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    NARCISSUS IN CHAINS by Laurell K. Hamilton


    Berkley Books, October 2001

    After a six month vacation, Anita Blake is called back to rescue one of the members of her pride of were-panthers. Her time away from Jean-Claude and Richard may have been necessary for her mental health, but it had consequences--destructive consequences. Richard's pack is disintegrating around him as he tries to impose his democratic ideals on a pack and status-oriented society. And someone is using the problems in a covert bid to take over not just the wolves, but the entire were-culture.

    While rescuing her panthers, Anita is badly wounded and develops the symptoms of becoming a were, as well as taking on more of Jean-Claude's vampire traits. When an alpha male were-panther enters the scene, Richard, were-wolf king and Anita's lover, resists, threatening to become her enemy.

    Author Laurell K. Hamilton (see our reviews of other novels by Hamilton) has written a sexual thriller. Anita's cold-blooded realism, coupled with her moral belief structure allow her to be seen sympathetically despite the murder and sadistic behavior that she sometimes engages in. I found the action sequences to be powerful but the sexual sequences, which make up much of the middle of NARCISSUS IN CHAINS, fall short of being erotic--sexual without being sexy.

    Anita Blake is an intriguing character (hence the huge popularity of this series), but NARCISSUS IN CHAINS does not present her in her best light.

    Two Stars

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