die when Nalla was born, after months of wandering even if she could get to term (which she didn't) & then she had to deal with Z, not quite wanting to be father .
We can't forget Layla, that although we know now she won't have any more trouble, she almost lost the babe once, & being in love with Xcor doesn't make her situation any easier.
Surely, I'm forgetting someone. Anyway, you get the picture. Why Beth's pregnancy would have to be easy if anyone else has been hellish. A quiet pregnancy would be boring.
Just saying!
In any case, I'm dying to read the book!! March isn't passing fast enough!!
Nicole Leapheart
3. BoxyFrown
I want Sax to find an HEA too! I would have the super sadz if she killed him off. Booo! I don't think she would do that. (I know people are still mad about Wellsie, but I was never that attached to her.) I don't think JRW is going for the George RR Martin award for character slayings. She better not be. Ha! Muhrder just seems really hot. I want to know more!

Truer words were never spoken! This pregnancy will be one for the ages. I definitely see Wrath losing his shit a few times in this process, but then he wouldn't be Wrath if he didn't! I'm waiting impatiently for April 1.
Felicia Smith
4. Ferishia
I sure hope she doesn't kill off Saxton. But like the article says, JRW is a wild card. And I was somewhat attached to Welsie. I like her spit-fire, take no shiz attitude she had with Tohr. So when she kill her off, I was in shock. I still am. It was the first time that I read a book/series that the author actually killed off a somewhat main character. Maiming, crippling, yah been there. Outright killing off. Still in shock.

No doubt this pregnancy is going to be a life-or-near death thing for Wrath & Beth. There is no way it cannot be. We weren't actually witness to Bella's giving birth, but I don't think this will be the case with Beth. Also the drama train wreck that is Xcor and Layla, yah that's going to be something!
Nicole Leapheart
5. BoxyFrown
You are in good company! People are still shocked, and I think the fact that Mary and Jane were "saved" adds to those feelings.
Hilario A. Fareaux
7. Hilario A. Fareaux
I can't wait to read "The King"...sooo many loose ends in "Lover At Last" still it's my fav. brotherhood novel. I would like for "Saxton" to have his "HEA", I see him with the shadow "iAm" or one of the "BOB" wouldn't that be something?; and iAm's brother "Trez" & the chosen "Selena;" and then there is "Assail & Sola" he is not playing, he promise Sola grandmother he is going to find her, (that's what I'm talking about ummmm); and last but not least "Layla & Xcor" this beautiful and feirce chosen can bring out the goodness in him...I'm anticipating and waiting inpatiently, love U Ms. Ward.
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