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Fallen Mass Market Paperback – September 30, 2008

4.0 out of 5 stars 41 customer reviews
Book 1 of 4 in the Prometheus Project Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Bestselling author Claire Delacroix always loved stories, both telling them and hearing them. She sold her first romance novel in 1992 and has been happily writing romances ever since. The Beauty, part of Claire's bestselling 'Bride Quest' series, was her first title to land on the New York Times Extended List. Claire makes her home in Canada with her family, a number of incomplete knitting projects and a lot of overgrown houseplants. She loves to travel, to cook, to ride her bike and to read. Claire also writes romances as Claire Cross and as Deborah Cooke.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter One

Wednesday, October 28, 2099

Lilia's plan was simple:

1. She would attend the Nuclear Darwinists' conference in New Gotham to present the award to be given in honor of Gid. Renaming the existing award had been her idea, after all, and was the perfect cover for what she really wanted to do.

2. She would discover the truth about Gid's death.

3. She would quit the Society after the award was presented, preferably with some panache.

4. She would stay out of trouble.

The last item was the only one Lilia expected to be an issue: she had only added it to her list to keep her mother happy.

Her mother didn't need to know how quickly that item had been ditched.

Lilia had only been in New Gotham for an hour and she was wearing Gid's second best pseudoskin, idling a rented Kawasaki and considering the best way to enter the old city of Gotham unobserved. Revving the bike and wasting precious canola were the least of the multiple offenses either committed or pending.

She didn't idle the bike because she was worried about breaking the law. Lilia did that all the time. Old cities were off- limits, by senatorial decree, which meant those who ventured into them had to fend for themselves. Usually Lilia welcomed that edict-it meant less interference.

What troubled her was that the guys in the bike rental place had been joking about the wolves in Central Park.

Wolves. Was it true? It was one detail she hadn't planned for. Lilia hadn't given their chatter much credence, not until there was just the muck of the Hudson between herself and Gotham.

The sight of the old city was what gave her pause.

Gotham was big, dark, and legendary-she'd known that before. In this moment, though, it crouched on the other side of the river, a blackened wreck of what had been a glittering metropolis. It was hard to imagine that once it had shone with so many lights that its illumination had obscured the stars above.

Now the stars had no competition. The steady rain and the darkness didn't do the old city any favors-it looked like hell.

Maybe it was.

Lilia was sure that Gotham wolves would be bigger, more numerous, and more nasty than most.

But rumor wasn't going to stop her. This was a one- time shot. She kicked the bike into gear and turned into the darkness of the Lincoln Tunnel. Her geiger was already ticking faster than she might have liked, which meant she was soaking up radiation faster than would have been ideal.

As she drove down the curving ramp, Lilia held her breath, hoping that the tunnel wasn't blocked. She turned onto the straightaway and the bike's high beam showed that the snaking length of the tunnel was unobstructed. There was just a couple of inches of water on the roadway and the vehicles-there must have been some-were gone.

Pilfered, most likely, and raided for parts.

Her geiger settled to a slow tick.

Lilia grinned. Her legendary good luck was holding.

She accelerated and the roar of the bike's engine reverberated in the tunnel. It felt good to ride, as good as being cut loose from a corset, as good as kicking five pounds of underskirts aside. Even better, the Kawasaki had guts.

As the darkness closed behind her, she felt a prickle of fear. Lilia didn't like darkness, never had. Logic, though, had dictated that the tunnel was the best option for entering the city. The tunnel shielded her from the radiation on approach, giving her more range once in Gotham, and it muffled the noise of the motorcycle from curious ears.

Had Gid, the king of logic, come this way?

The tunnel was long, or seemed longer than it should have been. It said something about Lilia's fear of darkness that she was relieved to emerge into the hot zone of Gotham itself. She burst from the tunnel like a bat out of hell and her geiger went wild. She had a heartbeat to note the wet road, gleaming like obsidian, before the bike tried to skid from beneath her.

Lilia swore as she corrected the skid.

The wolves chose that moment to howl.

The rumor was true.

Even better, there were a lot of them; their howls echoed one after the other. Wolf telegraph. Lilia knew enough about wolves to know that they were summoning each other as a little welcome committee.

It made sense to move fast when she looked like lunch. Her heart was pounding as she turned to race into the valleys of the old city.

