Blade to the Keep by Lauren Dane
Series: Rowan Summerwaite #2
Canny and ferocious, with the power of an ancient Goddess in her belly, Rowan Summerwaite is the only person who can renegotiate the fragile Treaty between the Vampire Nation and the Hunter Corporation, the last line of defense for humanity. A meeting of this Joint Tribunal, as well as her new status as Liaison, sends Rowan straight to the last place on earth she wants to be, the childhood home she’d escaped so many years before–The First’s Keep.
Raised at the knee of The First–the oldest Vampire and leader of the Vampire Nation–honed into a weapon by the Hunter Corporation, wielding ancient knowledge from the Goddess within, Rowan must navigate bloodthirsty Vampires and Hunters alike. And she’s got to do it while managing a politically awkward but undeniably deepened romance with Scion Clive Stewart. Failure in her role as Liaison could mean all-out war, with humankind in the crosshairs. No pressure.
Walking the path between her two lives has already made Rowan a pariah. The choices she’ll have to make will mean she becomes something even more Other and as a result she may lose those last shreds of home she has left.
See how Rowan’s story began in Goddess with a Blade.
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When GODDESS WITH A BLADE came out, I didn’t love it. I was very lukewarm about it at the time. But since it’s been so long since the first Rowan Summerwaite book came out, I decided to re-read it again just now and I liked it a lot more, which got me very excited for BLADE TO THE KEEP. And BLADE TO THE KEEP did not disappoint.
While GODDESS WITH A BLADE is more of a procedural mystery, with Rowan trying to find a serial killer, BLADE TO THE KEEP is more of a political thriller. Rowan is negotiating an important new clause for the Treaty between Hunters and the Vampire Nation, which requires her to use all of her skills. Her unique upbringing is a major asset since she knows how to play Vampire games like no other human but there are a lot of things against her, which kept BLADE TO THE KEEP interesting. Rowan is constantly on her toes, dodging political and physical attacks, and it makes for a lively and entertaining read.
On a romantic front, things between Rowan and Clive are a bit more stable. They’ve settled into their unconventional relationship — the question now is, how far do they advertise it? Should they keep it a secret since it’s really all kinds of taboo, or should they embrace their growing connection and let Vampires and Hunters alike know that they are a couple? These are questions that you can see in the real world and I’m glad that Dane is keeping things realistic for her characters. After all, if you were dating your species’ worst nightmare, don’t you think the family might have questions? Despite the odds against them, Rowan and Clive are a well-matched pair and their verbal sparring is a lot of fun. Dane also writes some spicy sex scenes so be prepared!
In the two years between Rowan Summerwaite books, I really changed my mind about GODDESS WITH A BLADE. If you were on the fence before, I’d definitely suggest reading BLADE TO THE KEEP before you give up on this series: it’s a fantastic book and a much better showcase for Rowan and her world.