Tag Archives: Patricia Briggs

Briggs, Patricia: Sianim series

Map of Sianim by Michael Enzweiller

Patricia Briggs was born in 1965. Her joy in storytelling manifested itself early, and scaring her friends (including her husband Mike) was one of her funner hobbies. Patricia kept her story-telling abilities alive through college and her life in Chicago. When she and Mike moved to Montana she got the peace and quiet she needed to finally sit down and write, and she was able to publish Masques in 1993. Then Steal the Dragon followed as her next novel. After that one novel has followed the other. In the Sianim series Wolfsbane was the last one published thus far in 2010.

For best effect, the books should be read in this order: Masques, Wolfsbane, Steal The Dragon, When Demons Walk.

MASQUES (1993)

My version of Masques is the reworked one. Patricia Briggs writes a foreword warning the reader of this. Due to the years that had passed since the first edition of Masques, Briggs and her editor felt it appropriate to remove some of the traces of an author’s first attempt. The book is supposed to be full of clichés, but I’m lucky because I would not recognize a cliché if it bit me on the backside of forever.

Geoffrey ae’Magi is gaining in power and followers. Ren, the spymaster of Sianim sends Aralorn off to see about a death-threat to the magician. At the time, Aralorn felt that switching places with one of the other slaves would be a good idea. With green magic as hers, she is able to change her physical appearance. But while at a party the Archmage is holding for various dignitaries, Aralorn changes her mind. She has been placed in a cage wearing the illusion of a snowfalcon form the ae’Magi has created. But one of the visitors seems to see through the illusion. The King of Reth comes up to Aralorn asking if she is in need of help. She says no.

After the party the Archmage asks Aralorn a few questions. His magic is such that he can do the most horrendous things to people and still have them adore him. Aralorn is not sure how long she will be able to endure her stay with him. When she discovers that his plans for her include her demise, she decides to run.

With her companion Wolf and her war-horse Sheen, Aralorn decides to find a way to fight the great and beloved Archmage’s evil magic.

WOLFSBANE (2010)

Wolfsbane is a tightly-coupled sequel to Masques, and won’t make much sense by itself. Masques had not been a hit and Steal the Dragon hadn’t done all that well either. Briggs wrote Wolfsbane for her own enjoyment and left the book on her shelf. Eventually, she brushed the dust off it, and got it published.

Wolf has been missing for a few weeks and Aralorn has been dreaming dreams of his childhood. Someone seems to be looking for him in them.

Aralorn’s father has died, and Aralorn goes to attend his funeral. She has been gone from Lyon’s keep for ten years and finds it extra difficult that the circumstances are so sad. When she sees her father’s body, Aralorn discovers that Lyon is not quite dead. Instead, some kind of black magic seems to be involved.

STEAL THE DRAGON (1995)

Steal the Dragon is the second book Patricia Briggs wrote. It wasn’t a great hit at the time, but did better than Masques. It has since become more popular.

Steal the Dragon is set a little later than Wolfsbane. Geoffrey ae’Magi is already dead, but not for very long.

In Sianam Ren, the spymaster, decides to send Rialla (former slave from Darran) and Laeth (brother to an important Lord in Darran) to Lord Karsten to try to prevent another murder attempt. Both are highly motivated to do so (Rialla after some convincing) for different reasons.

When they get to Lord Karsten’s keep they play their roles as slave and master. When another attempt at Lord Karsten’s life occurs, they become worried for his safety. Then Rialla’s old master turns up at the keep and the two of them realize that they have probably stepped into a hornet’s nest. It turns out they are correct.

WHEN DEMONS WALK (1998)

When Demons Walk seems to be a while after the previous three installations in the Sianam series. Like the others, When Demons Walk is light and entertaining reading. Patricia Briggs has her own style that is apparent in all of her novels. She is a good author, the quality of her writing is solid and her characters entertaining.

Sham is an orphan from one of the take-overs of the Prophet of Altis. The Cybellians have taken over Southwood, and Sham is left to thieving. Her master (she is a magician/wizard) does not approve, but he does recognize that other venues might be more dangerous.

Sham is surprised when she meets up with the Lord of Southwood – Lord Kerim. He is more likeable than she had thought, but still one of the enemy. But when attempts are made at various people’s lives (which include killing her master and trying to kill Lord Kerim), Sham put enmity aside and gives a helping hand in finding the culprit.

Hmm. All four books in the Sianim series are interesting additions to Briggs’ archive. I liked them. Like I said, Briggs does solid work. Michael Enzweiller’s maps are a great addition to her website.


SOURCES

Briggs, Patricia: The Hurog duology

“The Five Kingdoms” by Michael Enzweiler

Patricia Briggs has written the Hurog duology. As you might have surmised from this blog she is quite a prolific writer. Her books fall into the light entertainment category. The Hurog duology’s version of the Briggsian world-creation is placed in a world reeking of the middle-ages with all of its dragons, shape-changers, magicians and various other people.

