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Bitter Night: A Horngate Witches Book Mass Market Paperback – October 27, 2009

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Bitter Night: A Horngate Witches Book + Crimson Wind (Horngate Witches Books) + Blood Winter (Horngate Witches Books)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Francis (Path of Fate) begins her high-energy, gritty new Horngate Witches series by introducing Max, a magical warrior forced to serve her ex-roommate, witch-bitch Giselle. When the ancient Guardians of Earth decide to destroy the mortal world and recover its magic, Max discovers that she has been prophesied to save both her coven home and all humanity, and she must put aside her anger at her servitude to soothe coven rivalries and lead her fellow Shadowblades against powers much bigger than themselves. Emotions run mercurial, flashy and unsubtle throughout, and Max's near-invulnerability, self-healing and possession of an unrestricted wishstone make her more of a superhero than a woman dealing with real internal conflicts. The tough, feel-good, grand-scale supernatural fights, however, will keep action fans coming back for book after book. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


"Ms. Francis sends urban fantasy on its head in this fast-paced, dynamic story. Loved it, could not put it down. Unusual and terrific."
—Patricia Briggs, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Hunting Ground

Product Details

  • Series: Horngate Witches
  • Mass Market Paperback: 387 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Books; Original edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416598146
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416598145
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.2 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #992,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diana Pharaoh Francis has written several fantasy series. The Path trilogy, which includes Path of Fate (nominated for the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award), Path of Honor and Path of Blood, is epic fantasy. She has also written the Crosspointe Chronicles, including The Cipher, The Black Ship, The Turning Tide, and The Hollow Crown. She also writes The Horngate Witches series, Bitter Night (nominated for the RT Best Urban Fantasy 2010), Crimson Wind (Nominated for the RT best Urban Fantasy Heroine, 2011), and Shadow City (a Top Pick at RT), and Blood Winter. Her latest book is Trace of Magic, a Diamond City Magic novel, which also earned an RT top pick. For a lot more information including a printable book list, maps of her worlds, updated news, and other odd and fun tidbits, go to You can also find her on facebook at and on twitter at @dianapfrancis.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like my favorite urban fantasy author Patricia Briggs (who just happened to have blurbed for this book), Diana Pharaoh Francis has a background as an established fantasy writer, and that background is certainly evident in Bitter Night.

"Max's phone rang. It was set to a high-pitched tone that most humans couldn't hear. But being human hadn't been Max's problem since 1979." -Bitter Night

First up, the good: Diana's fantasy background was a strength that she fully utilized in created the world of the Horngate Witches. Witches hold amazing power in Bitter Night. Shadowblades and Sunspears are human servants magically enhanced with superhuman abilities and senses. They are not that dissimilar from vampires: they can heal from most wounds, never grow old, and the sun (or moon depending on whether they are Sunspears or Shadowblades) is deadly to them. They even struggle with enlarged appetites (try 40 Big Macs at once).

Max (she adopted the name from the Mel Gibson character in The Road Warrior movies, though I think she is much more like Riggs from Lethal Weapon) is the Prime Shadowblade for the witch Giselle. Enslaved by the witch that made her, compelled to lay down her very life if necessary in order to keep Giselle safe, Max is not the grateful servant she's expected to be. Rather she is consumed with one thought: Revenge. It is the one hope that keeps her from walking out in to the sunlight that would kill her. When forces greater than even the witches threaten everything that Max has come to care about, she must learn to ally with her enemy and accept the role she must play as savior.

The cover art is what first attracted me to this book. And I love that Max is actually described like the cover depicts her.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Debbie's World of Books on November 7, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading the first chapter or two I had my doubts about this book but about 50 pages in and I was hooked. The cast of characters was wonderful and I can't think of a single one I did not like. Even the villains played their roles brilliantly so you can't help but appreciate the way they were developed. Max is a warrior with a chip on her shoulder that you sometimes wonder if she will cut off her nose to spite her face and yet you cannot help but feel sympathy for her role in life. Eventually though you also begin to see Giselle's point of view and why she did what she did. Does that make you like her more as a person? I don't know but at least you can understand her. Giselle and Max have a complex relationship that I can't wait to see how it develops in the next book. As for Alexander, he is your typical hot and sexy guy that Max feels instant chemistry with. He did not grab me as much as Max or some of the other characters in the book but he was still enjoyable.

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book for being book 1 in a series. Usually I find the first book in series somewhat boring as there is a lot of set up and character building going on. So I was gladly surprised by this book. The only draw backs for me were a few times where things were just too unbelievable. For someone who was supposed to be a great warrior I was not impressed at some points with Alexander's warrior prowess, I also found it hard to believe at one point that they would linger and take a shower while in an enemy's stronghold, etc. Things like that bugged me but overall a wonderful book.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 27, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
NO SPOILERS or plot summaries.

HIGH LEVEL: YES! Just that. YES! Yes, you should read this. Yes, you will like it. It was a seriously great read. Fast paced, high stakes, rich magical world with vivid, down to earth characters. I honestly wasn't sure after reading the first couple pages, but a few more pages in and I was HOOKED.

MYTHOS & STYLE: This is more of an Urban Fantasy than a romance, though there is a stronger element of romance than in many UFs. It was something of a blend of the two- a well-crafted blend. The magical world was cleverly written and diverse, ranging from witches to angels to hags. This could be considered a unique take on vampires- the Shadowblades and Sunspears. It was all very clever. Story is told from two perspectives- the female and male leads, which is interesting specifically because it isn't a true para-romance. It worked VERY well. The violence was fast and bloody and devastating. Not a faint hearted book.

CHARACTERS: Max, our heroine, is a strong lead. She makes a great central character- she has depth and flaws and enough anger to boil the words off the page. I felt her struggles from page one until the back cover. The supporting characters were all vibrant and full. Each of them sympathetic in their own way making up a great "band of brothers" type team. The "bad guys" were a little too stereotypical and lacked the same depth that the others had. Alexander, who was the male lead, was perhaps an even BETTER character than Max. He was something of a tragic hero- his 100+ year lifespan was very clear in how he was written. His loyalty, his strength, his struggles- wow. It was a real treat to watch Max & Alexander cautiously dance around each other.
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