Nash’s (Looking for a Hero, 2016, etc.) energetic prose drives this supernatural, erotic romance that offers a new twist on the Arthurian legend.
This first novel in a planned series sets the stage for a clash of realms, beginning with the coming-of-age of Arthur Camulus. Arthur, 19, is the only living, direct descendant of Merlin, “the most powerful Nephil ever to walk the Earth.” As a Nephil—the offspring of a fallen angel and a human—Arthur is scheduled to activate his magical Druid powers at age 20. But before that happens, he goes rogue to escape Mab, his clan’s alpha, who has plans to enslave him. Arthur’s lover, Cybele, joins him in Wales,* where he aims to develop his powers independently, following a solo “Ordeal” with “No guide, no mentor.” He attracts the attention of not only Mab, but also the three archangels who run Heaven while God naps—Raphael, Michael, and Gabriel—and Vaclav Dusek, the alpha of a rival clan. Dusek furthers his aim to unleash demonic forces into the world while Raphael advances his own independent agenda. Arthur and Cybele, along with Cybele’s twin, Luc, escape Dusek and are safe in a London apartment—as long as they stay inside and don’t do magic. But with “hellfiends” swarming the world, how long can that last? Erotic scenes dot the novel, and the sparkiest involve Mab and her accoutrements (“A ball gag….A massive strap-on dildo”). The foreplay between Arthur and Cybele is sometimes painful to read, though, as when her nails “barely” scrape “the tip of his engorged penis.” Characters occasionally get convenient amnesia, apparently to advance the plot: “How could she have forgotten?” thinks Cybele when her blood accidentally triggers Arthur’s demonic side. The worldbuilding is generally strong, however, and it will sweep readers through the story. Taut prose prevails throughout: “Luc flicked his wrists, calling his hellfire. Sparks of green gathered in his palms. One good blast combusted the corpse. Flesh and bone burned.” That said, the overused term “magic” could have used some fresh alternatives.
A series starter for readers who like their romances with hard-charging plots and light character development.