I absolutely loved the Danish covers. Wow, what a cool dragon. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an interpretation like that. And it fits with the dragon of the story. This is probably one of the better stories that Briggs has written. Ward is a wonderful character, caught in his own trap, yet never quite giving up hope.

DRAGON BONES (2002)

Danish cover by Bent Holm

Dragon Bones is a stand-alone novel. Its main character is Ward, heir to Hurog. What you need to know about Ward is that his dad was, to put it mildly, a monster. Child-, spouse and animal-abuse were his main hobbies. Until he had managed to damage Ward enough to affect his thinking, he saw Ward as his rival. So when he dies at the beginning of the book, it would be fair to say that Ward did not feel like grieving.

Unfortunately for Ward, the damage done to him had enabled him to pretend to be quite dense. Undoing other people’s perception of himself turns out to be more difficult than Ward would like. Discovering a damsel in distress and the secret of Hurog both play a part in enabling Ward to figure out how to show himself as someone to be trusted. This brings the king’s attention to the Hurog family, driven by his paranoia of the world being against him.

Ward comes across as a believable character. He clearly struggles with the long-term effects of his childhood. But in learning about Hurog’s very secret secret and some truths about the people around him, Ward manages to feel less alone in his struggles. One of the first things Ward must do in getting people to take him seriously is to prove himself a warrior, taking him and a small group accross the kingdom.

The story is told in first-person, through the eyes of Ward. This is part of what makes Ward such a real person, but it also shows us the world around him through his experiences. The people around him are clearly filtered through the life of Ward, making us care more for him and for the people around him. Dragon Bones is quite an enjoyable introduction to the world of Ward of Hurog.

DRAGON BLOOD (2002)

Danish cover by Bent Holm

While Dragon Bones is a stand-alone story,  Dragon Blood depends on the reader having some knowledge of the world. It continues the story of Ward, and in this case Tisala the rebel, and love of Ward. Neither book is a romance, something I quite enjoy. I’m weird like that. For some reason I both dislike romance in books and yet really enjoy it at times. Romance done the Hurog way is great.

The beginning of Dragon Blood is quite brutal. We come upon Tisala while she is being tortured for information about the rebellion that has been realized in the wake of Ward’s exploits in Dragon Bones. She escapes and runs to Hurog. This implicates Ward in the mind of the king and the king demands that Ward be committed for mental illness. All of this comes on top of Ward having to prove himself politically able to his little kingdom. One might say that Ward’s life has a bit more excitement than is good for a person’s health.

Hurog means dragon, and dragons are showing up on the door-steps of the kingdom once more. Dragons have played an important part in the whole kingdom’s past history, not only Hurog’s. Thankfully neither book is very graphic, enabling them to be read by a younger audience (not too young). Neither violence nor romance is explicit. Upon finishing the Hurog duology, I was left with a sense of wanting more.


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p>Dragon Bones and Dragon Blood are available as audiobook.

Briggs, Patricia: Raven duology

“Traveller’s Orders” by Robin Walker

RAVEN’S SHADOW (2004)

Prejudice and fear seem to be recurring themes in Patricia Brigg’s novels. Raven’s Shadow is no exception. In this instance, the Travellers are the persecuted people. We see instances of this today. In general there seems to be a lack of trust towards people who do not stay in one place and become part of the community. It makes it a whole lot easier to blame them for something, as our links to them won’t be a strong as they would be towards a neighbor. Such is the world of Travellers in Briggs Raven duology.

Tier and Seraph are our two main protagonists in Raven’s Shadow. We meet Tier as he is on his way home from the war. Tier is a rebel. His father was a baker and the expectation was that Tier would take over the craft. But Tier wanted to see the world and did that. Unfortunately, he also ended up disillusioned about the state of the world.

As he enters a village he see a large bon-fire in the town square. A Traveller was burned suspected of using magic. Inside the town’s inn the citizens have joined in drinking to their “brave deed”. Left behind is a young woman. The innkeeper has decided to sell the girl to the highest bidder. Tier ends up buying her, Seraph a Raven traveller who has no reason to trust Tier. This is the beginning of the journey of Seraph and Tier, a journey fraught with danger and betrayal – you know the spiel. I liked both Raven’s Shadow and Raven’s Strike. While not complicated, they are easy to read.

Raven`s Strike

“Traveller’s map” by Michael Enzweiler

RAVEN’S STRIKE (2005)

Tier has been rescued and the family is taking it easy on the way home from the Capitol after the run-in with the wizards. Part of the way, they have chosen to travel with Benoin and his tribe. On the way they come to a village where a shadow creature has killed some of the villagers. The creature is taken care of, but the family soon realises that it is just a symptom of what is happening in the land.

