I’m a tabletop gamer (mostly Pathfinder and D&D), in addition to writing, editing, developing, and publishing games, so I can’t help looking at fiction from that perspective as I read. I’ve previously read and enjoyed the witches series (The Mist-Torn Witches, Witches in Red, Witches with the Enemy, and To Kill a Kettle Witch) by Barb Hendee and Dhampir by Barb and J.C. Hendee. The setting is what I enjoy best about the books, which are all set in the same world—that of the Noble Dead (http://www.nobledead.org/)—which is a bleak, dark, medieval atmosphere where feudal lords make life tough on others, vampires feed on the average peasant in the late hours of the evening, and people fear to travel anywhere after sunset. These books, especially Dhampir and the wonderful The Dead Seekers, a new Noble Dead series, show you what it would be to live in a world like that of the long-running game world variations of Ravenloft—a world infested with the undead, most of whom rule various territories of humans.
So, that atmosphere continues to excite me with the new book focusing on ghost hunters. Yet, what I find refreshing is that the authors do not get bogged down in the world of their fiction: the world remains backdrop to character-driven stories, as I believe it should be. I happen to be one of the readers who believes the setting should not overshadow the story, and that authors absolutely do not have to spend pages and pages providing world and landscape description. If you like that in your fiction, you’ll not find it here. However, if you want intriguing stories and stimulating characters set in a dark world that posits the existence of the undead in a medieval setting, then the Hendees are absolutely your kind of authors!
In The Dead Seekers, the reader is introduced to Mari Kaleja, one of the Móndyalítko, a gypsy folk. At the age of 10, a dark being and controller of spirits killed her family in the Wicker Wood. Since then, she’s been seeking out the one called the Dead’s Man, whom she believes murdered her family with his pet spirits in the forest, to gain her revenge.
The Dead’s Man turns out to be Tris Vishal, a baronet who was born dead. Ever since he was a child, he has seen into the spirit world, and he knows he has a dark half in the spirit realm who wants to kill him and take his place. Tris has spent long years away from his baron father, having left home after his mother’s death to a strange sickness. He, instead, earns his living by legitimately ridding villages and towns of vengeful spirits.
Tris and Mari meet when she saves him from several bandits while he is on his way to remove a troubling spirit of a young girl in another village. She travels with him, seeking to be certain he is the man she seeks, and before long, she is working with him as his translator and following him where the removal of ghosts leads him. Along the way, she uncovers his secrets—and he hers, of course. They are later joined by an interesting alchemist who helped train Tris in his ghost-removing career.
I was simply enthralled by the first part of the book, which really introduces you to the characters, and the pace was fast. The book slowed some when the characters sought the spirit who had created their village ghost in a nearby city’s guard barracks. The pace relaxed because this half of the book centers more on a mystery of the identity and nature of the haunting spirit and its motivations. I eagerly followed the mystery to its conclusion, and was satisfied with the ending.
I absolutely recommend the book to those who like high fantasy with a touch of darkness to it. You won’t be disappointed.
This review copy was received for free via Net Galley. However, the reviewer will be buying a print and electronic copy for her own library.
— Reviewed by Christina
About the Book
In the New York Times bestselling Noble Dead saga, Barb and J.C. Hendee created an engrossing mix of “intrigue, epic fantasy, and horror.”* Now, they present a bold new series set in the same world, where the destinies of two hunters shaped by the shadows of their pasts are about to collide…
In the dark reaches of the eastern continent, Tris Vishal travels from village to village, using his power to put unsettled spirits to rest. He works alone, having learned that letting people close only leads to more death. Still, he finds himself accepting the help of the Móndyalítko woman who saves his life—a woman whose gifts are as much a burden as his own.
Mari Kaleja thirsted for vengeance since the night her family was taken from her. She has searched far and wide for the one she thinks responsible, known only as “The Dead’s Man.” But before she can kill him, she has to be sure. Mari hopes traveling with Tris will confirm her suspicions. But as they embark on a hunt where the living are just as dangerous as the dead, she learns the risks of keeping your enemy close…
Because it’s no longer clear who is predator and who is prey.
— Book description from Amazon.com
About the Authors
Barb and J. C. Hendee are the New York Times bestselling authors of the Novels of the Noble Dead, including The Night Voice, First and Last Sorcerer, and A Wind in the Night. Barb’s short fiction has appeared in numerous genre magazines and anthologies. She is the author of the Vampire Memories and Mist-Torn Witches series. J.C.’s poetry, nonfiction, and short fiction have also appeared in many genre magazines.
Title: The Dead Seekers
Author: Barb and J.C. Hendee
Cost: $13.99 (ebook)
Length: 332 pages
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Purchase Link: CLICK HERE