Lilia wasn't unprepared for this adventure: she carried her nifty new laze, the one Joachim had bought her as a bonus for snagging the angel- shades. She'd brought Gid's old suit because even his second- string pseudoskin was a better quality than any of her own. They'd been almost the same height and if it was a little snug around Lilia's curves, well, there wouldn't be a fashion show in the old city. And her dark cape would keep the eyes of Sumptuary & Decency averted when she was in public areas.

Like the bike rental shop.

Since there were multiple hungry carnivores in her vicinity, Lilia fretted about the extra- heavy- weight- gauge mesh in the polymer of Gid's pseudoskin. How much would it slow her down? Her calculations had suffered from a small omission-would it be a fatal one?

Better not to dwell on that.

She'd memorized the map of Gotham from the archives, using a public reader to access it rather than her own palm. She'd told no one where she was going. It was a bit late for Lilia to see the parallels with Gid's last fatal trip.

She'd avoided radiation for the past two weeks to allow herself maximum time in Gotham. Even so, the required monitoring patch on her sternum was already emanating a slight glow. There was no question of turning back. The shade who had contacted her out of the blue had implied that he knew something about Gid. Lilia didn't know how to find the shade again.

It was now or never.

She drove faster. Skeletal hulks of old buildings stretched like fingers into the night sky, their height cast in impenetrable shadows. The thrum of the bike's engine echoed and was magnified, as if a herd of motorcycles had invaded the ruin. Audacious young trees pushed their way through the cracks in the pavement, as opportunistic as the wolves.

There were no lights anywhere in Gotham, but the moon was nearly full and the night was surprisingly clear. Silver light slipped into more than one apartment, creating snapshots Lilia didn't want to see. The streets were slick with water that reflected the moon and stars.

The gray dust was thick and dark over everything beyond the road, and it was probably mixed with ashes. Lilia didn't have to speculate on what those ashes might have been: she knew. They had studied the hit on Gotham at the Institute for Radiation Studies-it was, quite literally, textbook stuff. Ten million people had made their homes in the city and roughly a quarter of a million had managed to evacuate before the firestorm started.

Lilia had never thought she'd see the damage live.

Few did.

Maybe more people should see it, she thought. Maybe the Republic should offer tours. The old city of Gotham was a poster for disarmament.

Maybe that was the real reason why old cities were off- limits.

Not that Lilia was cynical about the objectives of central authority. Nuh- uh.

The odd thing about Gotham was that it seemed to be awake. Everything she could see was destroyed, broken, trashed, and abandoned, yet there was a strange watchfulness. She wasn't at all convinced that she was alone, much less unobserved.

Gotham felt sentient. Most old cities didn't have that kind of aura. Lilia had visited enough of them to know. She shivered, although she wasn't cold.

Maybe it was the wolves. Lilia was sure she saw the yellow eyes of wolves in every shadow. She was sure she heard the pad of their footfalls as they tracked her course.

But it would have been weird for wolves to have so much presence, even if they were starving.

Was someone else watching?

Or was the city haunted?

Lilia didn't want to know.

It shouldn't have been far from the end of the tunnel to her destination, but the city didn't quite look as it had when the archived map had been made. The debris piled into the streets wasn't that easily distinguishable in the dark from actual buildings in decay. Lilia took a turn, realized she'd made a mistake, turned back, and tried again.

Precious time was slipping away. She accelerated the bike even more, choosing one risk over another. Broadway and Seventh had become one cavernous pit, so Lilia made a quick U-turn. She had to retrace her course and go up Eighth, across Fiftieth, wasting precious moments.

Two blocks left, then one. She was breathing hard, perspiring beneath her pseudoskin.

It was 20:59. Was she too late?

Would she get out of Gotham alive?

Or would she die here, just like Gid?

Lilia turned the last corner to her destination, sprayed an arc of water as she skidded the bike to a halt, and stared. Unlike the rest of the city, Rockefeller Plaza was eerily similar to the way it looked in the archival photos.

But dark.


Creepy. Lilia hesitated, revving the bike. The plaza appeared to be closed box, a sculpture at the far end being its focal point. There was a black hole in front of the statue, a pit of darkness that seemed to devour what little light there was.

"There's a place in Old Gotham where the shadows are darker . . ."

