Private dick/Faerie princess Meredith Gentry returns in this faux-noir sequel to A Kiss of Shadows (2000). Meredith is now mortal but usually tracks semihuman suspects for the high-profile Grey Detective Agency (supernatural cases its specialty). She’s also the niece of the Queen of Air and Darkness (Anne Rice, go hang), who sets up a contest between Meredith and Prince Cel: whoever first provides an heir gets the throne. Prince Cel tries to assassinate Meredith and will keep trying unless she agrees to a certain proposal. But she is guarded by the Queen’s Ravens, who include the assassin Doyle, a man of absolute blackness; Meredith’s two all-white lovers, Rhys and Frost; and Kitto the green-spined goblin. Meredith is contacted by Maeve Reed, who looks 20 but has been Hollywood’s top star for 50 years. Exiled from the Seelie Court when she turned down the marriage offer of sterile Taranis, King of Light and Illusion, Maeve now she wants a child by her very old and withered director, who will be dead in six weeks. But if Meredith helps Maeve with the fertility rite, Taranis will seek vengeance.
Meredith ends as the Princess of Flesh and Blood, not yet with child, still babbling that overripe moonspeak (“I smelled roses, and blood appeared on my wrist as if by the prick of thorns”).