From the Cover: Three hundred years ago, she sold her soul to a demon. Now she wants it back.
For centuries, the woman calling herself Maliha Crayne has lived a second life—as an assassin for the malevolent creature who owns her soul. A haunted killer with the blood of countless victims on her hands, she has finally discovered a way to nullify the demonic pact that chains her: If she saves a life for every one she has taken, she will be free.
But if she fails, her punishments will be unspeakable, unendurable . . . and neverending.
As our story opens, Susannah Layhem of Massachusetts (1692) is a healer and works with herbs, but then she's accused of being a witch and sentenced to burn. She has done nothing but bring good health to her community and for it, she is going to gain death and so will the infant she's carrying. The night before her burning, she gives birth in the dirt and squalor of her cell to her stillborn infant daughter; her body too abused and an damaged to continue supporting the life growing within her. She's dragged crying from her cell and placed upon the wooden mound; set aflame. Just as she takes her last breath and utters her final curse, she's snatched from her fiery death, and transported to another place and time. A voice offers her a choice, go back to the flames or becoming his slave. She chooses life and the cursed existence to the demon, Rabishu. She becomes Ageless, continuous life for the rest of eternity.
For centuries, the death that she brings does not burden her consciousness, but when she's told to kill an infant girl, much like her own long dead daughter, Constanta, she has to draw the line. She cannot bring herself to harm the infant who hasn't even had a chance to live. It's the beginnings of her conscious self re-asserting. Over the years, she has come to the conclusion that she can no longer be the demon's killing machine.
After many years of searching for the answer to her release from the Rabishu's service, he reveals that there is an escape clause to her contract. But to escape, she has to set the scales straight, for every life she has taken, one must be saved. She will become mortal again, but with a longer lifespan. She can be wounded, but she'll heal faster. For every life she saves, she'll age faster. And if she is killed, she becomes Rabishu plaything for an eternity of hell. She'll have to re-invent herself over and over again to hide her extended life.
In this incarnation, she becomes Maliha Crayne (alter ego: Marsha Winter, thriller author) and she still trying to balance the scales.
Dark Time: Mortal Path Book One by Dakota Banks was a fast paced thriller/urban fantasy that jumps from the days of early Massachusetts to the present then back again throughout our heroine's existence, showing the trials and tribulations she must endure if she wants to regain her soul from the enslaving demon. When Rabishu released her from his service, he etched the scales of justice into her skin, and with each life earned, the justice scales losses a tiny figure as it marches across her skin with fiery footsteps to create balance. She soon discovers Rabishu doesn't play fair, his assassins will kill her if they're able. But, Rabishu has also trained her well, she is quick and powerful, a force to be reckoned with. She can bring death to even the Ageless. So begins her new life to fight against the wrongs of the world; to the weak, the young, and the powerless, she is their champion. To the cruel, evil, and bloodthirsty, she is their worst nightmare. There are several powerful players in this novel; long time friends, Yanmeng and Amaro, provide a supportive extended family for her as well as back up. New love interest, Jake, may be what he appears to be, DEA agent, or maybe he's something else altogether. If you enjoy a thrilling urban fantasy as much as I do and if you like a kick-ass heroine, pick up this book, an excellent read well worth you time. I loved the qualities that Mahila embraces as she tries to regain her soul. It's a quick read moving through time as Mahila works to right the wrongs. The story leaves me begging for more with one question remaining, who or what is Jake Stackman? To learn more about Dakota Banks or the new series, Mortal Path, please visit http://www.dakota-banks.com/ . Her second book, Sacrifice: Mortal Path, Book Two will released in 2010, I can't wait to read it. For a sneak peek of Book Two, check out SciFiGuy's sneak peek. Thanks TJ Dietderich at Planned TV Arts for my review copy.
Here's a peek at the book trailier. Excellent presentation of the story to follow.
Dark Time: Mortal Path Book One (July 2009)
Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book Two (2010)
Sacrifice: Mortal Path Book Two (2010)