Title: An Alpha And Omega Novel – Hunting Ground
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publisher: ACE (Sub-division of Penguin USA)
Main Characters: Charles Cornick, & Anna Latham-Cornick
Mated to werewolf Charles Cornick, the son - and enforcer - of the leader of the North American werewolves, Anna Latham now knows how dangerous being a werewolf is, especially when a werewolf who opposes Charles and his father is struck down. Charles's reputation makes him the prime suspect, and the penalty for the crime is execution. Now Anna and Charles must combine their talents to hunt down the real killer - or Charles will take the fall.
“Please,” Charles snapped, “don’t mouth something you don’t believe to me — It smells perilously close to a lie. The Beast was forced to stop killing openly, but a tiger doesn’t change his stripes. He’s still doing it. You know it as well as I do.” He could have pointed out other things — Jean had a taste for human flesh, the younger the better. But Anna had already experienced what happened when a wolf turned monstrous. He didn’t want to be the one to tell her that there were worse beasts out there than her former Alpha and his mate. His father knew what Jean Chastel was.
Bran conceded the point. “Yes. Almost certainly he is. But I’m not a helpless human, he won’t kill me.” He looked at Charles narrowly. “Which you know. So why do you think it will be dangerous?”
He was right. Take the Beast out of the picture, and it still made him ill to think of his father going. The Beast was the most obvious, provable danger.
“I just know,” Charles said, finally. “But it is your decision to make.” His gut clenched in anticipation of just how bad it was going to be.
“You still don’t have a logical reason.”
“No.” Charles forced his body to accept his defeat and kept his eyes on the floor.
His da looked out the little window where the mountains lay draped in winter white. “Your mother did that,” he said. “She’d make a statement without any real support at all, and I was supposed to just take her word for it.”
Anna was looking at his da with bright expectancy.
Bran smiled at her, then raised his cup toward the mountains.“I learned the hard way that she was usually right. Frustrating doesn’t come close to covering it.”
“So,” he said, turning his attention back to Charles. “They are on their way already, I can’t cancel it now — and it needs to be done. Announcing to the real world that there are werewolves among them will affect the European wolves as much, if not more, than it does us. They deserve their chance to be heard and told why we are doing it. It should come from me, but you would be an acceptable substitute. It will cause some offense, though, and you will have to deal with that.”
Relief flooded Charles with an abruptness that had him leaning against the countertop in sudden weakness, as the all-consuming sense of absolute and utter disaster slid away and left him whole. Charles looked at his mate.
“My grandfather would have loved to have met you,” he told her huskily. “He would have called you ‘She Moves Trees Out of His Path.’ ”
She looked lost, but his Da laughed. He’d known the old man, too.
“He called me ‘He Who Must Run into Trees,’ ” Charles explained, and in a spirit of honesty, a need for his mate to know who he was, he continued, “Or sometimes ‘Running Eagle.’ ”
“ ‘Running Eagle’?” Anna puzzled it over, frowning at him. “What’s wrong with that?”
“Too stupid to fly,” murmured his father with a little smile. “That old man had a wicked tongue — wicked and clever, so it stuck until he dinged you with your next offense.” He tilted his head at Charles. “But you were a lot younger then — and I am not so solid an object as a tree. You feel better if you—”
Anna cleared her throat pointedly.
His da smiled at her. “If you and Anna go instead?”
“Yes.” Charles paused because there was something more, but the house was too busy with modern things for the spirits to talk to him clearly. Usually that was a good thing. When they got too demanding, he sometimes retreated to his office, where the computers and electronics kept them out entirely. Still, there was something in him that breathed easier now that his father had agreed not to go. “Not safe, but better. When do you want us in Seattle?”
Hunting Ground © Patricia Briggs
Bran the Morrock of the North American werewolves is determined to bring the werewolves into the eyes of the public. With this intention in mind he sends his son and enforcer Charles along with his Omega wife Anna to the meeting of the alpha’s in Seattle.
Right from the outset with this meeting there are problems even before the meeting has opened it’s first agenda. Long standing feuds are aired, as well as not forgotten practices are stilled being carried out on the streets of Seattle. Charles who has been around the block a century or two knows what this group of Alpha’s are capable of in the open but he knows more than anyone else what they can also get up under the cover of darkness.
With Anna with him on this journey Charles has to not only be seen and act as the baddest wolf to get his fathers point across – but he has to protect Anna and make sure her comfort is uppermost in his mind.
With a pack of alpha wolf all congregated in one place something was bound to happen and it does happen, friendships are forged, new species are introduced – but intertwined in all that is betrayal, murder and one person has an eye on the prize and that prize has an inner strength is not about to fall down and die.
I have been waiting for this book along with a host of other readers and I was not disappointed – firstly Charles and Anna are further developed in HUNTING GROUND, they literally grew before my eyes both mentally and in some respect physically, the issues that they had from the past book are still there, they are not brushed under the carpet but are each dealt with in tern and along side the main plot of the book we see a side of Charles that is not often seen or to be honest never seen.
Where this book does it for me is in the support cast, they were so well presented that just meeting someone and losing them 15pages later was a traumatic loss – that was just how well Ms. Briggs did with the characterisation of the support cast. There was a whole slew of them to choose from – and they came with baggage and history – they fit together for the plot even if they didn’t fit together for what was suppose to be accomplished at the meeting.
The mystery of the book was nicely down as well, with twist and turns – parables and innuendos I was caught up and I was genuinely surprised at the curves the plot took as well the who done it. Very well done
HUNTING GROUND is a perfect addition to the Alpha and Omega series, I could complain that I did not get my Bran fix but that would just be petty, Ms Briggs laid on the descriptor, she gave me some stunning support cast to love and hate and she has left just enough mystery in this book to keep me wondering what her next book will be about.
Charles and Anna – I could not ask for more from them in terms of their relationship, what ever is right between them seems to be going well –whatever is wrong, only time will tell if they can work it out.
HUNTING GROUND is simply a wonderful addition to Briggs’ Alpha & Omega series.