Welcome to this week’s “meeting” of the Preternatura Book Club! Today, we pick up chapters three and four of Moon Called, the first book in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series. This is one of my favorite urban fantasy series, and it’s fun to be reading it again! I haven’t seen a release date for book seven in the series yet, but Briggs’ related series, Alpha and Omega, which features some of Mercy’s foster family members, will have book three, Fair Game, out on March 6.
MOON CALLED, CHAPTERS 3-4
When we last left Mercy, she was waiting with the stray werewolf, Mac, and a dead were at her garage, waiting for local alpha Adam Hauptman to arrive.
A car pulls up, but with her Walker hearing, Mercy can tell it isn’t Adam. Instead it’s a dark Cadillac carrying an elderly Russian witch, Elizaveta, with whom Adam has an agreement. Elizaveta can do magical cleanup duty. She and Mercy have a sort-of friendly relationship, although it’s clearly her “Adamya” to whom her allegiances lie. She’s accompanied by her grandson Robert.
When Mercy gets back into the garage after filling in the witch, she finds Mac licking his fingers—the proximity to that dead body is making him very, very hungry and, as a new werewolf, he doesn’t have a lot of control. Mercy can’t truly dominate the boy if he pushes it—he’s a ginormous wolf and she’s a coyote, after all, but she manages to get enough authority in her voice to back him down. She also instructs him on proper Adam etiquette, which is really giving us a buildup to the appearance of The Man himself.
In trying to distract Mac, Mercy tells some of her own story. Her mom was a rodeo groupie and her dad a Blackfoot bullrider who came from a long line of medicine men. Dad died in a car accident three days after they hooked up but here came Mercy nine months later. Her mom was only 17. When she shifted as a baby, her mom contacted an uncle who recognized what the baby was. Mercy was sent to the hinterlands of Montana to be raised by a member the Marrok’s pack.
Finally, Adam arrives and we get our first look at the Alpha of the Columbia Basin Pack. He has Slavic features and a boatload of power oozing off him.
The dynamic between Mercy and Adam is fun from the start. She manages to show him the token respect due him as Alpha but without putting her whole heart into it. Before she finishes filling Adam in, he notices that Mac is looking at Mercy with hunger in his eyes—which has nothing to do with sex. She starts to panic, but Adam is able to command him in a very cool display of alpha-ism. Love this exchange: “Mine,” Mac said. Adam’s eyes narrowed. “I don’t think so. She is mine.” It would have been flattering, I thought, except that at least one of them was talking about dinner and I wasn’t certain about the other.
Finally, Mercy whacks Mac with a crowbar and breaks his collarbone. End of incident. Knowing the kid will heal faster if he shifts, Adam helps him while Mercy gives them some privacy. We learn that shifting is painful and not pretty or fast, especially for newbie wolves.
Adam takes Mac home with him, and Mercy goes home and bakes cookies—her favorite means of relaxing. Adam’s 15-year-old daughter Jesse drops by, and it’s clear she and Mercy are close. Jesse’s grown up around werewolves, so nothing about them is too exciting to her. She thinks Mac is cute, but Mercy warns her away from another of her father’s pack, Ben—a recent addition after being asked to leave his London pack following some unsolved rape cases that implicated him.
Later, Mercy notices Adam’s property is full of cars, so she knows there’s a pack meeting. As she’s returning from taking out the trash, the werewolf Ben confronts her. He’s angry, and blames her for making Adam doubt him. He gets increasingly rude until Darryl, Adam’s second-in-command, comes and sends him on his way.
Mercy doesn’t sleep well, and something wakes her up before her alarm goes off. Before she can even fully open the door, she knows there’s a body on her porch, it’s a werewolf, and it’s Mac. It takes her a while to realize what that means: there’s trouble at Adam’s.
When she runs to Adam’s to investigate, she finds his house a shambles and him in a death-battle with another wolf. She manages to kill the other wolf, and discovers Jessie has been kidnapped. Shifting into coyote form, she tries to track the scents, but loses the trail. Finally, she goes back to see about Adam, and he’s breathing—but barely. She starts to call Darryl for help, but isn’t sure who among his pack she can trust not to kill him to get power. Also, Adam’s wolf will be hard to control once he starts to heal. She knows where she can take him.
That’s it for this week! Thoughts? The main thread of the plot has been set up now, with Adam’s injury and Jessie’s kidnapping. What do you think of Adam?