Review: Wild Country by Anne Bishop

Wild Country by Anne Bishop

In this powerful and exciting fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, humans and the shape-shifting Others will see whether they can live side by side – without destroying one another.

There are ghost towns in the world – places where the humans were annihilated in retaliation for the slaughter of the Others.

One of these places is Bennett, a town at the nothern end of the Elder Hills – a town surrounded by the wild country. Now efforts are being made to resettle Bennett as a community where humans and Others live and work together. A young female police officer has been hired as the deputy to a Wolfguard sheriff. A deadly type of Other wants to run a human-style saloon. And a couple with four foster children – one of whom is a blood prophet – hope to find acceptance.

But as they reopen the stores and the professional offices and start to make lives for themselves, the growing community attracts the attention of humans looking to profit. And the arrival of the outlaw Blackstone Clan will either unite Others and humans – or bury them all.

Series: The World of the Others, 2
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: ACE (7 March 2019)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Wild Country is a very interesting book. It’s the second book in The World of The Others, a spin-off from Bishop’s The Others. I’m not totally sure when it is set in relation to Lake Silence, but the storyline runs parallel with Etched in Bone. It introduces a new settlement, that we get to see almost from the beginning which I found really interesting. As always there are multiple narrative lines with a lot of interwoven threads and the fun is trying to work out what is going on. There are also a lot of new characters to get to know.

Fans of the series, and of The Others will enjoy this newest addition. It has everything I have come to expect from a boy set in this world. Tensions are very high between the different groups, which is to be expected considering what else is going on in the world at the same time. Jana, Jesse, Tobais, Tolya and Virgil are all interesting characters, and I enjoyed following them through the story. I enjoyed the fact that this story focuses on trying to find a balance between humans and the terra indigene, and that this co-operation was very much the focus of the narrative.

Wild Country is a little slow to start, but this is typical for books in this series as long time readers will know. I think that this works to the story’s advantage as it helps to build tension, but also allows us as readers to get to know the new characters and place them within the world. Once things get going, they really get going though. This is helped by the alternating narrators, each giving us a little piece of the overall story. Bishop has definitely created a very interesting and complex and dangerous world, which this novel definitely emphasises but is also shows that even within the darkness and horror there can be moments of hope and light.

If you’ve enjoyed the other books in The Others and The World of The Others then I think this story will suck you in, and straight back into the world. If you’re new to the series then I don’t think that this is the book to start with, as there are spoilers. That being said, this book is one heck of a ride and I found it quite difficult to stop as I just wanted to devour it.

Reviewlets: Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo & The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux

Wonder Woman Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

I’ll be honest, when I saw this in the August 2017 Illumicrate I wasn’t too sure about this book. I’ve tried reading Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone and it really wasn’t my cup of tea. I also don’t know a whole lot about Diana, I’ve certainly never read any of the comics she’s been in so going into this book was something of an adventure. But you know what? I actually really enjoyed this book. I thought having Diana and Alia as dual narrators with alternating chapters worked well. They both had interesting takes on the situation. I also thought the whole idea of a “warbringer” was really cool and well thought out and explained within the text. I would have actually liked to see more of this world, but I don’t think that’s likely. Still whether you’re new to the DC fandom or have been there a while, I think you will enjoy this story.

The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

The Omega’s Pack by Dessa Lux

This is the second book in the Protection of the Pack series. I thought the first book was interesting and had a lot of potential, so I was curious to try this book. The Omega’s Pack is almost double the length of The Omega’s Bodyguard, and it has many of the same issues as the first book – high on sex, low on plot. That being said I really enjoyed it, and what plot there was was interesting. I liked the way Lux wrote Nick and how he was handling returning from war in a very different way to Rusty and Mike. The fact that so much of the book focused on his and everyone else’s struggles was what I most liked about this book. The Omega’s Pack is a great second book as it builds from the base The Omega’s Bodyguard started. I’m looking forward to seeing more of this world. If you enjoyed the first book in this series then you will definitely like this one too.

Review: The Omega’s Bodyguard by Dessa Lux

The Omega’s Bodyguard by Dessa Lux

Sparks fly when a protective alpha meets an omega in danger, but there’s a catch: this omega is still human, and doesn’t know what he could become with a bite from the right wolf.

Being an alpha werewolf made Rusty Jamison one of the best while he served in the Marines, a top team leader in the elite Force Recon. But now his instincts have made military life unbearable – he couldn’t protect his team without revealing what he was. He’s out of the Corps and taking his first job as a bodyguard, using those instincts while protecting his secret. But his client is the last thing Rusty expected: a latent omega, a human with werewolf blood just waiting for a bite to awaken his potential.