At the same time, Tier seems to be having trouble recovering his magic. It seems to be fraying and drawn away from him. Seraph cannot figure out what the problem is, but slowly the family is being led to the ancient city of Collosae – the city where the Travellers came from.

Raven’s Strike gives us more background information on the Travellers and their roots. This background information turns out to be vital to Tier’s ability to solve the puzzle. The romance between Jes and Hennea takes up a bit of space.

Raven’s Strike tied up a few loose ends and was a good follow-up to Raven’s Shadow. They are both typical examples of Brigg’s writing: light, fun and accessible.

Briggs, Patricia: The Hob (2001)

We humans are a fearful lot. If anything or anyone differs from the accepted norm, most of us will find some way to avoid that thing or person. Sometimes we’ll use the opportunity to bully and taunt the person exhibiting “strangeness”. The Hob’s Bargain illustrates this ability to pretend that we know how the world should be, even if that means hurting someone we love.

Aren’s (our protagonist) family is not excepted from this. They have an hereditary clairvoyant ability that sometimes expresses itself in a more magical one. That makes them fodder for the blood magicians – who feed on death. Aren’s brother was wanted as a magician by those in power, but he did not want to consequences of such a choice. Rather than have his death be used by the blood magicians, he chose to suicide.

You can imagine this has affected Aren. It seems she is beginning to experience visions, making her worry about her new husband. When the cottage is broken into, she manages to hide in the food cellar, but Aren knows something is terribly wrong.

While hiding in the cellar, Aren suddenly feels a change in the way magic feels. Something has broken, but she has no idea what – being too busy surviving, and all. From that point on Aren’s visions are clearer and the first one concerns the death of her father and husband. Turns out her whole family is gone. Now Aren has to deal with her grief, her out-of-control magic and the changes in the land and her neighbors.

Briggs, Patricia: Alpha and Omega series

Patricia Briggs books fall into the light-reading fantasy section. Her books are fun and easy to read. In the Alpha and Omega novels we meet werewolves and witches, vampires and fae, all capable of wickedness and heroic deeds. As usual in such tales the characters tend to survive the most amazing things. There is plenty of humor, some romance and lots of action in this series. The Alpha and Omega series has been set in the same world as the Mercy Thompson series.

Bran – the leader of the werewolves (Marrock) in the US lives in the hills of Montana. He has two sons, Samuel and Charles. We’ve met Samuel already in the Mercy Thompson books, although he does make a brief appearance in his function as a doctor. Charles is Bran’s other son. He has been born a werewolf, not something that should be possible. Charles is Bran’s assassin. If a werewolf steps out of order, it is his job to take care of the problem. His ability to remain cool and collected while killing is one of the main reasons for having such a job.

CRY WOLF (2008)

“Cover for omnibus” by Lindsey Look (Stunning cover)

Anna, Charles’ mate (to her surprise), has been living with a pack in Chicago. The other werewolves had been abusing her severely. When that came to the attention of Bran, Charles was sent to take care of the matter. That led to Charles and Anna’s wolves recognizing each other as mates. Anna is brought to Bran’s pack to live with them.

Walter Rice, a Vietnam veteran, lives up in the Cabinet Wilderness in Montana. One day he witnesses the attack on a young man and steps in to protect him. Rice ends up being mauled, but survives. When other mysterious deaths occur in the area a rogue werewolf is suspected and Charles is asked to look into it. He and Anna go.

HUNTING GROUND (2009) – Nominee for the Endeavour Award – for best book by a Pacific Northwest writer 2010

Cover by Dan Dos Santos

Charles is trying to convince his father to stay away from a convention of werewolves in Seattle. He feels his father will be in unnecessary danger from the European delegation. Charles’ intuition is acting up. Being an Omega, Anna is able to stand up to Bran without his Alpha influence taking over. After she has yelled at Bran, he is able to listen to what the two have to say.

Bran accepts Charles’ feelings and sends Charles and Anna instead as his representatives. Together they are to try to convince the other delegates of the need to go public. The other delegates aren’t exactly thrilled at the idea of going public. Here we see that the timeline is a bit back in time from the Mercy Thompson series. There the decision to go public has already been made and Adam is the werewolves’ outward face.

In Seattle people are being found dead and mauled. When Anna is attacked by vampires using werewolf tricks and magic, Charles has to figure out how to save the situation without getting killed by former lovers and new enemies.

FAIR GAME (2012)

Young Leslie has moved to California with her father. There she ends up in the capable hands of Mrs. Cullinan. When animals and children start disappearing (even Leslie’s new puppy) three people turn up at the neighbors and take her away. The neighbor and the three new people turn out to be fae. When one of them offers Mrs. Cullinan a favor as thanks for her warning, she says no thanks. Instead Leslie ends up being the one owed. But having learned that the fae were powerful and charming and that they ate children and puppies, Leslie was not eager to cash in her favor.

