War. What is it good for? That refrain often goes through my mind whenever I read or hear about the endless fighting that goes on in some areas. It is a question that occupies an important place in the minds of both main characters in this novel.
It is not easy to be the daughter of a Greek god. It is especially not easy to be the daughter of Ares, god of war. Kyra, a nymph, has spent much of her long life trying to undo some of the harm her father has brought to humanity. To that end, the munitions building she has just destroyed makes a nice dent in his armory. Even more important is the file she has stolen; the file that will lead her to a hydra – a man whose very blood can poison the world.
Marco Kaisisris is war forged – a man who has been changed into an entirely different being by the horrors he has been forced to witness. Now he is a hydra who can wear the face of people who have hurt him, who can poison those around him just by using a drop of his blood. But he does not need those powers to do damage; for years he has been a gun runner, a death dealer who tries to bring weapons to those seeking justice in war torn Africa. It is the only way he can think of to make up for the day when he did nothing – and many died.
Kyra is determined to kill Marco before he can wreak more destruction with the guns he provides to desperate, violent men and before he can figure out just how dangerous a weapon he himself can be. But her initial attempt reveals a man difficult to kill – and poisonous even to an immortal such as her. More wary in her second attempt, she makes sure to guard her physical form. But is her heart what is most vulnerable here? As she gets to know her victim, she sees a warrior with a core that can win over even a women bent on promoting peace.
What impressed me about this novel was the realistic look it takes at the extremely difficult situation in Africa. Both Kyra and Marco know that violence rarely solves problems, yet both understand that at times violence seems like the only solution to oppression. The author emphasizes that war changes you, that you become someone different as a result of being a witness – and sometimes a party to – the horrific. She also gently points out the incompetence of the Western world in dealing with the violent situations the people of various African nations face. The author did a good job of blending all this in with her overall story line.
What was difficult for me was Marco’s solution to the horrors he saw. I also just had a hard time buying into the whole Greek mythos that permeated the story. There was no flaw in the execution of the fantasy that I can point to specifically, it just felt like a lot to add to a story that was already full. The romance was fairly standard, which made it blend into the background given how many extraordinary things were going on around it.
I would give it a qualified recommendation to someone looking for something a bit different who enjoys Greek mythology. I wouldn’t recommend going out of your way otherwise.