Sam Hurley has fended off plenty of unwanted advances in his twenty-four years. As a baby-faced computer genius, he’s used to being sought after for more than just his brains – but now someone is stalking him, and Sam is going ot need help getting him to take no for an answer. His new bodyguard seems like he’ll be able to do the job, but once Sam meets him he wants Rusty for a lot more than protection.

Series: The Protection of the Pack, 1
Genre: LGBT+, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Independently published (9 May 2017)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)

Having read and really enjoyed the first book in Dessa Lux’s Wolves of the World series Omega Required, I thought I’d branch out and try another of her series. The Omega’s Bodyguard is the first book in The Protection of the Pack series. In it we meet alpha werewolf Rusty Jamison who is fresh out of the Marine Corps, and Sam Hurley a human with wolf blood who if bitten will become an omega. Rusty comes into Sam’s life when he is hired by a friend to help Sam with his stalker problem. The trouble is Sam has no idea he is anything other than human.

Going into this book I had super high expectations. The Omega’s Bodyguard is a really tiny book, and therefore a super quick read. There are just over one hundred pages. This did make me a little wary, but I actually really enjoyed the story and meeting Rusty and Sam. I will be honest, if this book was more plot driven it would have got a solid 4 (maybe 5) stars from me. As it is this book has definitely got me intrigued by this world, and I will be reading more of the series so I can discover more of the world. In a lot of ways this book feels like a teaser for the rest of the series.

As I’ve mentioned there isn’t really a lot of plot to this book, but then at 106 pages it’s not really much of a surprise. There are a few hot and steamy scenes that I think people who are into that kind of thing will enjoy. That being said, what little plot there is I think Lux writes well and makes interesting. The way Lux writes the werewolves of this world is interesting, and Lux has put a lot of thought into how they would work. They don’t appear to be known, so they exist in the shadows.

Lux plays with expectations of the genre, the omegas in this book are no wilting flowers but some of the alpha werewolves do play into the typical alpha werewolf trope you see in a lot of paranormal romance books. I liked the fact that this is not shown as a good thing. The pack dynamics were themselves interesting. There seems to be a lot of cooperation between packs, and a lot of I suppose checks and balances within the werewolf community to make sure no one over steps.

If you enjoy reading paranormal romances, and enjoy werewolf fiction then I think that you will enjoy this series if you think of The Omega’s Bodyguard as almost a taster for the rest of the series. I think you will particularly enjoy this if you’re looking for something a little bit different within the genre. As I’ve said, there are a couple of hot and steamy scenes but don’t be put off if that isn’t your thing as I think the story is engaging enough even with that. There is a lot of potential within this world, and I’m looking forward to exploring more of it.

Reviewlets: Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux & Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark

Here are another couple of short reviews that I hope you will enjoy. I’m trying to interspace these shorter reviews between longer ones, so I hope the balance is working at the moment.

Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux

Omega Defiant by Dessa Lux ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

After finishing the first book in the Wolves of the World series, I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I really like the fact that the story focuses on two characters we’ve already kind of met in Omega Required. I really enjoyed this, though I do think that there is a lot going on and I’m not totally sure how I feel about how everything was (and wasn’t) resolved. This book explored more of the world of the Wolves of the World which I really enjoyed. It was interesting to see more and different packs, and how they worked. I really liked Casey and Adam as characters, and I enjoyed following their journeys through the book. If you enjoyed Omega Required then I think you will like this book too.

Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)

Another Year of Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark

Long-time readers of this blog will know that I read and loved Chichester Clark’s Plumdog, so how could I resist getting hold of another year in Plum’s life?! It is everything I expected and loved from Plumdog. There are new adventures Plum and Emma embark on, some of them are obviously fun others are not. I like the fact that Chichester Clark includes the good and the bad. I also like the fact that there isn’t something for all 365 days, but rather a series of highlights. The story is narrated by Plum, Emma just provides the illustrations. It’s a great book to either read in one go, like I did, or dive into and out of as each story is self-contained. If you like dogs, then this is definitely a one for you. The illustrations are beautiful, colourful, and convey a lot of feelings.

Review: Omega Required by Dessa Lux

Omega Required by Dessa Lux

AN ALPHA WEREWOLF CHASING HIS DREAMS MEETS AN OMEGA FIGHTING FOR HIS LIFE IN A STRICTLY TEMPORARY MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE . . .

