Welcome to this week’s “meeting” of the Preternatura Book Club! Today, we’re looking at Chapter 7 of the first book in Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, Moon Called.
So far in the story, we’ve had mostly setup, with Mercy taking in a newbie werewolf, who’s murdered shortly after she turns him over to her local alpha, Adam Hauptman. Adam is badly wounded, and Mercy hauls him up to Montana, to the pack of the king of all werewolves, the Marrok. We meet Samuel, the Marrok’s son, with whom Mercy was in love as a teen and still might be.
MOON CALLED, Chapter 7
Mercy wakes up in her hotel room, and goes out to get breakfast, where she runs into a man she at first doesn’t recognize. Eventually, she realizes who he is—the town’s longtime veterinarian, Dr. Wallace. He was an older guy when Mercy was a kid, so she’s startled to see him looking about her age now—the result of his werewolf son convincing him to let himself be turned after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Dr. Wallace survived the turn (many don’t), but despite his deliberate cheerfulness, Mercy can tell something’s wrong. Finally, he says he hates the monster he’s become and that his family isn’t safe. We learn that wolves who can’t gain control are put down—and that it should normally fall to the wolf who performed the turn. But Dr. Wallace’s son can’t do the deed, and Mercy knows Bran will probably have to do it. “Livin’s easier than dyin’ most times, Mercy girl,” he tells her. “Dance when the moon sings, and don’t cry about troubles that haven’t yet come.”
The exchange upsets Mercy, and she decides she has to get out of town—Adam will have to find his own way home. But when she gets back to the motel, she finds that not only is Adam ready to go home, but that Samuel is going with them because he’s dominant enough to keep Adam under control until he’s well. And you just know THAT’S going to get interesting. We learn that the Marrok’s other son, Charles, has been sent to Chicago to deal with the werewolves who are doing experiments on new wolves. Bran leaves Mercy with his cell number.
We also find out the wolves are considering going public—the advances in forensic sciences means that eventually humans are going to be asking too many unanswerable questions about their crime scene findings.
Adam’s still in rough shape, but he’s able to walk a little. Mostly, he wants to get home so he can find his daughter. When Sam’s out of hearing range, he wants to make sure Mercy is going to help with finding his daughter Jesse—he knows she cares about the girl and will put it first priority. Sam gets wind of this and he and Mercy argue about it, much to Adam’s amusement.
Adam gives his version of the night he was attacked. The attackers shot Mac with a tranquilizer gun, not intending to kill, but Mac apparently had an allergic reaction that did it. It was a dart treated with silver nitrate, DMSO, and Ketamine, an animal tranquilizer.
Finally, we learn that Adam knew one of the werewolf attackers—it was when he was in the military, with Special Forces. They were sent to assassinate a warlord, who turned out to be a werewolf. It’s how Adam got turned. Only he and other other soldier survived—a man named Christiansen. When they went back to the states, Christiansen murdered his cheating wife and her lover, and has since lived as a lone wolf.
During all this talking (come on and DO something, guys!), Samuel puts his hand on Mercy’s leg, and Adam gets all wolfy. She pulls off the road and orders Samuel outside. She has to remind him that she doesn’t belong to either of them, and they might as well get over it. Sam admits she wrecks his control. In the end, Samuel goes in the van and talks to Adam while Mercy waits outside. We don’t yet know what they said to each other, but when she gets back in the van, Adam’s eyes are closed and Sam has calmed down.
So, that’s it for this week. I’d forgotten this book was such a slow build—so much world-building. Once Mercy gets the boys back home, it should start moving faster.
One thing I really did like in this chapter was seeing again how Mercy is so straightforward and unintimidated by the wolves. She can play them exactly right, without being stupid.