Barb and J.C. Hendee
Series or Stand Alone: Noble Dead series, Book one
Release Date: January 2003
Book Site: http://www.nobledead.com/
My Rating: 4.5/5
Synopsis [from penguin.com]:
She hunts the realm’s most dangerous game.
Her fees are exorbitant.
She’s worth every coin she receives.
Or is she?
Magiere has earned a reputation as the most formidable vampire slayer in the land. Villagers far and wide welcome her with both awe and disdain—grateful to her for ridding their towns of the undead menace, but finding themselves made poorer for their salvation. Magiere knows she’s dealing with simple folk, who only wish to have their superstitions silenced, and sees nothing wrong with exploiting them for profit.
Now, tired of the game, Magiere and her partner, the half-elf Leesil, are ready to hang up their weapons and settle down in a place they can finally call home. But their new found peace will not last—for Magiere has come to the attention of a trio of powerful and dangerous vampires who know her true identity—and fear the birthright that flows through her veins. And they will stop at nothing to keep Magiere from fulfilling her destiny.
I can't recall why I picked up this book. I think the cover drew my attention and the synopsis was good enough to get me to want to read it. I wasn't disappointed with the story or the characters. This "traditional" dark fantasy offers a unique world involving creatures that most of us know and love without bogging the reader down with unknown terms or complicated maps.
The protagonists of the story are Magiere (still working on the pronunciation) ,her half-elf partner Leesil, and their hound companion Chap. The nomadic duo are nothing more than charlatans (<---got that one from the book =] ), or hustlers, that go around swindling villagers of their money. Magiere is a hunter of the undead and for a pretty hefty fee she will rid any village of their vampire problem. She uses fancy powder and some serious fighting skills to kill the undead who is conveniently played by Leesil, hence the reason she always defeats her foe and always receives the payment for it.
But Magiere is tired of the life she lives, she wants nothing more than to retire and live a much more simpler life as a tavern keeper. After some heavy convincing Leesil reluctantly agrees to quit the life he has grown so accustomed to. However, Magiere's reputation has exceeded her and has traveled all over. To make matters worse, the town that they end up settling in has a group of very real vampires. DHAMPIR goes on to reveal that Magiere truly is a vampire hunter called a dhampir who is half-vampire, half-human. She possesses innate abilities and skills specific to killing the undead but of course they are most unwelcome.
I believe I liked the characters the most. I came to sympathize with the vampires themselves and connected extremely well with Magiere and Leesil. Some background information on their past is revealed but I'm sure the meat of their past is saved for future books in the series. I'm about 2/3 into book two and really enjoying it. I'll definitley be riding this one until the end.