|Author||Laurell K. Hamilton|
A Stroke of Midnight
A Lick of Frost
Mistral's Kiss is the fifth book of the Meredith Gentry series.
Princess Meredith, potential heir to the Unseelie throne embraces her foremost duty; to prove her fertility in order to gain the throne. All the sex however, has a profound effect on the dying sithen: the long-dead faerie gardens are springing to life, dry springs are again full of water, and life begins to stir anew.
But when Meredith and her men inadvertently find themselves in the territory of the sluagh, there is deadly danger even for immortals.
Merry has a dream and wakes up with a horn/cup from the gods. Doyle, Rhys, Kitto, and Abeloec are with her in Queen Andais' bed, along with other guards in the room. Abeloec drinks from the horn and regains his powers. Mistral arrives and magic brings him across the room to Merry and Abeloec. Magic then brings the three of them and some of the guards to the dead gardens inside the sithen.
Queen Andais arrives because she was searching for Mistral, her captain of the guard. Doyle and Rhys help convince Andais to let Mistral stay to complete the magic and possibly return the dead gardens to life, but Andais makes it clear that Mistral will return to her after, to which they all agree. It's revealed that Andais has found a way to punish Nerys's people without breaking her word. Doyle gets her to agree to delay punishment if they can bring a sign of life to the dead gardens, and if they succeed then Merry gets to decide the punishment.
Merry, Abeloec, and Mistral complete the magic with sex, and the gardens take several people. Galen was "swallowed up by the ground" and Nicca vanished "as if he became air." Hawthorne was "engulfed by a tree trunk." Aisling is found dead with a tree branch piercing his chest, and his body disperses into songbirds. Only Doyle, Frost, and Rhys remain. Doyle is upset that Mistral seems to be the one helping Merry return the sithen to its power, indicating that Mistral might be Merry's king.
Andais returns and notes that images of power on the men and the mark of power on Meredith. A bird sings and Andais agrees to the deal, telling Meredith to come to the Hallway of Mortality and save Nerys's people, and then Andais leaves in the darkness. There is some discontent among the men that Merry's powers might rise to bring back old horrors in the Hallway of Mortality.
Merry asks the Sithen for a door to exit the gardens, and a door appears but it takes her and the men to the Sluagh. She asks for a door back to the dead gardens, and a door appears but takes them to the Sluagh's dead gardens instead. She asks for a door specifically back to the Unseelie sithen, but it appears on the other side of the lake. They begin to edge around the side of the lake when King Sholto appears.
Sholto has Agnes and Segna with him, along with his uncles Ivar and Fyfe. He threatens about them being in the Sluagh's gardens uninvited but Merry proves that they did not intend to arrive there by making the conjured door go away. Merry apologizes for arriving uninvited, and Sholto believes he's being mocked. He reveals that he's been maimed by the Seelie court and he believed Andais and Merry must have known. Lady Clarisse had tricked Sholto into visiting her and allowing her to tie him down, when other men arrived and maimed him by cutting his extras from his chest. Sholto reaches for Merry and Segna lashes out, striking Merry, and Sholto pushes Segna over the edge of the dried lake, where she is impaled on spiked bones. Segna is dying and asks for mercy, and Agnes insists that Sholto and Merry carry it out, so Merry goes down into the water.
When Merry approaches, Segna attacks Merry again. In the attack, Segna strikes at Sholto and nearly drowns him, saying he is not Sluagh. She drags Merry to an island and Merry uses her power to make Segna bleed. Sholto makes a killing blow of striking Segna through the chest with the spear of bone, one of the signs of kingship of the sluagh, which he found at the bottom of the lake. They are alone on the Island of Bones now, and visited by the Goddess and the God and Merry has the chalice again. They offer Sholto the choice of killing Merry to bring life back to his people, but he declines. They decide on doing it through sex instead, but Merry warns that the sex magic could drastically change the Sluagh. They have sex, and Sholto's abdomen heals, and the chalice, the spear, and the bone knife roll toward them in a burst of magic.
The island reappears in the Sluagh's lake and the others swim to them. Merry and Sholto have the powers of creation and create the gardens in their image. Sholto allows it to be dark, to be more suitable to his people, and says they will be fearsome and have a "terrible beauty." Sholto then tells Merry to run and he calls the wild hunt.
As they run, Merry tries to call a door, but Sholto says, "No doors," preventing her from leaving. She creates a sanctuary with a field of clover, and a roof of rowan, thorn, and ash trees. Meanwhile, Sholto is being attacked by the hunt, and he runs to them. They find a place where "the veil between worlds is thinner" and escape the Sluagh's gardens into the snowbanked parking lot.
Police are in the parking lot, and Doyle calls on them to take Merry to safety along with Frost, who's injured. FBI agents Charles and Bancroft drive them away. While driving, Merry sees goblins and uses her sex powers to get Charles to stop the car. She calls on the goblins to aid her in the battle against the hunt. Holly and Ash relent to help, and Jonty carries Merry back to the battle so they can get there in time.
The goblins arrive with archers, and coordinate with Merry so she can call blood after the hunt is injured. Merry suspects her mortality is what allows the hunt to bleed. Merry uses her powers to call blood but also reforms some of the hunt into birds and dogs that support her, and they are able to bring the hunt down.
After the battle, Abeloec uses the horn to take away some memories from the police officers so they would not go mad from what they'd seen. The men who were swallowed by the garden reappeared in the Hallway of Mortality where Queen Andais was walling off Nerys's people. Without realizing his power, Galen said, "No prisoners, no walls," freeing Nerys's people, but also inadvertently freeing Prince Cel, who immediately comes looking for Merry. Andais stops him and tells Meredith to leave for Los Angeles, which Merry realizes is to save her son's life because Cel would die if he threatened Merry as he wishes to. Sholto takes Merry and her men back to LA, and he will later bring the female guards who wish to leave Cel and join her.
- The Goddess aka Danu
- The Consort
- FBI Agent Charles
- Special Agent Bancroft
- Wikipedia: Mistral's Kiss
|Merry Gentry series|
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 1.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 2.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 2.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 3.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapters 4, 5, and 6.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 7.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 8.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 9.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 10.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 11.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 12.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 13.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 14.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 15.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 16.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 17.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 18.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 19.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 20.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 21.
- Mistral's Kiss, chapter 22.