Alpha werewolf Beau Jefferies has been going it alone ever since he was cast out of his pack as a teenager for trying to help a human and endangering the pack’s secvrets during the tumultuous years when the wider world was learning the truth about werewolves. He hasn’t lost his drive to help others, and he’s about to begin a prestigious medical residency – only to learn that, as the first werewolf the program has knowingly accepted, he’ll have to follow special rules, including the one that requires him to be married when he begins his residency.

Omega werewolf Roland Lea is just trying to survive. After escaping the last and worst in a string of abusive relationships that left him scarred and unable to conceive, he’s found safety in a refuge for homeless omegas. But despite the help he’s getting at the refuge, he just keeps getting sicker instead of better, further and further from being able to make it on his own. When he’s offered the opportunity to sign up with a mate-matching agency, he figures he has nothing to lose. No alpha is ever going to want an omega like him.

When Beau sees Roland’s profile, he knews at once what’s making the omega sick, and he’s determined to help. If he can persuade Roland to marry him, he can save Roland’s life while Roland helps him get through the residency. But will their hasty partnership be enough to bring them both through what’s ahead – and can temporary necessity lead to a forever love?

Series: Wolves of the World, 1
Genre: LGBT+, Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Independently published (7 April 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Going into Omega Required, the first book in Dessa Lux’s Wolves of the World series, I had high expectations. I first came across the book in a discussion about “typical” werewolf books, this was one of the suggestions for people who were looking for less of the stereotypical alpha males. I thought the blurb sounded interesting, so I thought I would give at least this book a try. Honestly I was not disappointed. Omega Required plays with a lot of the tropes within the werewolf genre, but I thought Lux’s take on them was interesting and it was a really enjoyable read.

This is an adult book, as there are a few graphic sex scenes. However, Lux was very careful and didn’t fall into the trap that a lot of romance writers do – sex is not a “fix it” solution. I also like the fact the way Lux handled Beau and Roland’s different issues within the text, and that something as simple as birth control is actually dealt with on the page. I really liked the fact that Beau and Roland go into things on a pretty even basis – they both want/need something from the other, and the whole marriage issue is handled pretty well in my opinion.

One of my favourite things about Omega Required is how werewolves themselves are presented within the story. It’s pretty clear from the get-go that werewolves are a known entity within the world, but also that their coming out (so to speak) is a relatively new thing. Lux uses this within the plot well, and in a really thoughtful manner. The werewolves within this world are interesting. The terms alpha and omega are used almost like a secondary gender, rather than as an indicator of status within the packs. Good packs seem to act almost like large family units that cover several generations, and they also seem very friendly even to other werewolves outside the pack who are in their territory. The pack structure seems a lot closer to a real wolf pack structure than a lot of other pack ideas within this genre.

Omega Required is very much a paranormal romance story, so there isn’t really much of a plot besides what is going on between Beau and Roland. Lux throws in a few curve balls, and that definitely keeps things interesting at least for me. I also really liked the fact that Beau and Roland alternating narrating chapters, it was interesting to see events from their perspectives. I also thought Beau wanting to be a doctor, and practise on humans, was a really interesting and unique idea. My only slight complaint is that there is a lot of scope within the story that I don’t think was explored, but maybe that will be expanded more in future books. I would have loved to see more of what life was like within a pack, and it would have been interesting to learn more about Beau and Roland’s families. Overall though I think that this was a great start to the Wolves of the World series. I’m looking forward to reading more.

Review: Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh

Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh (UK edition)

Return to New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh’s darkly passionate Guild Hunter world, where human-turned-angel Elena Deveraux, consort to Archangel Raphael, is thrust centre stage into an eons-old prophecy . . .

Midnight and dawn, Elena’s wings are unique among angelkind . . . and now they’re failing. The first mortal to be turned into an immortal in angelic memory, she’s regressing. Becoming more and more human. Easier to hurt. Easier to kill.

Elena and Raphael must unearth the reason for the regression before it’s too late, and Elena falls out of the sky. Yet even as they fight a furious battle for Elena’s very survival, violent forces are gathering in New York and across the world.

In China, the Archangel Favashi is showing the first signs of madness. In New York, a mysterious sinkhole filled with lava scallows a man whole. In Africa, torrential monsoon rains flood rolling deserts. And in Elena’s mind there’s a haunting voice that isn’t her own.

This time, survival may not be possible . . . not even for the consort of an archangel.

