Mercy Thompson: Shapeshifters, Werewolves and the Fae

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The Novels of Patricia Briggs

Sometimes you need Beautiful Literature with Big Ideas — and sometimes you just need to escape from the dreary day-to-day routine.  Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson urban fantasy series is an E-ticket ride out of the humdrum.

There is so much to like about these books: a strong sexy heroine with a strong sexy love interest (alpha werewolf Adam Hauptman); fascinating creatures ranging from vampires to trolls to all manner of ancient fae; and a strong story arc across the series that keeps you reaching for the next book. There are big ideas here, too: power, interdependence, love, community and how different species can learn to play well together.

Let’s start with Mercy. Her mother was a wild teenager, following the rodeos and doing some barrel racing when she tumbled into bed with a Blackfeet Indian, Joe Old Coyote. Joe may have been human but his body was driven by Coyote, the wise, meddling trickster of a spirit animal. Shortly after Mercy’s conception, Joe is killed.

When Mercy’s mother learned that Mercy was a shapeshifter — walking up to Mercy’s crib and finding a coyote pup instead of a baby — she decided to turn her over to a nearby werewolf pack. As it happened, that pack was led by Bran, the Marrok of all the North American werewolves. She was raised by a human foster mother and a werewolf father. When her foster mother died, her foster father couldn’t face life without his mate and committed suicide. From that point on, Mercy lived on her own.

When the series opens with Moon Called (2006), Mercy is living in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco and Richland) area of Washington state, at the confluence of the Yakima, Snake and Columbia Rivers.  (This is a real place — the home of Patricia Briggs herself.) She works as an auto mechanic. Her mentor is Siebold “Zee” Adelbertsmiter, an ancient and ferocious fae who in the human world looks like a grumpy old German with a pot belly.

Mercy’s home adjoins Adam’s property and the headquarters of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack. Over the course of Blood Bound (2007), Iron Kissed (2008), Bone Crossed (2009) and Silver Borne (2010), Mercy’s feelings for Adam grow. She resolves a lingering connection to her first love Samuel, a dominant lone wolf from Bran’s pack, and she has to overcome her own fears about opening up to another creature and being vulnerable.

In River Marked (2011), she meets the first shapeshifter she has ever known — an evil creature riling the depths of the Columbia River. She goes to her father’s people to seek help.

In Night Broken (2014), Mercy must deal with Adam’s ex-wife Christy, who may be having second thoughts about leaving Adam.  She definitely wants to show Mercy in the worst possible light.

By Fire Touched (2016), Mercy is gaining confidence in her relationship with Adam and her place in the not-always-welcoming pack. After she, Adam and the pack fight off a troll on a Tri-City bridge, saving many humans from death, Mercy announces the pack will defend its territory and give sanctuary to a human child with fire powers. The human, Aidan, looks like a 10-year-old boy but has spent centuries in the lands of the fae, who tortured him to find out where his fire power comes from.

The books in the series are wonderfully balanced between the real world and an intriguing fantasy world. (Even the vampire Stefan needs Mercy’s help keeping his vintage Volkswagen running smoothly.) They never take themselves too seriously, even as they explore the rocky relationships between humans, werewolves and the fae.

Some books focus on a specific type of fantasy creature; for example, Blood Bound (2007) and Bone Crossed (2009) deal primarily with vampires; Iron Kissed (2008) and Silver Borne (2010) deal primarily with the fae. Many characters make repeated appearances in the books. Some have their time on stage and disappear such as the magical, silver-tipped fae walking stick that first appears in Bone Crossed and refuses to leave Mercy even when the Gray Lord Alistair Beauclaire, demands it back. The walking stick meets its fiery end in Fire Touched (2016) defending Mercy, Adam and Aidan from a violent rogue fae queen.

These books are best read in order because of the character development that evolves through the books.
  • Moon Called (2006)
  • Blood Bound (2007).
  • Iron Kissed (2008).
  • Bone Crossed (2009).
  • Silver Borne (2010).
  • River Marked (2011).
  • Frost Burned (2013).
  • Night Broken (2014).
  • Fire Touched (2016)
  • Silence Fallen (2017)
  • Storm Cursed (spring/summer 2019)

About the Author: Patricia Briggs (1965 – )

Learning to read transformed Patricia Briggs’ life. Although fantasy books were her first love as a reader and a writer, her editor suggested that she write an urban fantasy, a genre showing promising growth. That led to her first Mercy Thompson book, Moon Called.
After earning degrees in history and German from Montana State University, she worked as a substitute teacher and writer. Her first novel, Masques, was published in 1993.
In addition to her Mercy Thompson series, Briggs wrote the Alpha and Omega series, which includes Cry Wolf (2008), Hunting Ground (2009), Fair Game (2012), Dead Heat (2015) and Burn Bright (2018). She also wrote the fantasy novels Wolfsbane (2010), Steal the Dragon (1995) and When Dragons Walk (1998). Her novel, The Hob’s Bargain, is a stand-alone book published in 2001.
Like her heroine Mercy Thompson Hauptman, Patricia Briggs and her family live in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco and Richland) area of Washington state.


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