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Geist
Philippa Ballantine
Ace, Oct 26 2010, $7.99, ISBN: 9780441019618
reviewed by Harriet Klausner

The abnormal number of attacks has left the Order of the Deacon weak and in trouble. Their mission is to protect the Empire from the barrage of the Otherside denizens; the undead and demons. The Order knows they are over extended and forced to send untested tyros into the field before they are ready. In the capital city of Vermillion has come many hungry refugees from the Empire’s outskirts, making a volatile situation that much deadlier.

In Vermillion, veteran adept Sorcha Faris works with her beloved husband Kolya the Sensitive on an artifact that somehow could read their thoughts including impossible as it seems their Bond. It quickly left her husband comatose. Although she prefers to wait for her spouse to awaken, the Arch Abbot sends Sorcha to Ulrich with a new temporary partner, Deacon Merrick Chambers; a wet behind the ears Sensitive who just left the classroom. Also with them is the Pretender Raed. The trio will soon learn the hard way why the local Priory pleaded for help from something more predatory than a Geist haunting.

The key to this great horror-fantasy is the belief in the magical world of Philippa Ballantine summed up by the Guardian and the Pretender when she says "If wishes were horses," and he finishes with "I would never have to walk again." Little touches like this bring alive the prime element of the Bond, which make the realm of Geist seem genuine. Sorcha and her two comrades are terrific characters who keep the story line focused even as the plot entertainingly switches from fantasy to horror. This is a wonderful thriller.

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