Series: Guild Hunter 11
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Gollancz (1st November 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

Eleven books in, and Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series is really raising the stakes. The Cascade has caused problems before but in Archangel’s Prophecy Elena, the first mortal to be turned into angel in angelic memory, seems to be regressing – making her easier to hurt, and easier to kill. With so little known about once mortal angels, it is extremely difficult for anyone to unearth information that may help her. Whilst Elena and Raphael fight to find out what is going on, the rest of the world stands on the brink of chaos: New York has a lava filled sinkhole, the deserts of Africa have monsoon floods, and the Archangel Favashi shows the first signs of madness. Survival is not looking good for anyone, mortal or immortal.

First of all I just want to mention how pretty the cover of my edition of the book is – I really love the grayscale image with the vibrant colours on the wings just pops. I have really enjoyed the Guild Hunter series so far, so of course I was excited to get my hands on Archangel’s Prophecy. Singh always manage to surprise me, and this book was no different.

I did really enjoy it, but in a lot of ways it does read like the first part of a series – there is some serious setting up going on. Archangel’s Prophecy really sets the scene and let’s us know what exactly is at stake. I don’t know how many books there will be in the series, but to me it almost feels like Singh is gearing up for the endgame of the series. I’m probably reaching, but I definitely think there is that quality to the setup in the book. I don’t think that the next book will be the last one, but I do think Singh may be drawing things to a close.

As always, there is a lot going on – I found it easy to keep track of everything, though I did think that one of the resolutions in this book came a bit out of left field. I really admired Elena’s determination in this book, how she never stopped fighting. Although the story primarily focuses on Elena and Raphael, I did enjoy the return of some familiar faces – and I would have loved if there had been more of them, but that’s just a minor gripe. I also thought the way that the voice in Elena’s mind was handled was really well done, and interesting. Archangel’s Prophecy has definitely left me excited for book twelve.

Review: Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton

Serpentine by Laurell K. Hamilton (UK edition)

MY NAME IS ANITA BLAKE AND I’VE ALWAYS OVERCOME ANYTHING I’VE FACED. BUT THIS TIME, THERE’S A MONSTER THAT EVEN I DON’T KNOW HOW TO FIGHT . . .

A remote Florida island is the perfect destination for my fellow U.S. marshal and best friend Edward’s wedding. And for me, it’s a welcome break as it’s the first trip I’ve ever taken with just wereleopards Micah and Nathaniel for company. But it’s not all fun, games and bachelor parties . . .

In this tropical paradise, Micah has discovered a horrific new form of lycanthropy, one that has afflicted a single family for generations. Believed to be an ancient Greek curse, it turns human bodies into a mass of snakes.

The last thing I need is more drama, but when women start disappearing from the hotel – and worse – my own friends and lovers become the prime suspects. A strange power is afoot, a force that’s rendering those around me helpless in its thrall. I can’t face this alone and am willing to accept help from even the deadliest places – help that I will most certainly regret. If I survive at all . . .

Series: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 26
Genre: Erotica, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (7th August 2018)
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)

The twenty-sixth novel in Laurell K. Hamilton’s brilliant Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series, Serpentine follows Anita, Micha and Nathaniel to Florida for Edward’s wedding. Life has been busy for Anita and her beaus, so romance and even sex have been on something of a back burner. The wedding is their chance for a break in tropical paradise; only like most things in Anita’s life it’s just not that easy. Micah has discovered a horrific form of what appears to be lycanthropy. And then women start disappearing from the hotel they’re staying at.

I was really looking forward to getting my hands on this book. I know a lot of people are disappointed with the later books in the series, and whilst I can understand why I’m just really invested in the characters and actually really enjoy the reading experience. So I’ll just straight out say it – if you are looking for a more plot based story, like the early Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter books, then you are going to be disappointed. Hamilton has again gone back to focusing more on Anita’s relationships than on the plot. Having said that, there is a plot that whilst small is interesting and I wish it could have been explored more.

A lot of the drama of this novel comes from interpersonal relationships. Things are not all sunshine and roses for Anita and her family, or for her friends. Getting caught up in a case when she’s supposed to be on vacation certainly doesn’t help matters, but Anita wouldn’t be Anita if she didn’t. The case is actually rather interesting. Hamilton drops little hints about what’s going on, but although I had some guesses it wasn’t until the big reveal that I actually knew what was going on. It would have been nice if the book had been a little more case focused, but I think it does work well the way it is and it does fit in with the style of Crimson Death .

