In a world where magic is real and evil walks amongst humanity, a young sorcerer is beset upon by enemies, both old and new. Angelus Salvatore is the only necromancer in all of Boston, and his name is whispered warily by the undead and fellow sorcerers alike. He and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of an attack by an army of the undead, in which Angel used a spell so powerful it forever marked his place in history. Now, years later, Angel struggles to balance his career as a teacher of the higher magical arts, his role as big brother, and a tenuous relationship with an Elder vampire from the local clan. When his brother's boyfriend is used as a pawn in a mysterious plot to draw Angel out, Angel is once again drawn back into the old hostilities that fueled the Blood Wars and led to his family's death.
Leaning on others for help is something Angel cannot do, and while he searches for clues into who may be targeting him and his brother, Angel finds his heart steadily growing occupied with Simeon, Elder and vampire. Dealing with death magic and vampires on a daily basis may leave Angel jaded when it comes to life and staying that way, but the more time he spends fending off the ancient vampire's attention and affections, the more he realizes he wants to give in.
Can Angel find out who wants him dead, and keep his heart safe in the process? How can he fall for a vampire, when his whole family was torn apart by an army of the undead?
Death stalks the streets of Boston's historic Beacon Hill....and there is no one more suited to battle against death than a necromancer.
MATURE CONTENT Contains graphic violence, male/male sexual contact, a cranky necromancer, a sexy Irish vampire, and a pesky demon.
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Greg had a serious case of the shakes, and Angel figured the idiot was close enough to have his brain melted and his nerves fried that the technique he had in mind would work. He leaned to the side, and hooked one leg over an arm of the chair, kicking off his sandal, which plopped to the floor. Angel took his eyes off Greg, and held up the cheroot, staring at it. Just at the end, breathing in and out all the while, soothing his temper and thoughts.
It was never wise to perform delicate spells when mad. Horrible things tended to happen.
“Need a light?” Simeon asked softly, voice heavy with a dry irony that made the other vamps chuckle and the slaves twitter.READ MORE
Angel quirked a brow at the handsome vamp without taking his eyes off the slim cigar, and let his vision blur at the periphery, focusing on the tip, and called soundlessly for fire. A tiny red ember flared to life at the end of the cheroot, and a thin wisp of smoke rose. A soft, wordless sigh echo through the room, and the atmosphere shifted. It was as if the roof was gone and they were all under the open night sky, hemmed in by close walls, cocooned and safe. Nothing but a sensory illusion, but was powerfully present. Magic—it moved Angel in strange ways. He let his eyes close, and tipped his head back as he took that first sweet drag of freshly lit tobacco, potent and burning, hot as it slid over his tongue and into his lungs.
Angel sensed the power in the room, heard the whispers of it as it pooled and eddied around him, gray and cool and fluid. His eyes were still shut, but that was no matter. Angel could see the magic as no one else in this room was able, tangible and real and malleable. He held his breath, the smoke deep in his lungs, and called. It answered, rising from the floor and peeling off the walls, racing from the dim glow of the humans in the room. It came to him, time slowing, the magic winding about itself, roping and writhing like snakes made from liquid light and smoke. Angel held the tumbling cloud of magic in front of him, with the merest shift of his thoughts and opened his eyes. Angel dropped his chin, and looked to Greg. Angel held his breath, reality around him slow and heavy.
Angel let the smoke out of his lungs, blowing it to where the cloud of magic hovered unseen. If Angel called more magic, any one could see it, but there was no need. He had enough. Angel was not raising the dead, merely manipulating the approaching death of the compelled man, so what he gathered was sufficient. The smoke from his lungs arced through the invisible magic cloud, and thickened, becoming more substantial. It grew, and moved with the magic gathered over the table. Angel heard Simeon shift on his feet, and the other vamps stiffened. The humans all inhaled sharply, and stared. They don’t often see magic performed, going by their reactions. Greg was so far gone he was barely conscious.
Time to play.
Angel gave the smoke and magic cloud a gentle mental nudge, and a thin thread of it peeled off from the mass and snaked out towards Greg. He saw it coming, and jerked, trying to escape the chair. It was the compulsion working, trying to get the compelled out of the way of the spell.
The smoke was on him before Greg even finished lifting in his seat. A thin thread ran into his gaping mouth, as if inhaled. The magic pulled the writhing mass from the air into his body. Eventually all the smoke was absorbed, and Greg stopped breathing. He slumped in his chair, hands falling from the table, and he fell over, forehead smacking the hard wood surface.
“Mors nos tangit omnes,” Angel whispered, releasing all tension from his muscles, relaxing fully in the chair.
Death touches us all.
