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Dark Time: Mortal Path Book One (Mortal Path Series) Mass Market Paperback – July 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Fans of the supernatural and dark fantasy will be intrigued by Maliha Crayne's quest to save her soul, though it has more flash than substance. Susannah Layhem, burnt at the stake in 1692, was posthumously recruited by a demon. She served as his pet assassin for more than 300 years before her refusal to kill a baby revealed a loophole in her contract. Now, as Maliha, she writes mysteries and tries to balance her assassinations by saving human lives, the only route to paradise. While there is an actual story centered on the murders of two hackers, this is mostly an introduction to Maliha, her eclectic group of friends and her uncanny ability to attract violence and death that somehow never counts against her efforts toward salvation. Perhaps the next book will have more plot to go with all the action. (Aug.)
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“Fans of supernatural and dark fantasy will be intrigued by Maliha Crayne’s quest to save her soul.” (Publishers Weekly)
“With a kick-ass heroine who’s trying to get out of an unimaginaby bad situation and tons of action, this is a terrific read.” (Romantic Times BOOKclub)
“Seductive, sophisticated, and imaginative, The Mortal Path: Dark Time has a multi-dimensional quality with beguiling concepts and a labyrinth of fast-paced suspense. There’s food for thought on every fascinating page. Dakota Banks is firing on all cylinders.” (Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author of The Charlemagne Pursuit)
“A passionate, fascinating story packed with action and history. Three hundred years ago, Maliha Crayne was burned at the stake. Now she’s in a race against time to save the world and her soul, and you’ll be with her step by step.” (David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of The Brotherhood of the Rose)
“Sweeping across continents and centuries, THE MORTAL PATH by Dakota Banks is story-telling at its most vivid. The characters are fascinating, the plot nail-biting, and the period pieces memorable. Curl up in your favorite chair - entertainment is guaranteed.” (Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Spymaster)
“Edge of your seat, breathtaking action in a must-read supernatural thriller.” (David Dun, author of The Black Silent)
“THE MORTAL PATH is a novel to be savored for both its edge of suspense and the pure joy of its storytelling. Part immortal, all human, Maliha is a heroine who will leave readers breathless and craving more. Not to be missed!” (James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of Map of Bones and Black Order)
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Top Customer Reviews
The main character starts out this book as Susannah Layhem, dutiful 17th century wife, herbalist healer, and expectant mother without a care in the world except how to fend off her overly amorous husband during the increasingly uncomfortable end of her pregnancy. When she is falsely accused of being a witch, abandoned by those closest to her, and then suffers a miscarriage due to maltreatment and harsh imprisonment, she willingly accepts a `deal with the devil' (aka the Sumerian demon Rabishu) to escape a fiery death. She becomes an Ageless assassin, killing indiscriminately at Rabishu's bidding. Fast forward about 300 years and Susannah wants out. She finds in the fine print of her demon contract a possible way out ; if she can save as many lives as she took she will be free. She starts her life over as Maliha (pronounced Ma-lie-hah), a 007 rip-off with all the expensive toys and boys a girl could want.
But Maliha is nothing like Susannah. When we first meet her, she is busy working on her tan a trying to think of new ways to pose in her bikini to attract a hottie a few feet away. She is unfortunately forced to `pose and run' as a member of her network of saved lives calls in with a murder case for her to investigate. The rest of the book treats us to a confusing mash up of medical malpractice, drug smuggling, and corporate espionage . Sprinkled throughout all this, Maliha goes on a blind date, gossips with the boy crazy friend who set her up, works on her next hit book entitled, A Lust for Murder, and worries way too much that she might be in love with her blind date (while still engaging in casual sex with a local P. I.). In short she does everything except what you would expect: anguish over the insurmountable task in front of her. She is not the dark, brooding character she should be, given her history. She is not wracked with guilt over her past crimes nor is she consumed with desire to even the scales. She almost seems put out when she gets called away from all her fun.
What!?! Did I pick up the wrong book? Was there a mix-up at the printer? This was supposed to be an Urban Fantasy, not a Chic-Lit Mystery. And yet once Susannah becomes Maliha, the paranormal elements seem to die with her. There are a few passing references to the demon bargain, and a few mentions to Summerian mythology. But that's about it.
This should have been a great book. The premise is one of the best I've heard in a long time. One I could easily imagine supporting a long series, and yet sadly, the author largely ignored the great opportunity she created and instead produced a generic thriller weighed down with chic-lit elements and bad dialog:
"What money? By now all records of your transaction have been wiped out. No one can follow the money trail because there isn't any. What blackmail? The Black Ghost was never here."
A warning is also appropriate because there is a sexual predator in this book and the author includes chapters from his perspective. One that includes him assaulting a woman while she sleeps, his running thoughts leading up to and throughout the assault , and his future plans of brutally raping her. I cannot emphasize enough how ugly this part was to read.
The bottom line is this: with Susannah, I cared; with Maliha, I didn't.
Sexual Content: A couple brief sex scenes. A chapter written from the perspective of a sexual predator.
Wow! I loved Dark Time and am very impatient for book two is this fascinating and refreshingly original series.
Over three hundred years ago, Susannah Layhem was wrongly accused of witchcraft and burned at the stake. Just as she is facing her last moments of life before giving in to the flames, she is whisked to safety and offered a trade. If she agrees to sell her soul to the demon Rabishu, he will save her life. But is it worth it?
Now, Susannah is Maliha Crayne, assassin for Rabishu to advance his malevolent plans. However, after a few hundred years, Maliha has grown weary of the life of a killer and longs to be free. She has one chance... Returned to mortal life, if she can save as many lives as she has taken over the years, before dying, her soul will be free. If not? She is subject to an eternity of the most horrendous of tortured that can be inflicted by Rabishu.
Dark Time is a complex novel bound to grab you by the throat and not let go until the final page is turned. We find passion, danger, intrigue, seemingly impossible quests, even a slight touch of romance between the covers of Dark Time. While Maliha's story may seem superficial at times, there is depth to her plight that mesmerizes. We also have a complicated subplot that is introduced here and guaranteed to unfold over future books in the series. Rabishu is vicious, cruel, and out for himself, determined to stop Maliha from finishing her personal mission. The world presented here is brilliantly portrayed and Dakota Banks does a masterful job with her descriptive imagery. It's hard to believe this is her first novel.
Maliha is a fascinating woman who seems to have everything her heart can desire, yet she is lacking one thing, ownership of her soul. After centuries of living free of the restraints of her conscience, she finally realizes she is miserable. Guilt consumes her for the wicked deeds in her past and her only goal now is to make amends for all the destruction she wrought and finally be free. She can come across as selfish at times, but then we are reminded that she really does have a big heart, as evidenced by her relationships to the men and women dedicated to helping her with her quest. Those bonds go deep and I enjoyed seeing these people through Maliha's eyes.
I could not put Dark Time down and eagerly anticipate book two, Sacrifice, due out in June 2010.
© Kelley A. Hartsell, November 2009. All rights reserved.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book opens in 1692 with the story of Susannah Layhem. She is happily married and pregnant.Read more