Although Serpentine is not in St. Louis we do get to meet a lot of familiar faces – there’s even a namedrop of a character from near the beginning of the series – and we are introduced to some new faces. As you can tell from the blurb, the main focus of this book is Anita, Micah and Nathaniel’s relationship. I enjoyed catching up with them. I also really liked seeing Edward and his family again – and it was nice to see how different he is in this book from when we first meet him. I wasn’t that impressed with the new faces that are working for Anita and Jean Claude. Most of them felt like you’d blink and you’d miss them, and the ones that got the longer page time just seemed a little flat to me – though to be fair this might have been because Anita is the narrator and she’s dealing with the aftermath of the events in Crimson Death. Fans of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter will not be disappointed with Serpentine as long as they have enjoyed the more recent additions to the series.

Review: Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Lake Silence by Anne Bishop

Title: Etched in Bone (The World of The Others, 1)
Author: Anne Bishop
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Ace (6th March2018)
Blurb:

In this thrilling and suspenseful fantasy set in the world of the New York Times bestselling Others series, an inn owner and her shape-shifting lodger find themselves enmeshed in danger and dark secrets.

Human laws do not apply in the territory controlled by the Others – vampires, shape-shifters, and even deadlier paranormal beings. And this is a fact that humans should never, ever forget . . .

After her divorce, Vicki DeVine took over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. Towns such as Vicki’s don’t have any distance from the Others, the dominant predators who rule most of theland and all of the water throughout the world. And when a place has no boundaries, you never really know what is out there watching you.

Vicki was hoping to find a new career and a new life. But when her lodger , Aggie Crowe – one of the shape-shifting Others – discovers a murdered man, Vicki finds trouble instead. The detectives want to pin the death on her, despite evidence that nothing human could have killed the victim. As Vicki and her friends search for answers, ancient forces are roused by the disturbance in their domain. They have rules that must not be broken – and all the destructive powers of nature at their command.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

LAKE SILENCE is the first book in Anne Bishop’s new series The World of The Others, a spin-off from her brilliant The Others series. This book is set in the same world as the first series, but features new characters in a different place. This book follows the story of Vicki DeVine, a divorcee, who has taken over a rustic resort near Lake Silence, in a human town that is not human controlled. The new move was supposed to signal a new start for Vicki, but the discovery of a dead man on her property brings a lot of trouble instead.

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Review: Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Title: Burn Bright (Alpha and Omega, 5)
Author: Patricia Briggs
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit (8th March 2018)
Blurb:

NO. 1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER PATRICIA BRIGGS RETURNS WITH A THRILLING NEW ADVENTURE IN HER ALPHA AND OMEGA SERIES.

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana.

Mated werewolves Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the moutainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf – but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn . . .

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

BURN BRIGHT is the fifth book in Patricia Brigg’s brilliant Alpha & Omega series, a spin-off from her fantastic Mercy Thompson series. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m something of a fan of this world. In BURN BRIGHT Charles and Anna are in Aspen Creek, Montana covering for Bran who is busy with business elsewhere. Whilst they are there they receive an urgent call for help from the fae mate of a werewolf too damaged to live safely amongst other werewolves. They head out to help, but ultimately cannot stop blood being spilled. The only recourse they have left is to track down those who dared to harm ones under the Marrok’s protection.

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Review: Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Ocean Light by Nalini Singh

Title: Ocean Light (A Psy-Changeling Trinity Novel, 2)
Author: Nalini Singh
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Gollancz (14th June 2018)
Blurb:

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh dives beneath the surface of her Psy-Changeling world into a story of passionate devotion and selfless love . . .

Security specialist Bowen Knight has come back from the dead. But there’s a ticking time bomb in his head: a chip implanted to block telepathic interference that could fail at any moment – taking his brain along with it. With no time to waste, he should be back on land helping the Human Alliance. Instead, he’s at the bottom of the ocean, consumed with an enigmatic changeling . . .

Kaia Luna may have traded in science for being a chef, but she won’t hide the facts of Bo’s condition from him or herself. She’s suffered too much loss in her life to fall prey to the dangerous charm of a human who is a dead man walking. And she carries a devastating secret that Bo could never imagine . . .

But when Kaia is taken by those who mean her deadly harm, all bets are off. Bo will do anything to get her back – even if it means striking a devil’s bargain and giving up his mind to the enemy.

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

OCEAN LIGHT is the second book in Nalini Singh’s Psy-Changeling Trinity series; a continuation of her brilliant Psy-Changeling series. At just over four hundred pages, it is slightly smaller than the first book in the series. OCEAN LIGHT tells the story of Kaia Luna, a woman who chose to leave a scientific career and become a chef, and Bowen Knight, a security specialist in the Human Alliance who fans of the series may be familiar with. Their paths cross whilst Bowden is recovering from his brush with death hidden at the bottom of the ocean, and even with all that is against them sparks soon fly.

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