We return today to Stina Leicht’s Of Blood and Honey, the first in her The Fae and the Fallen series. To catch up or review, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, and Part 9.
Father Murray attends the Convocation of Milites Dei, the order of the Catholic Church that fights the fallen. There he presents the idea that the Good Folk might be something different than the fallen and requests permission to investigate. He is met with roars of protest. Only after the cardinal manages to calm the room does he say he will consider Murray’s proposal and closes the Convocation without giving any hope that he’ll take it seriously. After, Murray struggles to convince Bran that any of it was worth it. Only through his devotion to protecting Bran’s son and how much he’s willing to risk and sacrifice for peace between the church and fairies is Murray able to convince Bran to give him a talisman to help tell the difference between fae and fallen, much less allow Murray to ever seen Bran again.
Reader Comments: Murray is so wonderfully heroic. I wouldn’t mind reading a whole book starring him. Hint hint to Ms. Leicht.
Writer Comments: We are barely halfway through Of Blood and Honey. There are only two possibilities for Murray here. 1) He succeeds brilliantly, but assuming we’re in the hands of a talented author, it’s a sign that something terrible is right around the corner. Great victories should only come at the end, or they must come at a terrible cost. 2) Murray must suffer and increase the risk to himself and others. Halfway through a book is the point to begin pumping up the stakes rather than letting the middle sag.
Just before Christmas, Liam has a drink with Oran and confesses to him, despite Mary Kate’s fears that confession will be terrible, that Mary Kate is pregnant and afraid the Good Folk will steal their baby. In the midst of their conversation, Oran grudgingly confesses that he and the others know what Liam is. Liam leaves and suddenly feels a desperate panicked need to run home. Something terrible has happened. When he arrives, four men run from the apartment, blood covers everything, and Mary Kate hangs on the threshold of death. Liam waits with her while Father Murray comes to take them to the hospital. The baby is already dead, and Mary Kate dies shortly thereafter. In the parking lot, the monster inside Liam fights to emerge. Father Murray confesses that Mary Kate knew what Liam was and that there had been another baby which he helped Mary Kate abort. He confesses that he knows it was wrong now but that, at the time, he was too afraid of the abomination it might be to let it live. Liam almost kills him. Instead, Murray retreats swiftly, and Liam lets the monster come. He tracks down Mary Kate’s murderers and kills the first one, a constable. In the process, he’s shot. When he wakes on the pavement later, it’s to the sound of a car pulling up next to his head, driven by Murray and occupied by his IRA friends come to rescue him.
Reader Comments: I can’t believe she killed Mary Kate, yet I can. This point came as a total, horrible surprises, yet, in the midst of it, it made sense. In the environment Leicht paints in this book, it’s not surprising that the friends of the constable Liam shot, or so I presume these men are, would take a terrible revenge. And, after all they did to Mary Kate, I can’t blame Liam one bit for hunting them down and mauling them to death.
Writer Comments: Cause and effect are extremely important in life and especially in fiction. One action must lead to another and another and another until the resolution of a story. And sometimes, the consequences must be dire, startling, and horrible. If you look at the top writers throughout history, most share a common thread: They do not shy away from hurling consequences at their characters. They do not censor their writing or fear that a scene is too harsh. At least, they don’t let any concern regarding such show in their writing. In my opinion, this is one of the key factors that elevates a writer about the average, and it is probably an important factor in Leicht being nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
Thank you for joining me for these chapters of Stina Leicht’s Of Blood and Honey. Join me next Monday to see what happens next and Wednesdays and Fridays for further forays into fiction, books, the speculative, and life.