Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs
It’s pirating night in the werewolf house, and Mercy, a coyote skinwalker married to Adam, the handsome Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack, quickly gets killed out of the werewolf pack’s computer-based pirate LARP game. She heads to the kitchen to make a double-quadruple batch of chocolate chip cookies for the pack (her habit of baking treats after being exiting the game having more than a little to do with why someone always kills her off early in these games). Only, there are no eggs in the house, even though she’d had four dozen in the fridge two days ago. Werewolves are a hungry bunch. So Mercy makes a quick run to the local convenience store. Her last memory is getting hit by the airbags in her SUV.
When Mercy wakes up, she’s imprisoned and alone in a strange, metallic-sheeted room, covered with her own blood but otherwise uninjured, if weak and nauseous. More alarmingly, her psychic “mate bond” with Adam, through which she can always sense his presence, is completely missing.
Silence had fallen between us, not the electric, expectant kind. This silence was the emptiness that falls in the dead of night in the middle of a Montana winter when the world is encased in snow and icy cold, a silence that engulfed my soul and left me alone.
Two vampires, strangers to Mercy who look like Italian gangsters, enter the room and greet her. One radiates power and the other … nothing at all. But she thinks she knows which one is in charge, and it’s extremely bad news. He had her kidnapped because he was told, by someone being deceptive, that she was the most dangerous person in the Tri-Cities. Now he’s beginning to realize that she isn’t as valuable a hostage as he had hoped. Clearly escape is a good plan, the sooner the better, except that Mercy suspects that the vampire in charge wants her to try to escape, so his crazed werewolf guard can ― oops! ― kill her.
Meanwhile, Adam is gathering an impressive rescue team. He, Marsilia and Stefan (two of the most powerful vampires in their alliance), the witch Elizaveta, and a few other friends are trying to figure out where Mercy is and how they can get her back … without causing a deadly interspecies war between vampires and werewolves. In a very real sense, Mercy is more dangerous than she or her captors think.
A major change of scenery and particularly intricate plotting are distinguishing points in Silence Fallen (2017), the tenth book in Patricia Briggs’ MERCY THOMPSON urban fantasy series. The different setting is a breath of fresh air, and Briggs takes advantage of the rich culture, including a guest role by the famous Golem of Prague. Briggs weaves the Golem into the twisty plot of Silence Fallen, along with Iacopo (Jacob) Bonarata, the vampire known as the Master of Milan. He’s been mentioned in several prior books in this series, and it’s great fun (if you can call meeting a Renaissance prince vampire fun) to finally meet him and see both his flaws and his mastermind level of manipulation and plotting. Briggs does her own complex plotting in Silence Fallen, with various layers that are gradually revealed and then tie together in a very satisfactory way in the end, with a few surprises along the way.
Mercy’s narration and Adam’s point of view alternate in Silence Fallen, as they try to find their way back to each other and deal with separate but interrelated dangers. The timeline isn’t entirely linear as it jumps between Mercy’s and Adam’s points of view, sometimes backtracking a day or more. It’s a bit disorienting, and I’m not entirely sure it really helped me that Briggs (in a foreword note) and Mercy both mention the time shifts. But that’s a minor issue, and one of my few dissatisfactions with this story.
Silence Fallen is a strong addition to a great urban fantasy series, but the books do need to read in order. For fans of the genre, it’s well worth your time.