Between the living and the dead is the Order of the Deacons, protectors of the Empire, guardians against possession, sentinels enlisted to ward off the malevolent haunting of the geists...Geists have been plaguing humanity but humans have their champions against this infestation. Deacons, one active (who actively engage the geists) and one sensitive (who enhance and gather information through their senses) work together to fight the geists and send them back to the otherworld. Sorcha, a powerful active deacon, and Merrick, a powerful sensitive, are paired to help out the citizen's of Ulrich who have an unusual distrust of deacons. They are joined by Raed an ousted former prince who lives with a curse deeply connected to the geists. These three find themselves within a conspiracy that may shake everything they believe.
Among the most powerful of the Order is Sorcha, now thrust into partnership with the novice Deacon, Merrick Chambers. They have been dispatched to the isolated village of Ulrich to aide the Priory with a surge of violent geist activity. With them is Raed Rossin, Pretender to the throne that Sorcha is sworn to protect, and bearer of a terrible curse.
But what greets them in the strange settlement is something far more predatory and more horrifying than any mere haunting. And as she uncovers a tradition of twisted rituals passed down through the dark reaches of history, Sorcha will be forced to reconsider everything she thinks she knows.
And if she makes it out of Ulrich alive, what in Hell is she returning to?
You are thrown immediately into a riot at the beginning of the story so I admit it took me a minute to really get into things. Having to sort out who did what and who was who. After that minute, however, I was absorbed into this world and the relationships of the characters. Sorcha could be a hard character to connect to as she is all angles and no soft edges, but as we get into her mind, we find some of those soft edges to connect us. Merrick, who is both in awe of Sorcha and irritated with her, also takes a bit to connect to but in the end we are rooting for him and feel that he is a trusted friend. So, yes, I enjoyed the growth of the characters and the interesting world in which this book resides.
As for the mystery and what that holds for this world... you should know by now I will not spill a thing. So, I will add a... *evil laugh* to any curiosity you may have now. I will also give this book 4 stars. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good adventure, fantasy, a smidgen of steampunk, and a bit of romance. You will enjoy this book.
I received this book from the author and no compensation was given.