He pulled in a breath, and collected his thoughts, taking his time. Though not too much time, a man was dying across the table from him.
“Life reduced to cold corpse, enslaved flame to ash. Ash to smoke, death made spirit. All is mine by first and last breath. Potest quidem mortuum meum,” Angel recited softly, each word pushing the smoke and magic through Greg’s body.
What is dead is mine.
The tobacco was the corpse, the spark Angel called the enslaved flame, the ashes to smoke, and so on. Magic was an English major’s wet dream of symbolism. Angel used the bare bones version of a greatly complicated spell, not needing the full incantation. He was not aiming to create a zombie, just get some answers and free an idiot from another magic user’s influence. Technically Greg was dying right that second. Body starved of oxygen, his brain suffering under the rapidly eroding compulsion that was killing him just as fast as Angel’s spell.
Until Angel stopped it.
Vision blurred again, melding the invisible with the visible. Angel watched the smoke running through Greg, filling every crevasse of his body, every artery and vein. It raced through his nerves, his muscles, and battled its way up the compelled man’s spinal cord. Angel saw when the gray smoke hit Greg’s brain stem, and that is where the sparks happened. Angel was able to see the compulsion, and set the smoke on it like a hound to a coon. The smoke flashed hot, and burnt away the spell buried in Greg’s brain. The remnants disappeared fast, as swiftly as small embers thrown from a bonfire.
Now he is mine.
“Hear me, Gregory Doyle. Hear me, and obey. Breathe, and speak.”COLLAPSE
SE on Amazon Customer Review wrote:
Fantastic. I’ve already bought book 2. Well written, beautiful world-building, strong characters and emotional heft. Harry Potter meets Desmond Beckwith (the vampire I created in 1988). I loved it.
Angelus Salvatore and his brother Isaac are the lone survivors of one of the greatest magical families of New England. Angel occupies his days teaching students to master their magical skills, keeping his feckless brother out of trouble, and consulting with the local vampire Bloodclan on issues of vampire-human relations. Scarred by the loss of his family a decade earlier, Angel is an angry loner, his only friend his fellow teacher, Dame Mildred Fontaine.
And then someone unleashes a demon in the middle of Beacon Hill to kill Angel, and he realizes that something from his past has returned. At the same moment, the majestic Celtic vampire Simeon, Elder to the Boston Master Vampire, seems to be wooing him, and suddenly Angel’s life gets stranger than even he ever imagined.
SJ Himes has created a vivid, believable world of supernatural beings integrated into the human world. This book is certainly a part of the growing body of gay action-romance fiction that has emerged in the last half-decade or so, and it counts among the best of its kind. Angel Salvatore and Simeon the Elder are beautifully wrought characters, well within the accepted tropes of gay romance, but interesting and individual as only the best writers can make them. The specifics of the magical humans and the undead subculture are carefully considered and plausibly delineated. Other magical beings are merely alluded to, but suggesting other stories and other books (Himes has written a series based on werewolves as well). All of the mainstream avatars of supernatural presence in the human world come to mind as one reads this (Anne Rice, Charlaine Harris, Stephenie Meyer), but I would venture to suggest that the best of the gay-themed vampire/magical fiction is better than those. And SJ Himes is right there.
But the real treat to this book is that Himes adds little twists of her own that make the known fictional universe of magic and vampirism more interesting and more accessible. Even JK Rowling’s world of wizards and muggles seems a bit ad hoc by comparison. Yet Himes is not pedantic or nerdy in the way she presents the reality she has created. Everything we learn emerges seamlessly from the story arcs, adding flesh and bone to the emotional skeleton that forms the structure of her story. She manages to make a lovable vampire who is no less mysterious and slightly terrifying for all his vulnerability. Her angry young sorcerer is irritating and impulsive, shimmering with deadly power; but Himes teases out the inner goodness that, ultimately, makes him a heroic figure in everybody’s eyes but his own. In his way, Angelus Salvatore (Saving Angel) is akin to Batman – driven by guilt and anger – but unable to avoid his own deeply-rooted instincts to forgive and rescue. I fell hard for this character, even though the red-headed, dapper Simeon lines up more neatly with my fantasies.
Book two awaits me. I’m going to savor every page.
Even if you're not a fantasy reader this story has twists and turns, love and romance, and a world that becomes yours as you read the story! The romance between Angel and Simeon, necromancer and vampire, is hot and so romantic! The author who writes under two different names is so talented in building worlds and creating unforgettable characters. This is definitely going to be stored under "books to re-read"!
First book in The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, set in historic Beacon Hill in Boston, Massachusetts. M/M Urban fantasy, with vampires, fae, sorcerers, werewolves, dragons and mayhem.