The Wild Road
Marjorie Liu
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Buy *The Wild Road (A Dirk & Steele Romance)* by Marjorie Liu online

The Wild Road (A Dirk & Steele Romance)
Marjorie Liu
306 pages
July 2008
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Marjorie Liu's books seem to be hit or miss. I loved her A Taste of Crimson by her, couldn't get on with The Red Heart Of Jade at all, and found some of her other books in the Dirk and Steele series rather forgettable. The Wild Road is a real return to form, a fast-paced, gripping story with some familiar themes (romance between humans and otherworldly creatures, the Dirk and Steele agency) but feeling very fresh.

Lannes Hannelore is a gargoyle, a winged creature who has lived for seventy years but tends to keep to himself because of a troubled past. Lannes' closest friend, Frederick, is old now, and Lannes can see a time in the future where he has no one apart from his brothers. Lannes knows that he needs to get out more; he magics a certain amount of glamour to hide his wings and make himself appear to be a normal human (albeit a very tall one). The glamour doesn't work against touch, though, so Lannes has to ensure that no one touches his back or they will feel his wings.

When Lannes' claustrophobia forces him to leave a bar in a hurry, he's surprised to discover a woman trying to steal his car - a woman who is covered in blood and has lost her memory. He feels it's important to help her and tries to gain her trust. But the woman is afraid; she knows only that she must run but doesn't know what from or where to. As Lannes tries to help her, they discover that her lost her memory isn't her main problem. As people start dying, they uncover a long-ago secret with significant repercussions today. Can the woman and Lannes make something of their differences - and can they keep each other safe?

Once again, Liu has written an unusual lead character in Lannes. He comes across as a gentle giant whose emotions lie close to the surface and whose loneliness has influenced much of his behavior. The female lead is also interesting - she knows nothing about herself and has to learn who she is, knowing that her and others' lives may depend on what she can uncover. The Wild Road is exciting, the characters believable and engaging, and the smallish list of side characters, some of whom have appeared in previous Dirk and Steele books, are also well-drawn. This is a really enjoyable read and an excellent return to form for Marjorie Liu.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Helen Hancox, 2008

Also by Marjorie M. Liu:

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