Dragos Goes to Washington
It is always fun when an author treats her fans to something extra; a character interview, a deleted scene or even an extended epilogue available only on their website. These small tidbits make the reading experience that much more enjoyable as we get more information about people and places we loved so well. Thea Harrison has taken this idea of something extra and expanded it into full slices of life for her leading characters Dragos and Pia Cuelebre. In Dragos Goes to Washington readers get another chance to see how the first family of the Wyr are juggling the demands of their people against the stresses of everyday life.
The recent turmoil in the NIghtkind demesne has made race relations tense between the humans and the Elder Races living in the United States. Small groups of humans have started the campaign to put tighter constraints on how the non-humans live and work within their cities. The governments of the overlying Elder Race demesnes have no choice but to open a dialog with the human government to reassure them that the peaceful coexistence between the races is not threatened.
Dragos Cuelebre, leader of the Wyr demesne of New York, has little patience for playing politics with the humans. With his own demesne experiencing a relative calm he is more focused on the needs of his mate Pia and their son Liam. Unfortunately the human media has made it impossible for the Wyr or any other supernatural beings to ignore the rising tensions, so he and the leaders of the Elder Races are gathering in Washington D.C. for a historical summit to broker good relations between themselves and the U.S. Government. The timing of the summit couldn’t be worse for the Cuelebre family as Dragos and Pia have recently decided to try for a second child and their mating frenzy keeps him from focusing on anything but getting his wife behind closed doors.
Pia’s calm and focused presence is a good balance to her husband’s aggressive manner when the Vice President’s husband is found murdered in the Wyr embassy mansion with wounds consistent with a Wyr attack. The V.P. and several other members of Congress are known supporters of the anti-Elder Races movement Right to Privacy, so Pia knows that this death could be used as a rallying cry against her people. With every eye focused on Dragos, Pia has to use her own skills to defuse the situation and find the true murderer.
As the Elder Races series has expanded into nine full length books and eight novellas it’s hard to deny that the most interesting couple has consistently been Dragos and Pia. Their love story drew readers into this ever growing world of supernatural creatures and still peaks our interest in how their lives have continued after the “happy ever after.” In earlier stories we’ve seen them overcome life threatening injuries, political upheavals and the growing pains of their powerful son.
I enjoy the idea that for these characters life is still going on and that they are experiencing all of the joys and pains that can come in the early years of a marriage. It allows their development to grow past the usual Paranormal Romance pitfalls of lust overriding any real romance in the story. Pia’s need for another child as her eldest grows up is something many women can relate to, just as much as they can empathize with a family trying to find a balance between their personal and professional lives. In this fictional world the stakes are much higher than any of us would ever experience, but we can understand the kind of compromises and changes that partners have to make for a successful relationship.
One thing that has never changed is the sexual chemistry Dragos and Pia have together and this story finds them getting intimate several times and in some interesting places. Perhaps a bit too much page time is spent showing just how hot they still are for one another, but it’s a benefit of using an existing relationship that we can accept them still basking in their honeymoon phase and getting randy at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately when the story is pressed for time in developing the action in Washington and then following an investigation into the murder, having the characters in a constant state of arousal is a little strange.
The downside to stories like Dragos Goes to Washington is that it requires a reader to have a pretty good handle on the series with little need for a refresher on what’s come before. The summit and the Right to Privacy movement were all the result of events from the last book Midnight’s Kiss, but there are also references back to the last trilogy of short stories about the Cuelebre family. As a fan of the series, all of the callbacks and cameos made the story fun, even with its heavier themes of racial prejudice and political murders. For a more casual reader there is the chance of getting a bit lost in all of the details that are well established by this point.