Fair Game is set a while after Hunting Ground but shortly after River Marked. Charles is struggling in his capacity as an assassin and Anna seems the only one capable of seeing it. She keeps on confronting Bran about it, and only Omeganess keeps her from shaking in her shoes. Because of the new rules, Charles no longer feels he is dispensing justice but rather murder and this is causing ghosts to haunt him.

When the FBI call the Marrock for help in solving a spree of murders, Bran chooses to send Charles and Anna to take a look. Anna gets to play good guy and Charles her bodyguard. In Boston Anna meets Leslie and they get to test each other’s intentions.


Alpha and Omega: Cry Wolf Graphic Novels published 2012 by Dynamite. Adapted by David Lawrence,  illustrated by Todd Herman with additional art by Jenny Frison and a cover by Dan Dos Santos.

Briggs, Patricia: Moon Called (Mercy Thompson I) (2006)

Moon Called - The last full moon of october

This is the image that I feels illustrates Moon Called best and it shows Mercy (Mercedes) as I had imagined her from the words Patricia Briggs has written about her in Moon Called.

I am a fan of Ms. Briggs’ writing. My adventure with her began with the Hurog saga. Then it sort of developed into a full-fledged love affair and here I am writing about yet another series of hers.

Poor little teen-ager Mac/Alan. Little had he thought about the possibility of werewolves being real. Then all of a sudden he was mauled and changed into one by nefarious people. The Marrok (Bran) calls this rape. To make matters worse, Mac was experimented on and kept in a cage. One day he manages to escape and turns up at Mercedes’ garage (auto-shop). She is a softie and takes him under her wings, eventually introducing him to the Alpha of the Tri-Cities area, Adam Hauptman.

Map created by Michael Enzweiler
Map created by Michael Enzweiler

Adam and Mercy will according to all the foreshadowing become a couple. Mercy and Adam are very alike, yet incredibly different. She is a shape-shifting coyote, he is the alpha werewolf of the Tri-Cities area. If the two of them decide to become mates, his pack will have to accept Mercy as his second. At least one of the members of the pack seems to have done so already, Warren.

Warren is a sweet-heart. He is a gay were-wolf with an open lifestyle. Meeting Mercy changed his life for the better. For once he met another predator who did not care what gender he loved. Then she introduced him to Adam and Adam accepted him as well. That did not mean that the rest of the pack managed to embrace him as one of their own, but that is the way of the world. We all have different prejudices. Some are more vocal and open about them than others. Sadly, getting to love the person you love is not something we all get to experience.

Just now it really struck me. What if I refused to accept a person because of who they loved? How would that change me and the person I met like that? It is a concept I find terribly confusing.  It would be like me refusing to accept a person because of the color of their skin or hair or eyes. Being on the receiving end of such prejudice must hurt terribly.

Mercy is the kind of person that opens up her heart to a great variety of people. Vampire, werewolf, fae or human matters not. If the other person seems to be decent, then there is room for them in Mercy’s life. Her attitude does create problems when some of her friends meet others of her friends, but Mercy just expects them to be polite to each other no matter how much they might despise each other (vampires vs. werewolves comes to mind). And people often do what Mercy expects. For reasons they do not always understand themselves, Mercy is definitely a person they want to have in their lives. What a gift, and possibly, what a curse.

Her being a mechanic is a bonus for me. As a kid I wanted to be a lot of things and mechanic was one of them. There is something satisfying about being able to take things apart. Sadly, I stink at putting them back together again. Then there is the goo. Goo is the loveliest thing on earth. Mercy gets to fix cars and is a whole lot better at putting them back together again than I am. My “niece” is a mechanic. Even here in Norway it is still unusual for a girl to choose such a career. I absolutely love that my “niece” chose such a line of work. So the idea of a mechanic that happens to be a woman is an added attraction for me.

Just so you know. One of Patricia Briggs series also begins at the time of Moon Called. When Bran sends Charles off to deal with a problem in Chicago the series Alpha and Omega starts.


Amazon Kindle


Reviews:


Moon Called as cartoon:

SKU: C1606902032
Rating: Teen +
Cover: Amelia Woo
Writer: Patricia Briggs, David Lawrence
Penciller/Inker/Colorist: Amelia Woo (digitally painted)
Genre: URBAN FANTASY
Publication Date: March 2011
Format: Comic Book Collection
Page Count: 104+

ISBN-10: 1-60690-203-2
ISBN-13: 978-1-60690-203-5

Just because I like pointing out the obvious. Do the images below remind you of anything? Anything at all??

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