Iron and Magic by Ilona Andrews
Series: The Iron Covenant #1, Kate Daniels #9.5
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts, Magic Binds, Magic Bites, Magic Strikes, Magic Triumphs, Magic Bites, Magic Bleeds
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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No day is ordinary in a world where Technology and Magic compete for supremacy…But no matter which force is winning, in the apocalypse, a sword will always work.
Hugh d’Ambray, Preceptor of the Iron Dogs, Warlord of the Builder of Towers, served only one man. Now his immortal, nearly omnipotent master has cast him aside. Hugh is a shadow of the warrior he was, but when he learns that the Iron Dogs, soldiers who would follow him anywhere, are being hunted down and murdered, he must make a choice: to fade away or to be the leader he was born to be. Hugh knows he must carve a new place for himself and his people, but they have no money, no shelter, and no food, and the necromancers are coming. Fast.
Elara Harper is a creature who should not exist. Her enemies call her Abomination; her people call her White Lady. Tasked with their protection, she's trapped between the magical heavyweights about to collide and plunge the state of Kentucky into a war that humans have no power to stop. Desperate to shield her people and their simple way of life, she would accept help from the devil himself—and Hugh d’Ambray might qualify.
Hugh needs a base, Elara needs soldiers. Both are infamous for betraying their allies, so how can they create a believable alliance to meet the challenge of their enemies?
As the prophet says: “It is better to marry than to burn.”
Hugh and Elara may do both.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Hugh. He was a villain in Kate’s world. Yet I could never hate him. Still, not hating a bad guy vs wanting him to get a happy ending? I’m happy to report it really worked. Not that I’m surprised. Andrews always pulls me in.
Hugh has been cast off from Roland after he failed to deliver Kate. He spends a few months wallowing in self-pity and trying to numb the pain of the giant void inside himself where Roland’s magic used to be with alcohol, until his Iron Dogs catch up with him and force him to see what’s been happening to them. They’re being hunted down and exterminated by Landon Nez, Roland’s Legatus of the Golden Legion. They used to be 1200 strong. Now they’re down to 400+.
With no money and no way to earn a living, Hugh accepts a mad bargain – in exchange for their protection, the White Warlock and her people will house and shelter them. Because neither side is really trustworthy, they agree to marry to seal the deal. Marriage to a harpy of a woman isn’t what Hugh ever envisioned for his future, but it isn’t long before he realizes there’s more to Elara than he previously thought. When their bonds of loyalty are tested, they’ll have to decide what’s important.
Hugh really is an anti-hero. He’s a right bastard, sure, but he also has heart and his soul bleeds. Elara is a monster, the same as her husband. She didn’t want the marriage any more than he did. But she can’t deny there’s something very compelling about the Preceptor of the Order of the Iron Dogs. As they come to know each other and learn to rely on one another, I found myself swept up in their story and the fight they find themselves in to protect their territory. I really hope the series continues. I’d love to see more from them.
I think to truly understand Hugh and why he’s so adrift, reading the Kate Daniels series first is a must. However, this an stand on its own if you haven’t read that series.
4.25 out of 5