She remembered the shade's reedy voice all too well and her mouth went dry. His signal had been bootleg, on an unauthorized frequency, and the audio had broken up. Most people couldn't have received the signal, but Lilia had her palm tuned to pirate frequencies. Even so, his voice had sounded as if he was pinging her from another world. But then, Gotham could have been another world.

Lilia considered the plaza and didn't like the lack of exit options. She turned up t...

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Paranormal Romance; 1st Printing edition (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765359499
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765359490
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,420,759 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Chelsea Marie Spencer on January 9, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't like giving bad reviews, but this book is just not what it appeared. I expected something hot or romantic, suspenseful or magical, and instead I got a science fiction piece that read more like a historical then a futuristic.

The Plot:

Montgomery is an angel sent on an earthly mission, under the guise of working for the police. Lilia is a woman trying to solve the mystery of her husband's murder. Both have information that the other wants, and share a mutual and growing attraction.

The Redeeming Parts:

It's obvious the author put a lot of time and imagination into this book. She does a fair job of creating an interesting world and developing interesting plot lines.

The Problem:

As said above this book is not what it seems. Because of the futuristic setting, you expect some technical information and world-building. But instead we are inundated with repetitive passages describing the state of this future world--the laws, government, society, technology, science, all sort of half explained over and over again. It's confused, vague, ridiculous, and boring.

And weirdly enough it actually seems more historical then futuristic at times. Women are severely oppressed in the name of their own protection. Prejudice is a legally protected concept--the 'shades' a group of people with birth defects, are not even allowed the courtesy of names. This is not what I wanted to read about.

If you like futuristic science-fiction, this is the book for you. But do not pick it up expecting a nice hot paranormal romance--it falls short.
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Lilia Desjardins is convinced that her husband was murdered and has set out to find the truth. Her search takes her into dangerous situations and her investigation has not gone unnoticed by the Republic or the handsome police officer Adam Montgomery. Adam is an angel who has volunteered to go to earth for a mission and will do what it takes to complete it. He is attracted to Lilia and they both soon realize that in order to find their answers they will need to work together.

It took me a while to get into this book, not because I didn't like it but because it wasn't what I expected. This book felt more Sci-Fi than Paranormal Romance. It is set in the future after there have been nuclear attacks. People born with birth defects are labeled as Shades. Shades are looked down upon and are not even considered humans. Lilia is a Shade hunter. Instead of turning them in and having them become slaves or medical experiments, she takes them to the circus where they are paid, allowed to have names and a sense of normalcy. I really liked Lilia's compassion towards the Shades and the strong opinions she has for those who mistreat them. Adam is set on fulfilling his mission so he can get his wings back and go home. Of course the arrival of Lilia in his life starts to make him change his mind. I didn't care too much for Adam's character. I did not dislike him but he just felt kind of bland. He did his duty whether it was for the police department or his mission and that's about it. I had a hard time feeling the love between Lilia and Adam. I knew they lusted for each other and their scenes together were hot but it didn't come off as love to me. Maybe if they appear in future books, I might change how I feel about it.
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Fallen is not at all what I expected from reading the back cover blurb, I saw that the heroine was a Shade hunter and the leading man a fallen angel, so I was expecting a paranomal romance. Instead Fallen is a romantic futuristic suspense with some paranormal elements. The Fallen in the title does refer to the fallen angels working behind the scenes to save the world from evil. At the center of the conspiracy leading to the world's downfall, are the S.H.A.D.E.S, a group of humans who have mutated as a result of postnuclear events and who are essentially slave laborers in their rigidly controlled society.

Fallen is the first book in a series, with more Fallen angels to come. The story itself was an eclectic mix. There are some familiar futuristic elements in the world that Delacroix has created, with the repressive `big brother' government and opressive codes governing women's behavior. Though throwing in the angels and the appearance by an evil supernatural element gives this a odd twist. But I liked the angel masquerading as police dectective Adam, shorn of his wings struggling to fulfill his mission without the information or experience necessary to succeed. At the same time Adam must try to avoid attracting attention of the government, because to be labeled as different would mean a loss of freedom or death. I also liked the shade hunting scientist Lilia, who courts danger as she gets closer to the truth behind the `accidental' death of her husband - the details surrounding his fate just don't ring true. Like Adam, Lilia has some very interesting secrets of her own.

I enjoyed Fallen even though it took me a little bit into the story to get past my initial expectations.
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